Nieu Bethesda
Things to do

Things to do

The Owl House

The Owl House, often associated with Nieu Bethesda, is a key reason travelers detour off the N9 National Road near Graaff-Reinet. At first glance, the shuttered home seems typical of the region, until you see the arch leading into the Camel Yard and the cement owls with glass bottle eyes guarding the perimeter.

Created by Helen Martins between 1945 and 1976, the Owl House is an example of outsider art. Disillusioned by her mundane life, Martins transformed her environment with light, color, and texture. Known locally as Miss Helen, she was a reclusive figure who enlisted local workers, especially Koos Malgas, to help create sculptures of mermaids, camels, and pilgrims, all journeying to a mystical east.

Using cement, glass, mirrors, and wire, Miss Helen’s imagination crafted a magical world influenced by Bible stories, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and everyday objects. Her work inspired many, including playwright Athol Fugard, who wrote “The Road to Mecca,” later adapted into a film.


Tel: 049 841 1733


Guided Walking Tours

Unwind and Explore the Majestic Karoo with Wide Open Spaces

Seeking a unique escape into the vastness of the Karoo? Wide Open Spaces offers unforgettable guided walking adventures crafted specifically for the Great Karoo.

Led by passionate and knowledgeable guides, explore lesser-known trails, immerse yourself in the tranquility of this magical region, and discover the hidden gems of the Nieu Bethesda landscape. Learn about the fascinating flora and fauna, the rich local culture, and savor delicious meals along the way.

Wide Open Spaces caters to all experience levels, ensuring a truly rejuvenating experience for every Karoo adventurer.

Contact: Anthony Rosenbaum
Tel: 0723683253

Nieu-Bethesda Sports Club

Open to the public for tennis, bowls, hiring of the venue and a weekly braai on Saturday evenings.

Stefan & Lisa Jacobs
Martins Street
Tel: 084 261 3512 OR 082 703 7178

Visit “Marette se Bank”

Enjoy the viewpoint overlooking the village of Nieu-Bethesda at a bench erected by Yvonne (van Niekerk) du Plessis in loving memory of her 46 year friendship with Marette (Wolfaardt) Pienaar who passed away in 2007. Best at sunrise & sunset. Accessible via the Riverdene Road.

Ganora Guest Farm Excursions

Bushman Rock Art, Anglo Boer War Engravings, Medicinal Plant Walk, Private Fossil Museum, Hiking & Mountain Bike Routes, Birding and more available at Ganora Guest Farm. Guided tours available by appointment.

Tel: 049 8411 302 or 082 698 0029

Nieu-Bethesda Camino_Slackpacking the Karoo

The Nieu-Bethesda Camino is a 100km walk over 5 x days with scenic Karoo and mountain views. There are set group dates throughout the year powerd by Slackpacking the Karoo (Pty) Ltd.

Tel: 072 460 3621


Kareelaagte Guest Farm

360-degree Karoo Sunset Tour, interact with farm animals, beautiful rustic, gravel roads on top of the mountains ideal for hiking, 4 x 4 vehicles and mountain bikes on Kareelaagte, a working farm.

Tel: 082 822 5311 or 049 8400 350


The Lookout Studio

Antoinette Kriel offers workshops, courses and events in the tranquil setting of our Karoo village.

Tel: 083 556 3043

Walk the Labyrinth at Gregg Price Gallery

The Labyrinth at Gregg Price gallery is a space for visitors to enter and enjoy at any time. It is a replica of the medieval labyrinth found at Chartres Cathedral in France.

Tel: 083 258 3104

Stone Folk of Ongeluksloot

The Stone Folk, by artist Ryno Greeff, is a permanent outdoor installation of stone figures carefully placed in the landscape of Ongeluksloot, on the farm Doornberg, outside the small Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda in the Eastern Cape.

Tel: 082 447 5117

Walk the Poplar Forest & Ancient Water Furrow

Walk in the poplar forest and follow the ancient water furrow supplying Nieu-Bethesda with water. Perfect for picnics.

Directions: Access it easily past Boetie’s Pub, taking a left from Hill street.

Walk the Sir Frederic Suspension Bridge

Walk the Sir Frederic Bridge suspended over the Gats River to connect to sections of the village. Beautiful views of the village.

Directions: Access via Parsonage or Pienaar Street signage.