If you have some time to spare – and a yen for stretching those travelling legs – then buy a copy of Andre Malan’s Cradock Heritage Highlights and go walking through the little river town on the Great Fish.
These are just a few selected spots, and they should make for a good two-hour stroll about town:
We start at the bottom of Cross Street near Bree, at a typical old-style Karoo house where celebrated writer, activist and general Karoo VIP Olive Schreiner once lived as a girl.
Curator Brian Wilmot will show you around the house and its displays, including the little bookshop at the back.
The lovely façade of these offices was built in the mid-1860s and its core has been preserved through generations of ‘upgrades’ and renovations that followed. It is still one of the striking bits of Victorian architecture that remain in Cradock.
There are great legends about this outstanding Karoo church, which reminds one so of St-Martins-in-the-Field in Trafalgar Square, London. When it was completed in 1865, the Moederkerk was considered the finest church in South Africa.
Pop in at this historic old stone building, which now houses the staff and customers of the Blessing Hair Salon. More than 160 years ago, it was used by a Cradock attorney called EC Becker.
5. The Cradock Cemetery
Follow Calata Street down past the sports fields and you will find yourself at one of the Karoo’s most interesting graveyards. This is where Anglo-Boer War heroes, Polar pioneers, old Cradock families and all manner of villains rest. Look out for the grave of one Harry Potter.
Walk up the hill to Naested Street and turn right. Presently you will come to one of the most beautiful high school building complexes in the Eastern Cape. Cradock High School (formerly Rocklands High School) is still a very highly regarded educational centre and prides itself on its achievements in the classroom and on the sportsfield.
Meander down through Durban Street past Mila’s Restaurant and you will come to a shrine to yesteryear, in the form of an old horse drinking trough. Many travellers and their mounts drank of the free waters of Cradock back in the 1800s.
The foundations for this grand old building were laid in 1912, and it still serves as the legal seat of the town. The typical 19th Century form of stone architecture endures into the 21st Century.
If you ask the friendly receptionist at the Victoria Manor, he or she will arrange for you to see one of two of the 30-odd Tuishuise that line Market Street. With a bit of luck you could meet the owner, Mrs Sandra Antrobus, on her rounds of the cottages. Die Tuishuise remain the tourism jewel – alongside the Mountain Zebra National Park – of Cradock.
- Andre Malan’s Cradock Heritage Highlights can be purchased at the Schreiner Museum on Cross Street.