Cradock Tourist Attractions
The little country town of Cradock was originally a military base, established in 1813 and named after the then governor, Sir John Cradock. Its situation on the banks of the Great Fish River attracted many farmers, and the settlement soon developed into the center of an intensively cultivated agricultural area. It received its charter as a town in 1837. There are a variety of leisure facilities (a swimming pool, a camping site, holiday houses, etc.) round the Karoo Sulfur Springs.
Mountain Zebra National Park
The Mountain Zebra National Park (area 6536ha/16,144 ac), established in 1937, lies on the northern slopes of the Blankberg range (up to 2000m/6560ft), 24km/15mi southwest of Cradock. It is one of the finest National Parks in South Africa, on account both of its unique fauna and its magnificent scenery. It is also an area of archaeological interest in which remains of Paleolithic man have been found, and there is a cave containing Bushman paintings, reached on a well signposted road.The park was established to ensure the survival of the mountain zebra. Standing only 1.25m/4ft high, with a reddish-brown nose and a white belly, the mountain zebra is in grave danger of extinction. In 1960 there were only 50 of them left, but the herd in the National Park has now risen to over 200. Every year, too, a number of mountain zebras are given to other parks, so that the total stock is now estimated at 600.In addition to the mountain zebra other animals of the savanna live in the park, among them springboks, bonteboks and kudus, as well as caracals, jackals, mongooses and many species of birds.The vegetation is typical of the Karoo, with the addition of wild olives, sumac and thorny acacias.From the ranger's house there are roads to different parts of the park, and there are also a number of short walks and trails, as well as the 31km/19mi Mountain Zebra Trail (overnight accommodation in mountain huts).Within the park there are various types of accommodation for visitors, as well as a shop and a restaurant.
In the center of Cradock is a Dutch Reformed church (1867) modeled on London's St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Olive Schreiner House
The house once occupied by Olive Schreiner now contains a small museum commemorating the well known South African writer, born in Wittebergen (now in Lesotho) in 1855, the daughter of a German Methodist missionary. At the age of 15 she became a governess in a Boer family on the fringes of the Karoo. From 1881 to 1889 she lived in England, where her "Story of an African Farm" was published. Throughout her life she was concerned in her novels and short stories with the problems of her country and rebelled against Victorian racism and imperialism. As a result of her political opposition to Cecil Rhodes she was interned during the Boer War. Olive Schreiner died in Cradock in 1920 and was buried in Buffelkop, to the south of the town.
Great Fish River Museum
The Great Fish River Museum, housed in a former parsonage c1825, illustrates the history of Cradock's settlement in the 19th C with a varied collection of material, including furniture and domestic equipment.
Van Riebeeck Karoo Garden
In addition to succulents and various kinds of shrubs, the flora in the Van Riebeeck Karoo Garden includes wild pomegranate trees.