Steytlerville, Eastern Cape

Residents’ family crests line the main street of Steytlerville.
George Craven, the son of rugby legend Dr Danie Craven, started a Save Our Own Countryside campaign, trying to interest city folk to move back into the small towns of the Karoo.

He was a little before his time. It was only in the mid-1990s that the flow back to the rural towns of the Karoo began. The Internet made it possible to run your business away from the city, and ‘semigrants’ began to arrive and fix up the old Victorian dwellings.

In Steytlerville’s case, a couple of Capetonians pitched up, bought the old digs on the outskirts of town and established a theatrical hotel that brings audiences in most weekends with outrageous cabaret shows. Think of that. Cabaret in the Karoo.

Downtown Steytlerville is quiet, and the perfect spot to practise your stoep-sitting. There’s a definite art to sipping that glass of wine, leaning back deep into the shade and casting an eye over the almost non-existent main road traffic – and just letting your worries float away.

Watch out, however, for the Steytlerville Shape Shifter. They say he might first appear to you as a man in a business suit. Then he becomes a farmyard pig, and then flies off in bat form. Have another glass of wine and ponder on that.

Out at Noorspoort Guest Farm, the Craven spread, you can also down a cold one at a rather fun pub called Doc se Hok (Doc’s Cage), named after South Africa’s famous rugby hero, Dr Danie Craven.


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  1. Pingback: Showcase: Karroo Theatrical Hotel, Steytlerville | Karoo Space

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