The 6 Best Things to Do in Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa

August 4, 2017 Vergie Nakamoto

Nieu-Bethesda (Dutch and Afrikaans for New Bethesda) is a village in the Eastern Cape at the foot of the Sneeuberge, approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Graaff Reinet. It was founded in 1875 as a church town, like many other Karoo villages, and attained municipal status in 1886. The name is of biblical origin (John 5:2-4) and means "place of flowing water".
Restaurants in Nieu-Bethesda

1. The Owl House

Martin Street | Nieu Bethesda, Nieu-Bethesda 6286, South Africa +27 49 841 1733
Excellent
56%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 241 reviews

The Owl House

Reviewed By lgriffiths2017 - Cape Town, South Africa

The opportunity to see the famous Owl House arose when a friend decided to host her birthday party in Nieu Bethesda. Arriving early on a Saturday morning at the entrance we were told by local craftsmen that the premises were only opened at 9am. We took the opportunity, while waiting, to visit the brewery across the causeway where local craft beer is made. It's called The Brewery and Two Goats Deli. They also sell coffee which they have roasted and cheeses made in house. On returning to the Owl House, still not opened on time, we were directed to the office around the block to buy tickets whereupon we were told they would open the door to us. What an interesting place, even to non -artists the place is fascinating. The amount of work put into all the statues and many creations made with empty bottles cemented together, is staggering. To think one woman and her helper did all this. It's hard to imagine how, just by the sheer volume of work there, not to mention the care and craftsmanship which went into each work. The owls and camels were abundant, as were the wise men all facing east. I was very surprised to find the biblical theme in this establishment, as I did not expect any kind of religious or spiritual link to be found here. The animals and human figures are so well constructed and represented, and there is ground glass of every imaginable colour everywhere, Helen Martin's trademark if you will. There is so much to take in, every time you look around there is something else to see. I was even more surprised to find the whole house interior finished in ground glass, walls and ceilings, clear windows replaced with coloured glass. It is impossible to describe everything, a whole book would not cover it, but it is well worth a visit when in that part of the Karoo.

2. Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre

Hudson Street, Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa +27 49 849 1733
Excellent
46%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 51 reviews

Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre

Reviewed By Claude S - Champery, Switzerland

We are far from being experts in fossils and since Jurassic Park we never heard again about it.
The Kitching centre is worth the visit because it is a small place (2 rooms) explaining very well how South Africa has been shaped several millions of years ago and which animals were living there.
The guide shows you also how to extract a fossil from a block a stone and what’s the difference between stone and bone, a good preparation for a « live experience » of looking for fossils in the river bed nearby.
We enjoy this 30’ of discovering fossil exploration.

3. First People Centre at The Bethesda Art Centre

Muller Street, Nieu-Bethesda 6286, South Africa +27 49 841 1731
Excellent
64%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 19 reviews

First People Centre at The Bethesda Art Centre

The Bethesda Arts Centre- First People Centre is a registered Not-for-Profit Organization, registration number 040-915 NPO. It was founded in 1999 by Jeni Couzyn, who is the artistic director, and Tarot Couzyn (one of many voluntary teachers). Our aim is to improve the lives of some of the neediest people in South Africa. The Arts Centre is currently supporting 18 participants and their families. We have developed a model of working holistically with all our participants. Social issues in the community such as poverty, alcoholism and abuse are tackled through theatre and visual arts, and engage the wider community. The group has a meeting every morning without fail where personal difficulties are expressed and shared with the rest of the group and decisions are made about the running of the centre All the Artists at the Centre are of Bushman origin. Artists are expressing their culture and mythology through a number of different media including print-making, stained glass, sculpture and textiles. At the Centre we have a permanent exhibition of huge textile quilts on display. These quilts are all based on San Mythology and have been made collectively by the First People Artists. Most of the small artwork at the Centre is for sale. Large quilts can be made to commission.

Reviewed By Kardoesie - Johannesburg, South Africa

One can find beautiful and exceptionally well crafted artworks here to buy, and to order. Tapestries, lino cuts, etc.Lovely restaurant too, serving dishes with produce from their own Gardens. Over New Year’s the local residents and artists make lanterns for visitors and locals for the Lantern Parade – what a magnificent sight!
Ideal to support the local people for gifts and souvenirs.

4. Dustcovers

Hudson Street, Nieu-Bethesda 6286, South Africa +27 82 517 0045
Excellent
72%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 7 reviews

Dustcovers

Reviewed By Kardoesie - Johannesburg, South Africa

This is one of the most charming and well stocked books shops in the country! Victoria Nance meticulously source, catalogue and sell an astounding collection of books. It would be surprising if you do leave empty handed. Rare finds, fiction, Karoo subjects, Afrikaans, Africana, children books, arts, philosophy, religion, economy, business, travel, cook books, wine, current affairs, great writers of SA, etc. Name it, Victoria stocks it!
Decorated with arm chairs upholstered in bold colours and dotted with red wooden steps to reach the top shelves, this is an oasis from the dusty roads where one can spend and entire day! Cold drinks are for sale, as well as greeting cards, beautifully designed journals and special note books.
Ideal for book lovers from all over.

5. Die Ramstal

Hill Street | Behind the Karoo Lamb Restaurant, Nieu-Bethesda 6286, South Africa +27 49 841 1642
Excellent
50%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4 reviews

Die Ramstal

Reviewed By G4904EMkevinm - Port Elizabeth, South Africa

As regular visitors to Nieu-Bethesda, we never miss out on a visit to Die Ramstal. Love the rustic feel and sense of history in the pub and the cold ones also help. In the winter there is always a fire crackling away. The local sheepdogs...MoreI am not involved in the business. I only posted a review.

6. The Honesty Shop

864 Martin Street, Nieu-Bethesda 6280, South Africa +27 83 400 2705
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

The Honesty Shop

Reviewed By Kardoesie - Johannesburg, South Africa

This shop offers soaps, salves, honey and other lovely products. Located on the “stoep” (porch) of Reinet-huis, it is a self help shop based on honesty. The body products all 100% natural, and are hand-made in Nieu Bethesda with local beeswax and honey. The range includes: soap, shampoo, toner, shower gel, shaving bars, bee bars, natural eczema treatments, lip balm as well as beeswax furniture polish and candles. Other local Karoo products are also for sale: olive oil, tapenade, jams, pickles, etc.
Ideal to support local business for gifts and souvenirs.

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