The Heerenlogement cave which was used by travelers as overnight accommodation in the 17th and 18th centuries is 25 km from Graafwater on the Vredendal road.
Graafwater lies midway between Clanwilliam and Lamberts Bay and was built as a railway junction in 1910, for the transportation of agricultural products from Clanwilliam and seafood products from Lambert’s Bay. The Heerenlogement (‘gentleman’s lodging’) is a renowned cave found about 25 kilometers from Graafwater on the north road to Vredendal. The walls of this rock shelter were used to carve the names or initials of travelers of the 1700’s who stayed over in the cave and about 170 carvings have been recorded in this rocky ‘visitors book’. An account of the shelter was documented by Cape Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel who passed this way in 1737. He also mentioned a wild fig tree growing out of a cleft at the back of the cave that can be seen to this day. The Heerenlogement has been declared a national monument.
Graafwater lies in the northerly reaches of the Sandveld – a huge, sparsely populated area sandwiched between the West Coast and the Swartland, and adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Other than Leipoldtville, and Klawer further north, Graafwater is the only village for miles around – this is typical of the region where towns are spread far and wide, each surrounded by huge expanses of veld filled with spectacular fynbos, dense stands of indigenous vegetation, hardy bushes and reeds and, in spring, a tapestry of wild flowers.
Low rainfall and poor, sandy soil means that any farms in the area breed mostly sheep and cattle. But the Sandveld also does well for bee farmers, potatoes (the area around Redelinghuys and the Verloren Vallei are regarded as the 'potato store' of the Western Cape), sunflowers and even some wheat on those farms closest to the Swartland.
Graafwater exists mainly as a link on the railway line to Bitterfontein, but the local hotel, now over 100 years old (which advertises itself as 'nothing fancy' but boasts a large dose of West Coast hospitality and neat, clean rooms) does a booming trade with the flower season as people pour into the Sandveld for the spectacle.
In particular there are numerous rosin bushes (Euryops) around Graafwater that are spectacular when in flower.
Graafwater, when translated from the Afrikaans, means 'water from a spade'.

18° 35' 42", -32° 9' 14.4"
Further Reading