Monday, March 10, 2014

Cradock Tuishuise

 

I often wonder how many people who have visited Cradock would never have stayed over in the town if it wasn't for the Tuishuise.  The Tuishuise on Market Square was built between 1840 and 1870 and housed artisans like harness makers, wheelwrights, smithies and carpenters who made a living from the horses, oxen and wagons passing through on their way north.  Unfortunately by the early 1900's oxen and wagons where replaced by trains and cars and the artisans started to loose their livelihood.  The reason the houses never really changed in style was because the people living there became too poor to knock them down and change them.  In the early 1980's Sandra Antrobus, a local farmer's wife with a keen interest in antiques and historic buildings bought a couple of the old houses, restored them and started renting them out to visitors and tourists.


Today those handful of houses has grown to 30 tuishuise and a hotel.  The hotel on the corner of Market Street right next to the Tuishuise is the Victoria (Manor) Hotel which was built in 1840 and is one of the oldest surviving hotels in South Africa.  The hotel was graced by many legendary South African figures like Cecil John Rhodes and Olive Schreiner back in the days.  Today visitors can either stay in the hotel or one of the refurbished Karoo cottages (or Tuishuise) with personal hospitality like only found in small towns.  Die Tuishuise are all furnished with antique furniture yet have all the amenities one would need from a self catering establishment.  Meals, both dinner and breakfast, can be enjoyed in the hotel, where one of the local farmers used to ride his horse right up to the bar for his daily knerts.  The horse by the way got served beer in a hubcap.


I've now had the privilege (and it really is a privilege) to stay at Tuishuise twice, once with the family and once while on business.  Its a great spot to just chill for a day or two while exploring Cradock and it's surrounds.  Cradock has a number of historic and natural attractions to enjoy with the highlight being the Mountain Zebra National Park just outside the town.  Plus the town has a couple of Geocaches to find, on being right on Market Street.

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