History of Graaff-Reinet and district

Nestled in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Graaff-Reinet is the country’s fourth oldest magisterial district. It is home to over 220 heritage sites, including various houses, buildings and farms, which reveal the town’s journey through time. The town is situated within the Great Karoo and is thus surrounded by natural beauty, rich in fauna and flora.

On 19 July 1786 a proclamation was published defining the boundaries of the new district of Graaff-Reinet. Two loan-place farms of Dirk Coetzee on the Sundays River had been selected as providing a site for the town itself, because of an abundant water-supply form the river. In October 1786 the first landdrost, M H O Woeke, was able to open his court. Only Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam had preceded Graaff-Reinet as seats for a landdrost and court.

The village of Graaff-Reinet grew slowly in accommodation, attracting at first burghers with the essential skills connected with transport: a wagonwright, a smith, a carpenter, and a saddler, as well as other astisans. In three generations during the 18th century, the Dutch farmers of the originally settled areas near Cape Town had spread their homesteads eastwards as far as the middle reaches of the Great Fish River, a distance of some 600km as the crow flies. This is in marked contrast to the experience of the employees of the Dutch East India Company, during the same period, in the fortress and city of Batavia on the island of Java, where the tropical climate was conducive to malarial fever and many Hollanders died soon after their arrival. But the Karoo climate is healthy, and families were large. Their simple economy made it possible for the young people to marry early and set up new homes in a land which seemed endless. Little did these people know that their houses would become highly sought after accommodation in Graaff-Reinet.


This blog was written by Rietjiesbos Bed & Breakfast. Rietjiesbos B&B is a beautifully restored Karoo house set in a country garden of Graaff Reinet. Rietjiesbos Bed & Breakfast will surprise and delight you. Valerie's attention to detail as well as her Graaff-Reinet bed & breakfast with eggs from a local farmer, local home-made jams and coffee from the local roastery will make you come back time and again to this place to stay in Graaff-Reinet.

​Rietjiesbos B&B has self catering rooms with a fully equipped kitchen. The rooms lead onto the garden where you can relax or have a bbq in the shade of two majestic trees. Rietjiesbos B&B is a 15 minute walk from the nearest restaurants. The art galleries, museums, beautiful churches and  national monuments in Graaff Reinet are also within walking distance. Your vehicles and trailers will be safe behind off-street parking. Rietjiesbos Bed & Breakfast is one of the best guesthouses in Graaff Reinet and receive excellent reviews.


Book your next accommodation in Graaff Reinet directly at www.rietjiesbos.co.za or contact Valerie via email at info@rietjiesbos.co.za