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Life in Nieu Bethesda potters along much as it did 130 years ago when the village was founded. Stone water furrows still line the wide, dusty streets.  Night skyscapes are unpolluted by streetlights, and the air is still fresh and clean.  As always, the Compassberg watches over the village and Nieu Bethesdans still while away the hours on their stoeps, watching village life go by.

All around stretches the arid expanse of the Great Karoo, where the land meets the sky.  This is a nature-lovers paradise, a high-altitude semi-desert that is home to the largest variety of succulents in the world - as well as eagles, hadehas, sacred ibises, secretary birds, blue cranes, flamingoes, otters, lizards, snakes, tortoises, bat-eared foxes, kudu, springbok, reedbuck, wildebeest, wild cats, ground squirrels and aardvarks.

In times gone by, agriculture was the driving force of Nieu Bethesda’s economy, the region’s Angora goats and Karoo lamb are famous.  Nowadays much of the industry is based around art. There are craft shops and galleries, potteries and sculpture gardens - most famously, the late Helen Martins’ extraordinary “Owl House.

Whether your interest lies in art, bushman paintings, fossils, climbing, hiking, bird-watching, mountain-biking, horse-riding, game-viewing, star-gazing or stoep-sitting, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do in Nieu Bethesda.

And the choice of accommodation varies from farmhouse to backpacker lodge, spacious to intimate.  Wherever you book, allow extra time this is one experience you won’t want to stop in a hurry.

In room facilities:
- Tea and coffee facilities
- Towels
- Linen
- Hot water bottles
- Heaters
- Microwave
- Gas plates
- Fridge/freezer
- Cooking utensils
- Crockery and cutlery
- Woodstove

Establishment facilities:
- Braai facilities
- Bar/Lounge
- Free parking
- Secure parking
- Pet friendly (cost and booking required)



Helen Martins’ Owl House, often cited as South Africa’s finest example of outsider art, is an extraordinary, other-worldly home of concrete and ground glass sculptures.  Her creativity conjures up an array of emotions: from wonder to excitement, curiosity and sadness.  Built in 1905, the Dutch Reformed Church of Nieu Bethesda is the grandest edifice in the village, with its long gothic spire soaring towards the dazzling blue sky.  The area around Nieu Bethesda is good for either a leisurely ride or a challenging ride for serious mountain bikers.  If you are feeling lazy, hire a bike from the Outsiders B&B and cruise around the village.

Rooms and Units Available:

2 bedroomed (1 twin and a double) self-catering house with 4 extra bunk beds (2 in the common room, 2 in garden room), bathroom (shower, bath and toilet) and open plan kitchen, dining and sitting area. Private garden with braai facilities.
Sleeps 12 Adults

Allemann se Huisie
Allemann se Huisie is a Self-catering garden cottage with one bed bedroom with twin beds, a kitchenette, shower and toilet and a sitting area.
Sleeps 2 Adults

Elke's Guesthouse
Bright, modern & spacious 2 bedroomed self-catering house with 2 bathrooms (1 en-suite). 2 fireplaces, well equipped open-plan kitchen, dining & sitting area & a large garden with braai facilities. Great mountain views from the bedrooms, lounge & garden.
Sleeps 7 Adults

House No1
House No:1 offers comfortable accommodation in a renovated Karoo house and a cosy garden cottage, situated in the heart of the village of Nieu-Bethesda. The property neighbours an excellent book shop, and is just a short walk to The Owl House
Sleeps 6 Adults

Outsiders B&B
Comfortable double room with en-suite shower and toilet. Tea and coffee making facilities, private entrance and stoep. Mohair blankets, electric blankets and heaters in winter. Fan in summer. Full breakfast available.
Amount of similar units: 2
Sleeps 2 Adults

Owlhouse Backpackers
Bunk bed in the 6 bedded inside dormitory at the Owlhouse Backpackers, sharing the communal kitchen, common area and ablutions.
Amount of similar units: 6
Sleeps 1 Adult

Owlhouse Backpackers - Camping
Camping in the garden of the Owlhouse Backpackers. Guests need to bring their own tents along but they get to share the communal kitchen, common areas, and ablutions.
Amount of similar units: 5
Sleeps 1 Adult

Owlhouse Backpackers Twin room
Twin room in the Owlhouse Backpackers, sharing the communal kitchen, common area, and shared ablutions with a shower.
Sleeps 2 Adults

Owlhouse Garden Dormitory
Bunk bed in the 4 bedded outside dormitory at the Owlhouse Backpackers, sharing the communal kitchen, common area and ablutions.
Amount of similar units: 4
Sleeps 1 Adult

Quince&Cottage is a 3 bedroom self-catering house with 2 double beds, a single bed, and a bunk bed. There is a full self-catering kitchen as well.
Sleeps 7 Adults

Snug Cottage
Snug Cottage has 3 single beds with an open-plan lounge and kitchenette, equipped with a small fridge, microwave stove, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Shower and toilet en-suite.
Sleeps 3 Adults

The Water Tower
A circular double-story with an interesting past. This quirky building was first a water tower and then a Buddhist meditation room. Not suitable for the aged or the infirm
Sleeps 2 Adults

Facilities & Services available:

Children under 12
Pets only by Arrangement
Self-Braai / Barbecue
Bar on the Premises
Parking (off-street - open)
Communal Satellite TV
Hiking / Walking Trails
4x4 Routes
Historic Sites
Arts and Craft

Cancellation Policy:

- If cancelling 2 days before arrival, forfeit 100% of the deposit.
- If cancelling 7 days before arrival, forfeit 50% of the deposit.
- If cancelling 30 days before arrival, forfeit 10% of the deposit.

Terms and Conditions

The cardholder & ID/Passport must be present at check-in.
The credit card used for the online payment must be present at check-in.


All guests check in and receive the key and directions to their accommodation at our central reception, "The Owlhouse Backpackers", Martins Street, Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape, 6286.

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  • Accommodation Type: Backpacker, Bed & Breakfast, Caravan park, Guesthouse and Self-Catering
  • Malaria Area: No
  • Sleeps: 60
  • Check-in: 2:00 PM
    Check-out: 10:00 AM