Cradock, Karoo Heartland

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Eastern Cape Destinations

Cradock, Karoo Heartland

Cradock
Cradock, Eastern Cape

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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.

Cradock in the Karoo Heartland
But there are other reasons visitors are attracted to Cradock. The original part of town is graced with some of the finest buildings, like the Dutch Reformed Church, a national monument and designed to look like London’s St Martin’s-in-the-field, and the Olive Shreiner House Museum, devoted to the authoress’s life and works. Olive was said to write the novel ‘The Story of an African Farm’ whilst working as a governess on farms in the district, and much of her early life was spent in the town.

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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Cradock Reviews

average visitor rating: 4/5"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

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Featured Attractions in (or near) Cradock

Commando Drift Nature Reserve

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

Mountain Zebra National Park

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

Tsolwana Game Reserve

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

Valley Of Desolation

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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Things To Do in Cradock

Olive Schreiner House

Where: Cradock
How much (per person): Donations appreciated

The Shreiner House museum is an interesting one situated in Cradock and is former home to Olive Schreiner and her siblings. Olive was a Sout ... more information

Impofu Hiking Trail

Where: Cradock
How much (per person): Price on request

The Mountain Zebra National Park is home to a number of hiking trails, including the 25 kilometre Impofu Hiking Trail. This trail tak ... more information

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Also see Things To Do in Karoo Heartland or check out Things To Do in Eastern Cape to view activities by category, including watersports, sightseeing activities, arts & crafts and many, many more.

On SA-Venues.com you'll find plenty of South Africa accommodation options. We've also listed nearby activities for any town or city in which you plan to stay. And the big bonus is that you deal directly with the venues - no fees involved. With eight world heritage sites, a multitude of game reserves and national parks, over 1350 ha of national botanical gardens, and exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture, South Africa offers the traveller a unique and inspiring experience. Enjoy your stay in Cradock!
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