Things to Do: Stone Folk of Ongeluksloot on Doornberg Farm

Stone Folk of Ongeluksloot (1)
Things to Do: Stone Folk of Ongeluksloot on Doornberg Farm


Nieu Bethesda, on Doornberg farm


Nestled close to Nieu Bethesda, on the sprawling Doornberg farm, is a captivating outdoor installation that seamlessly fuses nature and art amidst the awe-inspiring Karoo landscape—the Stone Folk of Ongeluksloot.

Artistry in Stone
Crafted by the skilled hands of artist Ryno Greeff, these life-sized rock sculptures are strategically positioned to create a mesmerizing interplay between the natural surroundings and human artistry. The sculptures, reminiscent of figures in Namibia's Kaokoland and Marcella de Boom's "The Dance" outside Loxton, exude a sense of organic emergence from the earth, showcasing Greeff's masterful artistry and deep connection to the locale.

Exploring the Stone Folk Trail
To start your artistic adventure, you need to travel approximately 7 km outside Nieu Bethesda. As you pass through the welcoming farm gate adorned with the name "Ongeluksloot," you should continue on the winding track until you reach its conclusion. Once there, park your vehicle and continue on foot. Follow the well-marked footpath, which will guide you past the initial stone figure standing sentinel on your right.

Dynamic Perspectives
The circular route, spanning less than 1 km, invites you to immerse yourself in the landscape, strategically positioning you to witness the Stone Folk silhouetted against the expansive sky. As you wander, observe the dynamic perspectives of each sculpture, revealing themselves at times and seamlessly blending into the valley at others, creating an intriguing hide-and-seek with the observer.

An Ever-Growing Landscape
Currently, ten stone sculptures grace the landscape, with the possibility of more to come. Traverse the circular footpath, marked by stone cairns, and let the Stone Folk unveil themselves against the vast Karoo sky. Whether they stand revealed or elusive, each moment with the Stone Folk is a unique exploration of art and nature, inviting you to connect with the land's rhythm and the artist's creativity.

More about Nieu Bethesda
Nieu Bethesda, a quaint village nestled in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offers a serene escape amid the vast expanse of the Great Karoo. Renowned for its isolation, the village boasts a tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal retreat from urban life. At its heart lies the famous Owl House, an enchanting folk art environment crafted by the reclusive artist Helen Martins. This masterpiece showcases a captivating collection of sculptures, including whimsical owls, camels, and other figures, all intricately fashioned from cement and glass.

Surrounded by the breathtaking Karoo landscape with its arid plains and dramatic hills, Nieu Bethesda is a gateway to the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, known for its well-preserved Cape Dutch architecture. The village is part of the Karoo Dark Sky Reserve, offering a celestial spectacle for stargazing enthusiasts. The nearby Compassberg, the highest peak in the Sneeuberg mountain range, invites adventurers to hike its slopes for panoramic views.

Nieu Bethesda's charm extends beyond its natural beauty, featuring a culinary experience of traditional Karoo dishes, an intriguing display of 200-million-year-old fossilised reptile footprints, and a thriving artistic community. With its unique blend of art, culture, and tranquillity, Nieu Bethesda beckons those in search of a captivating haven.

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