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The quaint Karoo village of Nieu-Bethesda was founded by Reverend. Charles Murray a minister from the Graaff-Reinet Dutch Reformed Church. Seeing the beautiful valley with its rich fertile soil and bubbling spring water supply he is quoted as saying “Laten wy deze plaats nu Bethesda noemen“, translating to “Let us name this place Bethesda”.
The Karoo town of Nieu Bethesda is surrounded by the Compassberg mountain range, this is the highest mountain within the Eastern Cape province and is surrounded on either side by hills from which runs numerous streams into this narrow fertile strip wherein lies the quite town of Nieu Bethesda. Our night skies are clear, star filled and unforgettable whilst the air is crisp. Whilst the town of Nieu Bethesda has no installed street lights, it is perfectly safe to wonder out at any time of the night or day whilst leaving your car safely parked on the road side.
Nieu Bethesda has also become the home town to a growing artist community inspired by Helen Martins. These include crafters, painters, sculpture’s and other creative souls seeking a more peaceful and creative way of life. This insurgent has also been inspired by the acclaimed South African author Athol Fugard who chose the town as his home away from home. Nieu Bethesda has also been the place where numerous of his world-famous plays were inspired, written and produced. Situated between the towering mountain range of the Compassberg lies the Karoo town of Nieu Bethesda a true oasis within the arid landscape of the Karoo.
Nieu-Bethesda is the town left behind in time and with its eternal babbling springs bubbles originating from the Compassberg mountain range that surround Nieu Bethesda. The spring water rises up from far below in the earth and trickle downhill to the maize of furrows surrounding the village. These furrows remain as one of the last working furrow a system which is still operated on a daily basis. The gentle flow from these furrows combined with un-tarred street and the peaceful life in the town are all combined with budget family holiday accommodation that greet all visitors arriving in this quaint Karoo town.
Whilst Nieu-Bethesda has a unique appeal it owes its current assistance to its most famous resident Helen Martins the creator of the mysterious and unbelievable Camel Yard and naturally the world famous Owl House. At Nieu-Bethesda she gave life to her mystical and unique creations and transformed her modest garden and house with local cement and glass creations. The Owl House is now a museum and known worldwide as an extensive collection of outsider art, The Owl House and Camel Yard is open to the public all year round except for 25th December.
The main un-tarred from Graaff Reinet entering the Karoo town Nieu-Bethesda becomes Martin Street, the main street of the town. The main street is lined with old pear trees which add to the town artistic beauty when in when in bloom. As winter approaches the towns popular pear trees turn various shades of brown and yellow creating a stark contrast between the fertile valley of the town, dark and impressive Compassberg mountain range and surrounding arid Karoo bush.
Nieu-Bethesda has a growing reputation as a family holiday destination and a place to unwind away from the hustle of city life, and this makes the town a popular choice for families wishing to reconnect with themselves and nature. The town is surrounded by wildlife, birds and Karoo plants are in abundance all around the town.
Whilst Nieu-Bethesda remains a town of mystery and attracts all walks of holiday accommodation please remember that Nieu Bethesda has not progressed a lot in the years and has no bank, ATM, petrol pump, doctor, pharmacy or supermarkets.