Capital of the Karoo Heartland

The historic town of Cradock lies along the banks of the Great Fish River which brings life to this part of the grassy Karoo. The towns’ geographical location makes it a popular stay over destination for travelers between major inland towns such as Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and coastal areas such as Port Elizabeth and East London.

Cradock is a typical Karoo farming town with cattle farms scattering the landscape. What the area is most renowned for however is its production of some of the best wool and mohair in the country.

The cheerful character of the town is marked by the many different cultures and the very friendly locals. If you planning on visiting the area during the Karoo Food Festival remember to come hungry and be prepared to “kuier”. The towns’ atmosphere is welcoming and allows visitors to relax and unwind in its unique and beautiful scenery.

There are other reasons visitors are attracted to this Karoo town and that is its history. The original part of town has some of the finest Victorian-era buildings like the Dutch Reformed Church, designed to look like London’s St. Martin’s-in-the-field and the Old Water Mill, completely restored and well worth a visit. Come walk the streets of Cradock, literally, there is a Cradock Walkabout that is well worth your spare time, and enjoy its history and hospitality.

The accommodation found are typical Karoo B&B’s, Guest Houses, self-catering units as well as a camping and caravan park sites.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see


Rainfall occurs in the mid-summer months, with February and March seeing the highest levels.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 30˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 17˚C.


There are daily flights into Port Elizabeth International Airport. Cradock is approximately 243 km away along the N10. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.


April - Karoo Food Festival: From Friday 29 April to 1 May 2016, Cradock turns into a Food Town, full of farm produce and food lovers.

July – Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival: Lovers of reading, writing and the Karoo can look forward to close encounters with well-loved authors.

October - Hansa Powerade Fish River Canoe Marathon: A popular two day canoe race down the Fish River, total distance 81.1 Km.


In the early 1800’s the area was a meeting of two cultures, Boer and Xhosa, both who relied on cattle for their livelihood and wealth. They both coveted the area for its grazing after the earlier trek of the Boers through the arid areas of the Cape and Graaff-Reinet. So it was in 1814 that Sir John Cradock built a series of forts along the lower Fish River all the way up to Cradock to try and contain the Xhosa people to the East of the Fish River which was proclaimed the boundary by the Cape Government. The town never saw conflict despite the original reason for the town as a fort.

Lord Charles Somerset succeeded Sir John Cradock and invited 1820 settlers to the area to act as a buffer between the Xhosa and the rest of the Cape Colony and so the town grew.

The town witnessed the Great Trek first hand in the 1830’s, as the Afrikaners who were discontent with British rule , and most of the migration departed from and via the area around Cradock. 

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