Cradock, Karoo Heartland
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Lying on the banks of the Great Fish River, on the site of what was intended as a Boer fort to contain the Xhosa who competed for grazing grounds for their cattle in this part of the Cape, is the historical town of Cradock - a serene but typical Karoo farming town.
Cradock is regarded today as the capital of the Karoo Heartland and renowned for its production of some of the best wool and mohair in the country.
Cradock has witnessed much of South Africa’s history from its verandas - the Great Trek originated here and from neighbouring districts; and the ostrich boom of the early 1900s graced farmers in the area with a prosperity only now resurging with the demand for fine leather and low-cholesterol meat.
Cradock is probably best known for its natural sulphur spring, now the source of the town’s modern spa that draws people from all over the country to experience both its open-air and indoor heated pools.
The town’s streets are lined with Ilex Oak Trees, particularly on Dundas Street, where they have been declared a national monument. The Old Water Mill, completely restored, is worth a visit; and the Great Fish River Museum - housed in the converted second Dutch Reformed church - conveys what it was like to live as a settler after 1806, during the second British occupation of the Cape.
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"We were surprised by how green Cradock was, since it was sweltering. It was colonially charming, and the surrounding mountains really add something special. We ..." - David, Gold Coast, Oz
Featured Attractions in (or near) Cradock
The 6 000 hectare Commando Drift Nature Reserve lies roughly 60 km north of Cradock on the road to Tarkastad. At its heart is the Commando Drift Dam, fed by four rivers. On what is essentially a mixture of Karoo veld and recovering grasslands, after years of overgrazing, you will find ... more information
The craggy heights of the Mountain Zebra National Park's Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys, and has become an entrancing preserve for the Cape mountain zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction, and currently their population stands at 350 ... more information
Nestled against the northern slopes of the Winterberg Mountain range at the edge of the Karoo, Tsolwana Game Reserve lies between Cradock and Queenstown, near Tarkastad. It is situated in a mountainous area with its grassy plains and acacia thornveld home to a wide variety of wildlife that makes game viewing ... more information
The Valley of Desolation is a geological phenomenon; a sheer cliff face, declared a national monument that lies within the Camdeboo National Park - a unique Karoo landscape and ecosystem that surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinett, creating a type of oasis in the midst of the aridness of the ... more information
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