Matjiesfontein, Western Cape, South Africa

This almost insignificant little town is easy to miss. Situated about 30km from the Cape town of Laingsburg, just off the N1, it is almost a living museum.

The town grew out of a railway siding; lodging and eating establishments sprung up to serve the steady stream of travellers heading towards the diamond fields at Kimberley.

Matjiesfontein has a rich history, which visitors will find very interesting. In 1884 James Logan, purchased land at 'a place called Matjesfontein', an insignificant railway halt in the depths of the Karoo.

James Logan saw the potential of this remote Matjesfontein halt and planted trees, a garden and built his own still-surviving residence, Tweedside Lodge. Visitors who walk through the streets and admire the buildings of Matjiesfontein can feel the history emanating from this small town.

By the mid to late 19th century it had become quite a fashionable spa resort and the likes of Cecil John Rhodes, Winston Churchill and Oliver Schreiner holidayed there. Visitors to Matjiesfontein can even visit her cottage, which is a landmark in the village.

Matjiesfontein is certainly a worthwhile place to stopover if driving the long N1, the accommodation options are quite characterful and the tiny hamlet is fun to explore.

The stunning fauna and flora and historical buildings form an important part of Matjiesfontein. The ideal weather of Matjiesfontein also lends itself to long walks, hiking, cycling and other sports activities that visitors can enjoy.

This little town enjoys sunshine most of the year, where the summers are dry and warm and the winters are dry and crisp. Matjiesfontein is about 250km from Cape Town.