The town, picturesquely situated among the foothills of the Sneeuberg mountains, was started as an outpost of white civilisation in a barren and untamed country, and by the middle of the 19th century had grown to be the most important trading centre in the interior. The area around the town is now famous for its sheep farming, and the quality of its wool and mutton are well known. Karoo Lamb has gained the reputation as being some of the finest in the world.
A focal point in the town is the Dutch Reform Church. Built in 1886, it was modelled on Salisbury Cathedral in England. Built using local sandstone, it is considered to be one of the best examples of gothic architecture in the whole of South Africa.
The towns first residency was created to be the seat of the then Dutch authority of the Cape or "drostdy". Originally built in 1786, it was replaced in 1804 by the building we can see today. It underwent a major restoration in 1977 and is now the Drostdy Hotel. Part of today's hotel is Stretch's Court, a group of small houses that were built in the 19th century to house freed slaves.
Reinet House, a good example of Cape Dutch architecture, was originally a parsonage for the Dutch Reformed Church. Build between 1806 and 1812, in 1947 it was bought by the Graaff-
A few kilometres north west of Graaf-