Nieu Bethesda Eastern Cape
Nestled in the Great Karoo region of South Africa lies a jewel of hidden paradise known as Nieu-Bethesda. The high-altitude semi dessert climate allows unique flora, birds, reptiles and mammals to live a peaceful uninterrupted life. With few changes over the past century, this paradise is a nature-lover's dream.
What is the Karoo?
Unlike any other place on earth, the Karoo began hundreds of millions of years ago with a perfect ecosystem that hosts mountains and valleys of varying degrees. The Swartberg Mountain Range makes a distinction between the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo. Extreme temperatures of hot and cold can be experienced in this region, thought to be caused by the high sea levels. Astrologers appreciate the clear skies and absence of artificial lights in viewing the galaxy from the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
History of Nieu Bethesda
Formed as a church community in 1875, Nieu-Bethesda is located at the foot of the Snow Mountains (Sneeuberge) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Many small villages in the Karoo region began as congregations of religion and were later incorporated into municipalities. Today, Nieu-Bethesda is part of the Camdeboo Local Municipality and holds approximately 1,000 residents.
Noted Artist Features
An artistic flavor is present in this small community due to the eccentric artist, Helen Martins. Known as a local recluse, there are several preserved works of her life in garden and structures of the Owl House Museum. Cement, wire and crushed glass were used in creating a haven inside her home and sculptures line the garden that she once enjoyed.
Bushman paintings also dot the old architectural buildings and create a feeling of life as it existed over 130 years ago. Fossils are another grand feauture of the area. Photographers and painters will enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Karoo for sublime creativity.
Where to Stay
There are a variety of Bed & Breakfast accommodations in Nieu-Bethesda. Outsiders B&B gives a front door view of the busy streets traveled by residents on any given day, but also peaceful nights and homemade meals of Karoo Lamb and fresh breads and jam. The Water Tower presents old world architecture, history and a perfect view of the stars at night. Find original art works at the Aandster where Clive Laurence's sculpture studio still exists.
Regardless of whether you are interested in history, architecture, art, star-gazing or the overall splendor of nature, Nieu-Bethesda in the Great Karoo has unforgettable sights and adventures to discover. Specific yearly events can also be found in this small segment of heaven.