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Eastern Cape
What you need to know
Weekend Getaway
Day Trips
Small town charm

SSteytlerville in the Eastern Cape is the kind of town where you can do absolutely nothing. It’s also a place enjoy a Saturday cabaret and learn about the night skies, how angora farming works and how to pluck a goose for her down feathers. 

The first thing you should learn when you visit the Karoo – South Africa’s dry heartland – is the time-honoured art of ‘stoep-sitting’ (sitting on the verandah). 

Stoep-sitting means a lot more than parking on a porch and doing nothing. 

Yes, there’s a lot of doing nothing involved, but you have to do nothing in a meaningful way when you stoep-sit in the Karoo. There’s meditation, reflection and intense chatting involved, along with complete and utter inactivity except for the occasional raising of a glass of red wine in honour of a fine Karoo sunset. 

And if you're stoep-sitting in Steytlerville in the Eastern Cape, you're doing it in arguably the stoep-sitting capital of South Africa. 

Its massive porches, wide streets, bull-nosed Victorian verandahs and polished floors – combined with its inherent lack of urgency – put it way up there in the stoep-sitting stakes. 

And there’s always something to talk about in Steytlerville. There’s always something going on in this town of artists and retired folk. 

Like, what are the boys out at the Karroo Theatrical Hotel up to this Saturday night? Another innovative cabaret performance by Dame Leyla Lamborghini? 

And what’s happening at the Royal Hotel? The place is packed with bikers, their machines gleaming, and leather and club patches galore. 

And young Danie Craven, grandson of the Springbok rugby legend, what’s he doing out at Noorspoort Farm, where it’s a delight to wake up on a winter’s morning under a duck-down duvet and contemplate a day of patting farm animals and reading a thick book? 

There goes Jan Pampoen (Pumpkin), cycling to the local golf course to hunt for earthworm mounds (Steytlerville earthworms – rumoured to be the longest in the world – can measure up to 2m). 

Anyway, Jan’s off to find a couple of these giant earthworms. He cuts them up and sells them for bait. 

So, as we open another bottle of pinotage, we settle in on this evening for another session of world-class stoep-sitting, right here in Steytlerville... 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & planning  info 


Who to contact 


Royal Hotel Steytlerville 

Tel: +27 (0)49 835 0385 



Noorspoort Guest Farm 

Cell: +27 (0)60 646 8536 



Karoo Theatrical Hotel 

Tel: +27 (0)49 835 0010 



How to get here 

Steytlerville lies next to the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area in the shadow of the great Winterhoek Mountains. Steytlerville is approximately 170km west of Port Elizabeth and 150km south of Graaff-Reinet. 

Best time to visit 

Any time of the year is great to visit Steytlerville except for high summer (December/January) when it is very hot. 

Around the area 

Explore the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve and the towns of Graaff-Reinet, Nieu Bethesda, Jansenville and Willowmore. 

Tours to do 

Guarri Safaris offers guided self-drive tours into the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve and Gamtoos Valley. 

Get around 

It's best to drive yourself in this part of the world. Hire a car from Port Elizabeth; it needn’t be an SUV, as the road to Steytlerville is in reasonable condition. 

What will it cost? 

Accommodation is generally in the R500 to R700 range per person per night. 

Length of stay 

Steytlerville is worth at least 2 days of your time. 

What to pack 

Pack for the outdoors, because you might find yourself traipsing over farmlands and into the surrounding mountains. 

Where to stay 

You are spoilt for accommodation choices, which include the Royal Hotel in Steytlerville, Noorspoort Guest Farm or the Karroo Theatrical Hotel. 

What to eat 

Substantial meals are offered in Steytlerville, in true Karoo tradition, so prepare yourself for lamb, venison and full plates. 

Best buys 

Mohair, sheepskin and angora products like blankets, scarves and slippers. 

 Related links 

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