When travellers of the world decide to explore South Africa a discerning few find themselves in the Karoo, where nature dazzles on the endless plains and among the mountains. Here, in blazing summers and icy winters, the silence is so pure you can hear God think, the stars so near you feel you have only to reach out to touch them.
The Karoo is one of the world’s most unique, arid zones. In South Africa it stands alone, globally it is an envied rarity.
Situated in the western parts of the Eastern Cape, Steytlerville is the home of peace and tranquillity. Here one can rest, relax, refresh yourself and recharge the inner batteries of your soul, while exploring, enjoying yourself and indulging your need for some unusual entertainment.
Steytlerville lies at the entrance to the eastern parts of the 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.
One of the best towns the Karoo has to offer, Steytlerville with its bougainvillea-lined streets and horse-drawn carts is a diamond waiting to be discovered. It comes as no surprise then that the town is home to several South African personalities, as a holiday in this town easily leads to relocation.
Steytlerville is in the centre of the wool and mohair district in the south eastern corner of the Great Karoo and is known for its astonishing variety of semi-desert vegetation which includes dwarf shrubs, tiny succulents, umbrella shaped wild plum trees and ancient cycads.
Steytlerville has been endowed by nature with exceptional beauty and game such as the Kudu and Springbok and various game farms cater for the ecotourist. It is also the home of the Kori Bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird.
Dr A.G. Visser – Poet and Medical Doctor
Dr A.G. Visser lived in Steytlerville during 1909 – 1916. Besides being a medical doctor and poet, Visser was also very musical and conducted the church choir during Sunday morning services. During this time he would quickly slip out to see his patients when the service commenced, and slip back in again just in time to lead the choir in their closing hymn. His one time home in the main street is now declared a National Monument.
Danie Craven – Rugby Legend
Dr Danie Craven or "Dok" has an interesting connection with Steytlerville. It was here where he wooed Beyera Hayward and eventually married her in the Steytlerville Town Hall. Whilst being the Springbok Captain he played a game for Steytlerville against Willowmore. He mentioned it as one of his hardest games ever, seeing that everybody kept telling the players to "give the ball to Craven" and of course, he was drilled into the hard ground playing field by all 15 opponents.
Nobody has made a contribution to rugby of such variety and intensity as Danie Craven did - and nobody will, not with the changed workings of professional rugby.
Craven played for and captained the Springboks when they were at their best and the masters of the rugby world in the thirties. Dok passed away in 1993.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN STEYTLERVILLE
Started in 2003, the flags depict the crests of families who have contributed to the history of Steytlerville and encompass families from all communities. Those families without traditional crests were encouraged to design their own, to identify their unique family clan.
Draaikrans is a rock formation which is over 60m high and over a million years old. It was formed when the Karoo was still at the bottom of the Algoa Sea and the high water temperature allowed the rock to become soft and bendable. As the earths plates moved, so it pushed the rock upwards to form what is today known as Draaikrans.
Valley of Flags
This part of the R329 has been colourfully adorned with flags that have had a historical impact on Steytlerville. The flags were painted by a nearby farmer pre 1994 and updated after South Africa received its new flag.
The Museum was started in 1967, and is a small community run museum which houses the history of settlement in the Steytlerville area. The museum includes clothes, house implements and memorabilia from the turn of the century, and includes much about the history of the town and the surrounding farming communities. The Museum also houses artefacts from the Boer War era.
This museum exhibits farming implements and turn of the century home articles. Most of the implements on display were donations from farmers in the district.
The NG church in Steytlerville holds the record for being the biggest Edwardian-style church in Southern Africa, seating 1200 members. Construction commenced in 1906 and the church was inaugurated in 1907 with an organ consisting of 1046 pipes.The church was built at a cost of £16 000.
Built in 1925, this monument pays homage to the Steytlervillers who died in the First World War between 1914 - 1918; and those who perished during the Second World War. The following names appear on the monument:
J de Wit
The Heroes monument honours those who died fighting for freedom during the apartheid years. Among those honoured are:
Mzwandile Veneress Miggels
Steytlerville offers tourists various accommodation options as well as recreational activities.