Also see the neighbouring towns
Cradock is located on the banks of the Great Fish River on the
Photo: Courtesy of John Webber
The Dutch Reformed Church Parsonage was built in 1849, and a National Monument.
The Dutch Reformed Church is a national monument and was built in 1868 as a replica of St Martin-in-the-Feilds in London. During the anglo-Boer War it was used as a lookout post by British soldiers.
Bree Street, the oldest street, where Guy Butler, his parents and grandparents lived. Magnificent old buildings and heritage sites, such as Wesleyan Methodist Church (1849), St Peters Anglican Church (1858), were erected. The Cradock Club (established in 1881), built in 1850 by the father of sir Thomas Scanlen, who became prime minister of the Cape Colony (1881 – 1884) is situated in Dundas street, the second oldest street in Cradock.
Old Water Mill is a restored old mill.
The Cradock Club (established in 1881), which was declared national monument, is adorned with two Ilex Oak Trees, planted in 1850.
Market Street, a proclaimed heritage site is probably one of the small number of streets in the world where all the houses are totally original in core. The beautifully restored 19th century houses, die Tuishuise, depict the different lifestyles of people who lived in them from Victorian splendour to that of the rugged Boer. These houses today serve as overnight tourist accommodation and is a tourist attraction in own right.
The Karoo Sulphur Springs, now known as Cradock Spa, has a swimming pool and picnic and caravaning facilities.
The Van Riebeeck Karoo Garden displays succulents, shrubs and wild pomegranates.
The Karoo Sulphur Springs, now known as Cradock Spa, has an outdoor swimming pool, a heated indoor pool, caravanning, picnic facilities and a restaurant. This facility is currently undergoing a major revamp.
There are 3 irrigation dams in the area: Grassridge, Lake Arthur, Kommandodrif. Lake Arthur is popular for boating.
Lake Arthur is situated on the Tarka River, south east of Cradock. The dam was completed in 1924 and named after Prince Arthur of Connaught. Since the farm at Lake Arthur is rented out by the Great Fish River Irrigation Board, the dam is not open to the general public. Lake Arthur used to be popular for boating and fishing. Kommandodrift nature reserve is a popular getaway, managed by Eastern Cape Parks. The reserve may be reached on the Cradock – Tarkastad road (the R61). The Reserve is ideal for water sport enthusiasts, nature lovers and bird lovers. Picnic sites have been erected and visitors can enjoy boating and fishing. Hiking trials include a self guided two hour walk, as well as a day hike with overnight facilities.
Kommandodrift comprises grassy plains, densely wooded water – courses and dolerite koppies, as well as herds of animal species, smaller predators and bird species.
Grassridge is located north of Cradock, and is the starting point of the renowned Fish River Canoe Marathon, which is held annually, since 1982. The start of this marathon is at Grassridge Dam. Each batch starts "Le Mans" style, with the paddlers running 50 metres to their boats, before setting off for a turning buoy, 500 metres out in the centre of Grassridge Dam. From here the paddlers must turn left around the buoy and then head for the dam wall. The dam wall portage is over big rough boulders, so make sure you have decent running or paddling shoes on, particularly as the path below the dam wall has some sharp Karoo thorns waiting! Portage over any convenient section of the dam wall, and then down the dusty path back towards the river, where there are a variety of put-in options.
As with the other two dams, Grassridge is a popular retreat for birdlife, fishing water sports, boating, skiing.
Built in 1849, the museum building was originally the second parsonage of the Dutch Reformed Church. Declared a national monument in1971, it still has the original yellow wood floor and ceilings. Displays in the main building show the history of Cradock, the 1820 Settlers, and Voortrekkers. Historical horse carts and hearses can be seen in the outbuildings. A new addition to the main building is a photographic display of Nelson Mandela, his life in the struggle. Also on the premises, The Cradock Four Gallery comprises of a text and photo display on the history of these well known activists.
This museum houses exhibits from the life of author Olive Schreiner, who worked on farms in the area. She is known for her novel "The Story of an African Farm". The author Olive Schreiner lies buried on Buffelskop Mountain. It can be reached after a 3-hour walk.
Olive Schreiner (1855 - 1920)
Guy Butler (1918 - 2001). A pictorial history of this famous South African poet and author, is on display in the museum.
The museum was donated to the National English Literary Museum (NELM), and houses a satelite of the NELM book shop.
Frederick Guy Butler (1918-2001), a South African poet and writer, was born in Cradock. He became Professor and Head of English at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
This famous geologist was a senior medical officer on Captain RF Scott’s first expedition to the Antarctic on the “Discovery” in 1905. On January 10th 1916 both he and his wife passed away in Cradock, she of a heart disease, and he a few hours later, of dysentery. The inscription on the gravestone reads “Here lies Reginald Koettlitz, explorer and traveler, surgeon and a geologist to Expeditions North Polar and Abyssinia, and with Scott of the Antarctic.
Cradock cemetery is home to the grave of the legendary Harry Potter. Maybe not? The Harry Potter buried at the Cradock Cemetery in the Karoo town, died 98 years ago aged 47 years. His resting place, according to locals, was apparently discovered by a German who goes around the world in search of graves of famous personalities. Inscribed on the tombstone which is situated in a densely filled graveyard reads:
“In Sacred Memory of Harry Potter – died July 27 1910. Aged 47 years. I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”
But this Potter, unlike the one in Rowling’s magical tales, has found true love and buried with him is his wife Elizabeth Potter (born Bruce). She passed away on 29 December 1942 in her 82nd year. According to self-proclaimed genealogist Oom Duncan Ferguson, this Potter descends from the 1820 Settlers and has another relative buried in Alicedale.
The Mountain Zebra National Park is less than 20Km west of town.
The now 28000 hectare park was proclaimed in 1937 for the protection of the Cape Mountain Zebra, which was on the verge of extinction. Situated near Cradock in the malaria free Eastern Cape, with the craggy heights of the mountains, embracing rolling hills, and deep valleys, the Mountain Zebra National Park is the jewel of the Karoo. The park is abundant with wildlife and bird species, and has a rich variety of plant species, indigenous to the Karoo. Enjoy the hiking trails, Khoisan cave paintings, beautiful scenery and tranquil ambience under clear skies.
Essentially a wild cat conservation, breeding and research facility, Karoo Pred – a – Tours is on a holiday farm near Cradock. Sundowners on game drives are on offer. The owners have now established a NON PROFIT TRUST to run the affairs of the cats and to facilitate fund raising efforts. The trust is called the CAT CONSERVATION TRUST. Their love of working with these animals has led them to expand their interest in the field of smaller African wild cat species.
This natural wonder, an egg shaped dolerite rock, stands +/- 10 meters high and weighs just under 500 tons. The rock is ideally located for a great hike, and also a natural scenic picnic site. A visit to the rock and spending time climbing and admiring the scenery takes about an hour and a half.
Experience a little piece of the Karoo just above the town, by walking around the slopes of Oukop and witness the rock etchings by the South African War soldiers. The most famous being, “What avail a man if he gains the world but loses his soul”. The hill was used as a lookout point during the South African War. If you’d like to have a panoramic view of the whole of Cradock take a drive up "Oukop". It will only take 30 minutes of your time. A little piece of the Karoo, just above town, awaits you. Go for a walk around it’s slopes, and witness the Anglo-Boer war soldiers etchings, on a rock. This hill was used as a lookout post. You could even rest awhile after a long journey, by having a picnic up there. Take your camera with. The property belongs to the Cradock Municipality, and is open to the public 24 hours per day every day of the year.
The annual Cradock Agricultural Show is held in October and exhibits wool, mohair, sheep (Merino, Dorper and Angora) and cattle.
The Cradock Agricultural Show has grown into the foremost ’platteland’ shows. It boasts a proud heritage in that it is one of the oldest show societies in South Africa having been established in 1864. Except for a period of five years after a flood in 1974, the show has been held annually, even during world wars 1 & 2, as well as during the depression years of the 1930s. The National Championships are frequently held for saddle horse, boerperd and Welsh ponies. The annual Monty Gadd Trophy, one of the most coveted equestrian trophies gets contested during this show. In addition, excellent facilities are available for exhibiting of small stock, i.e. wool, mohair, dual purpose and mutton breeds. A remarkable display of the Vintage Tractor and Engine Club of South Africa attracts many enthusiasts to the show.
There is a 82Km long irrigation tunnel running from the Orange River to Cradock. This is apparently the second longest irrigation tunnel in the world. The longest tunnel is The Päijänne Water Tunnel, which runs a distance of 120Km (74.6 miles) at 30m-100m deep in bedrock.
When in 1863 the old Dutch Reformed Church was demolished to make way for the new church, a local farmer, a Mr Lombard of the farm, Gannavlakte, bought all the yellow wood and used it to build a mill on his farm. This mill served an area covering a radius of 150 km. In 1972, Jurie Lombard, grandson of the originator of the mill, donated it to the public of Cradock and it was re – erected on its present site in the town park. Official records from 1852 show that there were 15 horse mills, and 53 watermills in the Cradock district at the time.
Early 20th century horse drinking trough A typical example of a resting place, where farmers watered their horses after taking long journeys. It was commissioned by the Town Council in commemoration of King Edward VII on 26 June 1902.
Karoo Kraal, a traditional open-air restaurant, with hearty Karoo meals, boerekos and warm hospitality. It is an ideal venue for the hosting of events, functions, singers and bands. The tranquil Karoo night sky is the ideal setting for any star gazing enthusiast. A professional guide is available by arrangement. Also pony rides, wagon trips and informal settlement trips are available.
Vusubuntu Cultural Village - Located just off the N10 towards Port Elizabeth, where self catering chalets, a curio shop, an African restaurant, and a gigantic monument, also commemorating the Cradock four, is envisaged.
Visit the centre where you can find arts and crafts, with beadworks, and also a library with a history of apartheid.
From its position as in one of the biggest and most popular river marathons worldwide, the Fish has grown phenomenally from its humble beginnings in 1982. The race has now become a permanent fixture on the Hansa Powerade Grand Prix, entrenching it as the premier river marathon of its kind in the country.
Sport Clubs, Golf, Bowling, Tennis, Cricket etc Team building and conference facilities Restaurants, coffee shops River rafting, Canoeing Abseiling, Paintball, Mountain biking, quad biking, Fishing, Bird watching, Pony rides, Hiking trails, Game drives, Town tours, township tours, farm tours, Spar and wellness treatments Star gazing under clear Karoo skies.
In 1812 Andries Stockenstrom established the magisterial seat on the farm Buffelskloof, owned by Pieter van Heerden. The position was strategically important during the frontier wars, and close to a sulpher spring. Sir John Cradock, British Governor of the Cape (1811-1814), visited the area and decided to establish a town on the site. The town was formally established in 1814 and became a municipality in 1873. Cradock was named after Sir John Cradock, Governor of the Cape Colony from 1811 to 1814.
Andries Stockenström (1792-1864)
Sir John Cradock, British Governor of the Cape (1811-1814), visited the area and decided to establish a town on the site. The town was formally established in 1814 and became a municipality in 1873.
The Dutch farmers in the area of Cradock were dissatisfied with the British rulers of the area, and in the early 1830's began a major emigration northwards. This is known as the Great Trek, and the early pioneers moving away, were later called Voortrekkers (meaning "those who moved earlier"). Most of the early pioneers began the Great Trek from the greater Cradock area. A miniature replica of the Moerdyk edifice in Pretoria, was erected in Cradock in 1988 as part of the 150 years celebration of this epic event.
Farming: Dairy, poultry, fruit, lucerne, wool, mohair.
Additional information: John Webber