Nieu-Bethesda - place of flowing water, Eastern Cape

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Nieu-Bethesda, 6286, Eastern Cape, South Africa


+27 49 841 1642

Nieu-Bethesda, located at the base of the Sneeuberge in the Eastern Cape, is a historic village with a religious origin, similar to many other towns in the Karoo region. The village, which obtained municipal status in 1886, was established in 1875 as a church town. The name of the village, derived from the Bible (John 5:2–4), signifies "place of flowing water."

With a population of approximately 1540 residents, Nieu Bethesda remains a racially segregated town. The majority of African residents (25.06%) reside in the Kloofroad area of Pienaarsig, while the Coloured (65.19%) and Black African (22%) residents live in Pienaarsig, the former township. The white residents (8.70%) occupy homes along the Gats River that flows through the town.

The town's economy relies on eight commercial farms that provide employment opportunities for locals, as well as various tourism projects such as the Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre, Bethesda Arts Centre, and The Owl House that generate income. Despite the presence of tourism projects, the town lacks ATMs and relies on banking services in Graaff Reinet. The Lettie de Klerk Primary School is the only school in Pienaarsig, and the town has one clinic staffed by a resident nurse.


Prior to arriving in Nieu Bethesda, it is important to note that the town lacks petrol stations, banks, and credit card facilities. It is advised to ensure that your tank and wallet are filled before traveling to the town.