Steytlerville is the Eastern entrance to Baviaanskloof and showcases a host of architectural gems like quaint Edwardian and Victorian-era houses with tin roofs and large street-facing verandas complete with broekie lace and stained glass windows. (South Africanism alert: Broekie is Afrikaans for ladies’ frilly underwear – also used in the saying, “Ag, don’t get your broekies in a knot”.)
The Dutch Reformed Church in Steytlerville holds the record for being the biggest Edwardian-style church in Southern Africa, and seats 1 200 congregants. Given that the 2011 census gave the total population of the town as 4 000, the potential growth of the town was possibly over-estimated in 1906 when it was built.
It is the kind of town where you can do absolutely nothing. It’s also a place where you can hone your photographic skills, enjoy a Saturday cabaret, and learn about the night skies, how angora farming works and how to pluck a goose for her down feathers.
HOW TO GET HERE
Steytlerville lies next to the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area in the shadow of the great Winterhoek Mountains. Steytlerville is approx. 170km west of Port Elizabeth and approx. 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
Trips into the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area; day trips up to Graaff-Reinet and Nieu Bethesda; and drives to neighbouring Jansenville and Willowmore.
TOURS TO DO
Join Pine Pienaar’s photography course and learn all about the cosmos at the same time.
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 in the R300 to R400 per person per night B&B bracket.
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.
Mohair, sheepskin and angora products like blankets, scarves and slippers.far
- Biggest Edwardian-style church in Southern Africa
- A night out at the Karoo theatrical hotel
- Noorspoort Guest Farm
Driving along the main road, you might be intrigued to see flags depicting family crests. No, as tempting as it may be for them, the nobility of Europe have not set up camp in Steytlerville – these crests are of families who have contributed to the history of Steytlerville. Those families without traditional crests were invited to design their own, making for some really interesting additions to the world’s heraldry.