Ganora Guest Farm, Nieu Bethesda


Ganora Guest Farm is less than 10km from the village of Nieu-Bethesda in the Sneeuberg range of mountains.loganora0013

It also lies directly on the local “fossil trail” – a rich band of fossil-rich mudstone on the flanks of the Wilge River, which flows through the farm.

Co-owner JP Steynberg developed his aptitude for spotting ‘old bones’ when he was a young boy, following his dad on jaunts through the vast Karoo.loganora0004

The crown jewel of the Ganora collection at the farm museum is a complete, uniquely well-preserved fossil fish with exquisite scales and stubby fins, named Kompasia delaharpi. It’s the only complete fossil fish of this kind in the world.

Farmers JP Steynberg takes guests on fossil tours of Ganora, showing them ancient bones still embedded in rocks, the remains of proto mammals dating back 255 million years ago.Hester Steynberg, Ganora Farmstay, Nieu Bethesda

Unique rock paintings and a poignant Anglo Boer War history add to the experience. JP’s wife Hester has made a national name for herself as a rehabilitator of birds and small beasts – and a renowned hostess to visitors staying over at Ganora.

Ganora, which offers views of the iconic Compassberg peak, is one of the Karoo’s premier farmstays.

There are various very comfortable lodgings, most of them in previous farm outbuildings. There is a pool, and a series of lovely walks, one of which is through a poplar forest.

The farm museum is world class, displaying fossils, artefacts, potsherds and in an adjoining area (with a conveniently located pub) you can see old agricultural implements and tools.Dohne Merino sheep

Ganora is a Dohne Merino sheep stud, and guests are welcome to watch activities like shearing, herding sheep or feeding orphaned lambs or calves.

There is also a special walk with a guide who specialises in the many varieties of Karoo plants.