Nieu Bethesda

Nieu Bethesda

Nieu Bethesda is a fertile oasis in the arid Great Karoo. It is cradles below the mighty Compassberg and the surrounding Sneeuberg Mountains. The late Helen Martin's Owl House, is the reason why so many people come to this remote village. The lucid light, gigantic skies, babbling water furrows and tender pace of life are why so many stay.

Activities and sightseeing in the area

The Owl House

Helen Martins was an outsider in the town of Nieu Bethesda. She tried to find happiness in a dreary life by creating art. She used cement, bright paint and crushed glass to create a fantasy world in and around her home, now called The Owl House for the owl perched on the arched entryway.

The Valley of Desolation

The dramatic starkly eroded dolomite pillars can be found in the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park 

Fossil beds and dinosaur footprints

Fossil beds dating 240 million years old have been found in the area. You can either take a guided tour to see these and bushmen etching or you can visit the James Kitching Fossil Interpetation Centre.


This charming monument town is the fourth oldest in South Africa. It is totally surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park. Graaff-Reinet has a number of museums that house bushman rock art, fossil collections and historical artifacts.