Matjiesfontein located in the Kleine Karoo, the land of thirst, is a place where you can go back in time. It is a Victorian village which was totally restored in 1970 and is now declared a national monument. In fact, we cannot speak of a village, because it is more a beautiful street.
It was once founded in 1884 as a water filling station for steam locomotives that started the long journey from here through the dry plains of South Africa. And of course there are always enterprising people who do see commercial activities in this and so the Scot James Logan ended up in Matjiesfontein and founded the Lord Milner Hotel. Here the passengers of the passing trains could enjoy a good meal and possibly spend the night there.
All of that has not changed and luxury train companies such as Blue Train and Rovos Rail give their passengers the chance to discover this village. The Shosholoza Meyl makes a short stop here, very suitable for people who want to stay here for the weekend.
Day trippers are also always welcome and the hotel is worth a visit, you are most welcome in the Royal Lounge for a cup of coffee or a drink. If you want to have lunch or dinner, the specialty here has been ‘the Karoo Lamb Curry’ for years, and while enjoying your meal, your attention is quickly diverted to the historic ambiance and antiques of the Victorian era.
A day is actually too short to recover in this particularly healthy climate, where the air is “dry like good Champagne”. A good reason for an overnight stay!
During your walk through the fairy-tale street, you will undoubtedly come across the ‘Shell petrol station’ of 1960 that is still working, with the oldest building in Matjiesfontein behind it; The Coffee House or “Lossieshuis”. This accommodation is suitable for the whole family and has a garden where you can sit in the warm sunshine with a glass of fresh lemon lemonade.
The post office is still in operation, in addition to receiving and sending your mail, they also have a souvenir shop where local products and trinkets from the village are sold.
If you are not in transit and do not feel like making the journey by car, you can take the train from Cape Town to Matjiesfontein and watch the endless, beautiful South African landscape pass you by. Spend a night at the Lord Milner Hotel and go back in time!