train - a speck against the arid landscape - moves slowly across
the horizon, plumes of smoke cutting a swathe through the air.
Before it, lies a wash of colour, an oasis in the surrounding
There are various ways to reach Matjiesfontein
via road, rail, air,
coach tours and motorcycles.
The village is situated 250 kms from Cape
Town and 1 200 kms from Johannesburg
on the N1 national highway. For
family adventure travel, romantic
sightseeing routes or organized tours, consider one of these
Matjiesfontein Village 6901
For more information, do not hesitate to contact
Matjiesfontein is easily reached using the N1
Freeway which connects Cape Town
From Cape Town, take the N1 through Paarl, the Huguenot
Tunnel, Worcester, Touws River and on towards Laingsberg. The
journey lasts approximately 2 hrs 30 minutes. The N1 is an uncrowded
freeway where comfortable speeds averaging 80 kms per hour are easily
maintained. It also has strategically placed rest stops which offer
petrol, food, toilets and telephones.
recommended in summer season
The Huguenot Toll Tunnel, which carries the N1 between Paarl and Worcester,
was opened in March 1988. One of the most
sophisticated tunnels in the world, it cuts through four kilometres
of mountain, reducing the distance over Du Toitskloof
Pass by 11 kms.
price: R16.00 one way
Matjiesfontein's railway station
is a popular stop between Cape Town and Pretoria. Before J.D.
Logan built Matjiesfontein, the station was a corrugated structure
later to be developed into a brick building. Renovated in
the recent past, the station reflects the architecture of
the Victorian era. It is a stop for the famous Rovos Rail
and recently re-commissioned Blue Train.
It houses the Marie
Rawdon Museum and the
|THE BLUE TRAIN INTERIOR
The Blue Train is one of the world's
most luxurious railway operators, and a journey between
Cape Town and Pretoria is often considered the high point
of an overseas visit to South Africa. Accommodation, food,
service and comfort are all equal to those provided by the
best five-star hotels. Twice
weekly, the Blue Train stops to take in the fascination of
Matjiesfontein, a perfect diversion for the seasoned traveller.
Useful Contact Numbers:
One of the most luxurious steam
trains in the world, Rovos Rail's
"Prince of Africa" departs Cape Town on an
historic and epic safari through Africa as far as Dar-es-Salaam
(Zanzibar). Boarding this beautifully restored Edwardian train
promises a journey in the footsteps of such adventurers as
Livingstone, Speke and Stanley - all stopping on their way
at Matjiesfontein to tour the village.
Rovos Rail travels once weekly
|+27 (0)21 323-6052
|Trans Karoo - daily
|+27 (0)21 405-3871
+27 (0)11 773-2944
| The Union Limited
- Special Steam Train Excursions
|+27 (0)21 449 4391
Y AIR - to Cape Town
A number of direct flights from most of the world's capitals land
at Cape Town International Airport
(22 kms from the city). The nearest domestic
airports are Cape Town and George.
Rental cars available at Cape Town
International Airport and George Domestic Airport
|Cycling Tours & Motorbike Hire
|Harley Davidson Hire, Stellenbosch
||+27 (0)21 882-2558
||+27 (0)21 531-3274
|Bikeabout Cycle Tours
||Mike Hopkins Motorcycles &
||+27 (0)21 531-3274
||+27 (0)21 423-8461
gateways to the Great Karoo are littered with history
and stories of outlaws, murderers and ghosts. The two most
intriguing ways into the area are the Old Diamond Way and
the Smuggler's Route.
Old Diamond Way was the route
fortune hunters used to reach the fabulous diamond fields
at Kimberley. Rich in history and spiced with incredible happenings,
it was also the route the regular post coach used, and the
way Cecil John Rhodes travelled
to and from his diamond claims. Many are the farms along the
way where Rhodes is said to have slept and where stories originated
of the magnificent diamonds he always carried with him.
Said to be haunted, Smuggler's Route
meanders through Seweweekspoort Pass.
This was the way brandy smugglers travelled to avoid paying
taxes on their produce. One of the many legendary ghosts in
this pass is a toll-keeper. For many years now, he has been
seen running frantically along the road, swinging his lantern
to warn travellers of threatening storms and rising rivers.
Magnificent passes link the Great Karoo with the Little Karoo.
One of these is the Swartberg Pass,
a tribute the brilliance of renowned road-builder Thomas
Bain, and considered the most spectacular in the world
after the Darjeeling Pass in Asia. Then there are Meiringspoort,
Seweweekspoort and a number
of smaller passes to intrigue the motorist.
Heading south towards Cape Town, one has the immense
pleasure of driving through the Hex
River Valley flanked by the Hex River Mountains
which rise to 2,49 metres and are often snow-capped
in winter. Onwards through (via the Huguenot Tunnel)
or over the unforgettable Du
Toits Pass, then dropping gently down into the
Franschhoek and Stellenbosch