Nieu-Bethesda is a small Karoo village in the Eastern Cape, most well-known for the Owl House, and its artistic community.
From the north, take the N9. Turn west on the marked gravel road, 60 km south of Middelburg, and keep going for 27 km.
From the south, take the N9. Turn west on the marked tar road, 28 km north of Graaff-Reinet, and keep going for 25 km.
From the east, take the N10 from Cradock. After 4.5 km, take the R61 towards Graaff-Reinet for 86 km to the N9. At the T-junction, turn right towards Middelburg for 600 m, and then left, towards Nieu-Bethesda, for 27 km.
- Donkey Cart tours, ☏ . Sam will take you on his donkey cart through town and will tell you all you need to know about the village. In Jan 2009, 15-20 minute tours of the village were R30 for an adult, R10 for a child, or you can tour the township as well for double the rate. R30 for adults, R10 for children.
- Ganora Excursions, ☏ . Guided tours are offered to San and Khoi shelters found on Ganora farm, where rock art dating back to 10 000 years ago can be viewed. The farm’s private museum also houses a collection of Bushman artifacts and fossils, while guided fossil walks are available if bookings are made in advance.
- Kitchining Fossil Exploration Centre, ☏ . The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre showcases the rich fossil deposits found at Nieu-Bethesda and in South Africa in general. The centre was established as part of a collaborative programme between the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Albany Museum in Grahamstown and the Department of Science and Technology to set up palaeotourism and provide employment opportunities.
- The Owl House, ☏ . Museum open daily from 8AM to 6PM in summer and from 9AM to 5PM in winter. A community effort to preserve the life work of Helen Martins, a home-bred artist who turned her house into an exhibit, until her suicide in 1976. Using raw materials, like concrete and glass, she and a Bushman artist sculpted the Owl House and its garden. Entry fee R25.
- The Helen Martins Museum and Owlhouse Visitor Center, Martins St Nieu-Bethesda, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open daily from 8am to 6pm in summer and from 9am to 5pm in winter. Archive of photos, letters and documents paying tribute to Helen Martins
- NG Church, Auret Street, ☏ . by appointment. Working gas chandeliers predate the arrival of electricity
- The Cemetery, Grave Street. always open. Graves dating back centuries, some marked by beautiful local stone. A place to spend some quiet time
- Bethesda Art Centre, ☏ . Art, music, dance, theatre ... visit the gallery, see a class in progress, take part in a workshop, or catch a performance at the magical open-air theatre.
- Creche, ☏ . Visit the creche in the township.
- The Two-Goats Brewery & Deli, ☏ . Enjoy homebrewed ale, fresh goat’s cheese and homemade bread under the trees at our micro brewery and deli. You can also meet the goats who provide the cheese, a couple of cows, ducks and a peacock or two. Take a tour in the brewery and cheese factory.
There are several hiking areas around town, and good biking opportunities.
- Ware on Earth Gallery & Nieu Ceramics Studio, Immelman Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. View works by acclaimed SA artist, Charmaine Haines
- Dustcovers Bookshop, Hudson Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. open daily. for rare and collectible books and damn fine reads
- The Blue Cupboard, Martins Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. open in Season. Honesty shop on the stoep. Natural bodycare products and honey
- “Stuff to Buy”, Immelman Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. handmade clothing, crafts and other interesting things
- Tot Hier Toe Padstal, Martins Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open daily from 8h00. Gifts, jams and pickles, local Karoo lamb and venisondirect from the farm
Because the village is so small, most eateries require you to book in advance for anything beyond light meals. Most food includes the local karoo lamb, so vegetarian food needs to be specifically requested. Try some sheep's yoghurt or sheep's cheese, a surprisingly mild taste, and probably more palatable for most than goat's dairy.
- Auntie Evelyn se eetplek, ☏ . Traditional food served with township style. Book in advance, and Antie Evelyn will prepare a set 3-course meal for you, including "moerkoffie", which, translated politely, is very strong coffee! "Vegetarian" options include fish bobotie. It was superb, but let her know in advance if you don't eat fish. Evelyn will come and chat with you, making this an enjoyable way to meet the local community.
- The Tower Restaurant, Miller Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open daily for all meals. enjoy spectacular curries, Karoo lamb, and vegetarian meals
- The Brewery & 2Goat Deli, ☏ . Visit the local brewery & deli to enjoy Bethesda beer and goat cheese.
- Die Waenhuis, c/o Martins and Hudson Street, ☏ , ✉ Chrislloydjdm@gmail.com.
- The Ibis, Martins Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. reservations essential. Gourmet Karoo dining. Reservations recommended.
- Manna, Pienaar Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. most Sunday mornings, while stocks last. Better cake and coffee
- The Village Inn, New Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. closed Thursdays. Oldest restaurant in town, Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Outsiders, Martins Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. by appointment. local lamb and venison
- Boeties Pub, ☏ . Joing the locals for a sundowner or catch a game of rugby
There is ample accommodation in the town, with numerous guest houses available.
- Allemann se Huisie, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This cottage is a self-catering garden cottage with twin beds, suitable for two guests. It also features a kitchenette and en suite bathrooms, as well as a braai area.
- The Water Tower, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Quirky self-catering unit with an interesting history
- Elke’s Self-Catering House, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Sunshine pours into this house with great views of the Compassberg
- Outsiders B & B, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. en-suite double rooms, each with private entrance and stoep
- Two Owls, Petersen Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Quiet, beautifully decorated guest house with lovely views. pet friendly
- Quince & Cottage, Murray Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfortable old Karoo cottage
- House No1, Hudson Street, ☏ , ✉ houseNo1@nieu-bethesda.com. Newly renovated old Karoo house
- Ganora Guestfarm (7 km from Nieu-Bethesda), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Choose between a cozy cottage with rustic charm that sleeps 6 has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and lounge or Double en suite bedrooms also in old sheep pens that has been changed into very comfortable rooms. Various activities available, mountain biking trails, birding, guided tours to Bushmen Rock Art, private fossil & artifact museum, fossil walk and you can enjoy a swim in the rockpools at the canyon walk. Transport can be arranged.
- Owl House Backpackers, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm beds, doubles, singles and camping are available in this bright, clean home, previously a Buddhist meditation centre.
- Aandstêr Guest House, Martins Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Bright, cheerful self-catering house in a walled, Zen-inspired garden