Cradock is a town of 37,000 people (2011) in the Karoo portion of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, on the banks of the Great Fish River.
The town is named after John Cradock, governor of the Cape Colony and commander of the forces.
Cradock is one of the Cape's chief centres of the wool industry, and also produces beef, dairy, fruit, lucerne, and mohair.
Of enormous importance to the economic development of Cradock was the construction of the Orange-Fish River Tunnel. Completed in 1975 and 83 km (52 mi) in length it diverts water from the Gariep Dam on the Orange River to the Great Fish River and then on as far as the Addo Valley, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth for irrigation, household and industrial use.
The construction of the tunnel also made possible the annual Fish River Canoe Marathon. From humble beginnings in 1982 the two-day, 80-km (50 mi) event attracts more than 1,500 paddlers from around the world.
Cradock lies between Port Elizabeth and Middelburg on the N10 and between Graaff-Reinet and Queenstown on the R61.
The main companies stop in Cradock at the main street (at night though) on their Johannesburg - Port Elizabeth run.
Spoornet[dead link] operates regular trains from Cradock north to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, and south to Port Elizabeth. The train station is on Kerk Street, across the river from town.
There is no public transportation system in Cradock. You can take a minibus taxi, but it is not recommended. Cradock is small enough to go site seeing by foot and a lot of interesting places are in close proximity to the town.
- The "tuishuise" (at-home houses) are superbly restored Victorian era craftsmen's houses in Market Street which form part of the Victoria Manor Hotel.
- The Dutch Reformed Moederkerk which dates back to 1868 and was designed after the style of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London.
- Schreiner House where the renowned author of The Story of an African Farm lived as a young girl. The house, which is located at 9 Cross Street and is a satellite of the National English Literary Museum, contains a modern set of exhibitions portraying the life of Olive Schreiner.
- Egg Rock (about 8 km outside the town on the way to Queenstown; you will need a bakkie or 4x4 to get to the site (follow directions to the airfield and then directions to Eggrock from there)). A 10-m-high egg shaped rock standing on its own.
- Visit Mountain Zebra National Park, 14 km north-west of town on the way to Middelburg. The once-endangered zebra species are to be seen in magnificent surroundings together with lion, cheetah, buffalo and a range of antelope species.
- Cradock Spa, ☏ +27 48 881-2709. Open for day visitors from 06:45 to 19:30. A modern natural spring spa. R7 for a day visit, contact the office for overnight chalet or camping rates.
- Metal objects. Next to the main road leading out of Cradock towards Port Elizabeth you will find many metal objects for sale. The wind pump replicas are especially well crafted.
- Albert House, 40 Dundas Str, ☏ +27 48 881-4624, firstname.lastname@example.org. Albert House is a beautiful early Victorian Manor House, set in a large tranquil shaded garden. From R270pps.
- 1 Cradock House, 98 JA Calata Str (Across from the main sports grounds), ☏ +27 48 881-3468. Check-in: flexible, check-out: 10:00. Establishment offers 5 rooms and 2 self-catering garden cottages. Facilities include swimming pool, secure parking, BBQ and light meals served. Guesthouse also has a liquor licence. From R200.
- Die Tuishuise, 36 Market Str, ☏ +27 48 881-1322, email@example.com. 25 old houses restored to the way they were when the English and Dutch settlers lived in them during the late 1800s. From R440pps.
- Heritage House, 45 Bree Str, ☏ +27 48 881-3210, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sleep and relax in one of the oldest houses in town. R345-R395pps.