Lying in the heart of South Africa’s arid desert area, Matjiesfontein falls within the Great Karoo, an area defined sharply by the mountains that surround it and is split from the Klein Karoo by the Swartberg Mountain Range.
The Karoo is typified by its desert landscapes, feather palaces and Victorian buildings scattered across its small towns. In and around Matjiesfontein lies plenty to discover for travellers:
Tankwa Karoo National Park
An ideal destination for stargazing and 4x4 trails, this small national park is named after the Tankwa River that cuts through it. The park has grown in size in recent years with the addition of high biodiversity sections of lands, and now covers over 140 000-hectares in area. Other than game viewing and bird watching, the Tankwa Karoo National Park has a number of offroads tracks for 4x4 enthusiasts.
Centred around the ostrich farming community, Oudtshoorn has become popular as an alternative destination with travellers to the Karoo. The historical feather palaces were built by past ostrich farmers and are characterised by their opulent finishes and grandiose architecture. Visitors to Oudtshoorn can visit a working ostrich farm, shop for ostrich products in town and enjoy galleries and eateries dotted in and around the area.
Valley of Desolation
Dropping a steep 120 metres to the floor of the Valley of Desolation, these dolerite cliffs draw in travellers each year looking to experience the solitude and magnificence of the area. Panoramic viewpoints scattered across the tops of the sheer cliffs provide the ideal vantage point to admire the full scape of this natural wonder. Situated within the Camdeboo National Park, there are picnic sites, a plethora of birdlife and even endangered Mountain Zebra to see.
A Route 62 sojourn
Linking tourists attractions from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth through the Karoo Heartland, Route 62 presents some of the well-known things to do in the Karoo and uncovers hidden galleries, restaurants and eclectic personalities in the area. These activities can be strung out for a few days, or handpicked to fill out a busy day out.