The Owl House








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.


Visit the Museum & Gift Shop

Visit the Owl House Gift Shop in the Helen Martins Museum in Nieu-Bethesda for everything from pillows, bags, shoes, watches, earrings and mugs as well as literature related to the Owl House. The Owl House Gift Shop is an attractive addition to the Owl House and makes the visit even more interesting and enjoyable.

Make sure to visit the shop to find local arts and crafts, literature and photos of the Owl House on your next visit.


Tickets may be purchased at the visitors’ centre entrance in Martin Street and cost R60 for the Owl House only, and R90 for a combined ticket to see both the Owl House and Kitching Fossil Centre.

Special tariffs are available for groups.

Payment Options

Due to COVID-19, only Visa / Mastercards are currently accepted.

Pet Friendly

Contact us

Contact Details

Fulvio De Stefanis – Chairman 2021
049  841 1733



Physical Address

Martins Street
Nieu – Bethesda




Covid Hours as of 1 June 2021
Sunday – Thursday
08h00 – 13h00
Friday & Saturday
08h00 – 17h00
Check our website for updates.




See annual events & festivals, workshops, retreats, exhibitions, and classes on offer in Nieu-Bethesda.

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