The Ibis Lounge

Bed and Breakfast, Boutique Hotel, Guest House Accommodation Nieu-Bethesda Central, Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape

The Ibis Lounge - Bed and Breakfast Boutique Guesthouse accommodation in Nieu-Bethesda, Karoo, Eastern Cape. Place to stay in Nieu-Bethesda. Sleeps: 6 / No. of Rooms: 3
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Rates from

ZAR 500.00*

per person per night

* Rates are a guide, subject to change. Please confirm final pricing with establishment.

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Call Us On +27 82 442 3174

Stay at The Ibis Lounge in Nieu-Bethesda, Karoo, Eastern Cape offering boutique bed and breakfast guesthouse accommodation in this historic little village.

Has the Karoo’s siren call beckoned you to linger? Now you can rest your weary head here at The Ibis Lounge, in Nieu-Bethesda, with a choice of three accommodation offerings: Karoo room, Amore room and the Happy Room. We offer Bed and Breakfast, or Dinner, Bed and Breakfast.

Some people are drawn to Nieu-Bethesda after reading Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca. Others have heard of Helen Martin’s Owl House. It could also simply be the fact that the Karoo allows weary travellers the opportunity to slip back into the ease of a simpler, less hectic life where they can find their soul connection.

Community spirit is strong here, and so alive and vibrant – it’s like been part of a large, tight-knit family, and Nieu-Bethesda itself has become a small tourism mecca in its own right – with a big heart.

The small village of Nieu Bethesda plays host to the wonderful treasure called The Owl House, which draws thousands of visitors to this dusty little South African town. Often mentioned in the same breath as Nieu Bethesda, the Owl House is one of the primary reasons why visitors stray off the N9 National Road past the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. At a glance, the shuttered home might appear like many others in the region, but then you notice the arch leading into the Camel Yard, and the many cement owls with glass bottle eyes that hold vigil on the boundary.

Weird to some, wonderful to others, the Owl House is a work of outsider art created by Helen Martins between 1945 and 1976. Driven to despair by the dullness of her daily life, she took steps to transform her world with light, colour and texture.

Miss Helen, as she was known by many, was a retiring figure in the village, who employed local labourers, most notably Koos Malgas, to help her construct her Camel Yard which she filled with its many sculptures of bottle-skirted hostesses, mermaids, camels and pilgrims, all journeying to a mystical east.

Miss Helen’s imagination transformed humble materials such as cement, glass, mirrors and wire into a secret, magical world that she shared with few, drawing upon Bible stories, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Orient, and everyday objects – all of which blended to create a personal cosmology.
Her Owl House touched the lives of many while she was alive, even inspiring the playwright Athol Fugard to pen the much-loved play, The Road to Mecca, which was later made into a film.


Address:Martin Street
Town / City:Nieu-Bethesda
Province:Eastern Cape
GPS:-31.868453° S, 24.554196° E


  • Nieu Bethesda is accessed by two roads from the N9.
  • The recommended road is a partially tarred road 27km north of Graaff-Reinet on the N9. This has 25km of tar and 5 kms of dirt).
  • The other is a good gravel road 60km south of Middleburg, at Bethesda Road railway siding . This is 37km of dirt road.
  • Approaching the village on the recommended road you reach a fork (with a lot of sign posts);
  • Take the right fork across the paved bridge.
  • This will lead you into Martin Street.
  • The Ibis Lounge is the 2nd building on the right after the stop street.

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Cell Phone: +27 82 442 3174


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Additional Facts

Languages Spoken:
  • English
  • Afrikaans
GPS Co-ordinates:
Latitude: -31.868453° S
Longitude: 24.554196° E
Children Policy:

No children under 12

Pet Policy:

No pets

Smoking Policy:

No smoking

Check In / Out Times:
Check In: 14:00
Check Out: 11:00
Payment Methods Accepted:
  • Cash
  • EFT
  • Visa
  • Mastercard