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Whether by road or rail, from the East or the West, the journey to the Little Karoo and Matjiesfontein takes the adventurer through breathtaking scenery – enjoy vast mountains, valleys and passes, before experience the immensity and timelessness of the Karoo plain …


“he 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 desert.”


Click on the map to view an enlargement and distances to Cape Town and Johannesburg


Physical Address:
1 Logan Street, Matjiesfontein 6901
Western Cape
South Africa

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.

There are many ways of reach Matjiesfontein: via road, rail, air, coach tour or motorcycles (or a combination of the above). The village is situated 250 very scenic kilometers from Cape Town and around 1,200 kms from Johannesburg on the N1 National highway. For family, adventure travel or organized tours, consider one of the following options:

Matjiesfontein is easily reached using the N1 National highway connecting Cape Town with Johannesburg.

From Cape Town, take the N1 through Paarl, the Huguenot Tunnel, Worcester, Touws River and on towards Laingsburg. The journey takes approximately 2 hrs 30 minutes. The N1 is an uncrowded freeway where comfortable speeds averaging 100 kms per hour are easily maintained. It also has strategically placed rest stops and farm stalls offering petrol, good food, local produce and rest-rooms. Air-conditioning is recommended during the Summer.

The Huguenot Tunnel

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.




Matjiesfontein's railway station forms a regular stop for all passenger trains, including Rovos Rail and Blue Train, between Cape Town and Pretoria. At the start of building by J.D. Logan at Matjiesfontein in 1884, the station was merely a corrugated iron structure built in 1878. The present elegant Victorian building opened in December 1890. Jamieson Raid reformers remained holed up in the cellars in 1896, dutifully supplied with whiskey by Logan – a pair of signed Chinese Vases, a gift from the reformers, bear witness to this heroic episode.

The station now houses the Marie Rawdon Museum and a small Spoornet Museum. The Marie Rawdon museum houses many interesting relics that recount the village’s history and the Boer war. a brick building. Renovated in the recent past, the station reflects the architecture of the Victorian era.


The Blue Train:



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. Weekly, the Blue Train stops to take in the fascination of Matjiesfontein, a perfect diversion for the seasoned traveller.

Useful Contact Numbers:


+27 (0)12 334-8459

Web Site:


+27 (0)12 334-8464



Rovos Rail:

One of the most luxurious 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 to Matjiesfontein.




Web Site:



+27 (0)21 323-6052



Other Trains:

Shosholoza Meyl – Daily passenger service between Cape Town and Johannesburg

The Union Limited – Provides specialised Steam Train Excursions


Telephone (CTP):
Telephone (JHB):

+27 (0)21 405-3871
+27 (0)11 773-2944


+27 (0)21 449 4391



Back to TopY AIR - to Cape Town

A number of international flights land at Cape Town International Airport (22 kms from the city). The nearest domestic airports are Cape Town and George.

All major rental car providers are located at Cape Town International Airport and George Domestic Airport.


Coach & Rail combination Tours:

The Forgotten Route – Train to the Karoo



+27 (0)21 4232 444

Web Site:


Coach Tours & Safaris:


Hylton Ross


Tailormade Tours - by Taga Safaris


+27 (0)21 506-2575


+27 (0)11 465-5678

Web Site:

Web Site:

Windward Tours - Luxury Coach Charters

Specialized Tours



+27 (0)21 425-5440 (24 hrs)


+27 (0)21 425-3259

Web Site:

Web Site:


Cycling Tours & Motorbike Hire:


Harley Davidson Hire - Stellenbosch



+27 (0)21 882-2558


+27 (0)21 531-3274

Web Site:

Web Site:

Bikeabout Cycle Tours

Mike Hopkins Motorcycles & Bicycles


+27 (0)21 531-3274


+27 (0)21 423-8461

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hrough the Passes:

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.

he 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.

·         The 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.


·         The 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 travelers of threatening storms and rising rivers.


·         Towards Cape Town:

Heading south towards Cape Town, even the seasoned traveler will enjoy the drive through the Hex River Valley, flanked by the Hex                River Mountains to the north, rising to 2,49 metres and often snow-capped in winter. Onwards the journey continues through the Huguenot Tunnel, or via the unforgettable Du Toits Pass, to see the Cape Peninsular stretching out before you with the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch winelands in the foreground.

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