Matjiesfontein, Western Cape, South Africa
Matjiesfontein is an almost insignificant little town that is quite easy to miss. It is situated about 30 kilometres from the town of Laingsburg just off the N1, and is almost a living museum. The town developed from a railway siding. Lodging and restaurants sprung up to support the steady stream of travellers heading towards the diamond fields of Kimberley.
Matjiesfontein has a rich and fascinating history, which visitors will find very interesting and insightful. In 1884 James Logan purchased a piece of land at 'a place called Matjiesfontein', an insignificant railway halt situated in the depths of the Karoo. James Logan saw the potential of this charming little halt and started planting trees; a garden and built his own still surviving place of residence, Tweedside Lodge.
By the mid to late 19th Century, it became a fashionable spa resort, with the likes of Cecil John Rhodes, Winston Churchill and Oliver Schreiner making regular visits. Visitors to the town can even visit her cottage, a landmark in the village.
Matjiesfontein might be quite isolated, but is definitely a worthwhile stopover after a long drive in the N1. Accommodation options are colourful and unique and the tiny village is quite fun to explore. Matjiesfontein is known for its magnificent flora, fauna and historical buildings. The weather of Matjiesfontein is also ideal for walks, hiking and cycling. Matjiesfontein is situated about 250 kilometres from Cape Town.