Lying on the banks of the Great Fish River is the historical town of Cradock - a tranquil and typical Karoo farming town. Cradock is regarded today as the capital of the Cape Midlands and renowned for its production of some of the best wool and mohair in the country.
Cradock has witnessed much of South Africa’s history - the Great Trek originated here and from neighbouring districts; and the ostrich boom of the early 1900s graced farmers in the area with a prosperity only now resurging with the demand for fine leather and low-cholesterol meat. Cradock is probably best known for its natural sulphur spring, now the source of the town’s modern spa that draws people from all over the country to experience both its open-air and indoor heated pools.
The original part of town is graced with some of the finest buildings, like the Dutch Reformed Church, a national monument and designed to look like London’s St Martin’s-in-the-field, and the Olive Shreiner House Museum, devoted to the authoress’s life and works. Olive was said to write the novel ‘The Story of an African Farm’ whilst working as a governess on farms in the district, and much of her early life was spent in the town.
The town’s streets are lined with Ilex Oak Trees, particularly on Dundas Street, where they have been declared a national monument. The Great Fish River Museum - shows what it was like to live as a settler during the second British occupation of the Cape.