Founded in 1786 by Cornelius Jacob van de Graaff, Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa. Built in the heart of the arid Karoo region, the flat sandy plains are broken up by the lush mountains of the surrounding Camdeboo Park. The town itself is charmingly well-preserved, its sleepy streets lined with historic Karoo-style homes. Parsonage Street, is lined with restored buildings, and ends with the Reinet House, named after the first governor’s wife, Cornelia Reinet. Now a museum dedicated to its inhabitants, the garden is home to the world’s largest living grape vines, which were planted in 1870. Meanwhile, on Stretch’s Court, you’ll find the Karoo cottages that were once the homes of labourers and emancipated slaves. Then there’s the 19th century Groot Kirk, an elegant and imposing building that’s downright opulent y Dutch Reform standards.
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