Province: Western Cape
Coordinates:33°13′S 20°35′E
Area:1.22 km2
Municipality: Laingsburg


The town of Matjiesfontein is fondly known as “The Grand Duchess of the Karoo”, and was established in 1884. It is placed along the railway line which runs from Cape Town to Kimberly and on to Johannesburg which was commissioned by John Molteno Prime Minister of the Cape. The station was built in 1878 but began just as a small farm and depot.
The town was established by James Douglas Logan, who was a young Scottish gentleman who arrived in South Africa in 1877 having been shipwrecked in Simons Bay. He was employed as a porter at the new Cape Town station and he worked his way up the Cape Railway Company becoming superintendent at Touwsriver. He later decided to buy a farm between Touws River and Matjiesfontein which he called Tweedside. He sunk boreholes and planted fruit trees. The exercise revealed an abundant subterranean water supply, He then. constructed water pipes to transport water to the village He also established his own private railway station on the farm to enable efficient transportation of fruit.
In 1899 James Logan built the Milner Hotel. The hotel was used in the early part of the Anglo-Boer War as a military hospital. 10 000 troops were stationed in and around Matjiesfontein.
With Logan’s forward-thinking Matjiesfontein became the first village in South Africa to boast both Electric street lights and water-borne sewerage.
James Logan had decided to settle in the area because of his weak chest. The dry air in the Karoo had some benefits. The village later developed as a fashionable health spa where patients were helped with recuperation from respiratory diseases soon the facility hosted guests from all over the world.
Another innovation from Logan was the mineral water factory where lemonade, ginger ale, and soda were produced for thirsty locals and travelers.
. James Logan, the founder of Matjiesfontein, died in 1920 and is buried in a little cemetery 10 kilometers from the town.

The postcode for Matjiesfontein is 6901 (Boxes only)

Things to see and do in Matjiesfontein

  • Mountain Biking:  a 20km mountain biking track with beautiful views of the Witteberg Mountains.
  • Bus Tour Take a historical tour around Matjiesfontein in an old red double-decker London bus. Be summoned to dinner by trumpet, soak up the history in the Transport or Victorian museums, take in the uniqueness of the Karoo with veld walks, hikes and mountain bikes, visit the Boer War British Army remount encampment site (c.1900) nearby,
  • StargazingThe Great Karoo region has very clear skies,that offer spectacular star-gazing
  • Old post office Olive Schreiner posted her numerous letters from this PO. Now a gift shop
  • Visit the Transport museum
  • Visit the Victorian museum
  • Take a free  guided walking tour with Voice Map
  • The pink church- Originally the school and concert hall
  • The cricket pitch- The first official game played at the opening of the waterworks in November 1889
  • The old bank building The African Banking Corporation opened chambers here in June 1897
  • Courthouse- The 1901 trial and conviction  Boer hero General Gideon Scheepers took place here
  • Flourmill and mineral waterworks- Steam locomotives needed 300l of water and 75kgs of coal for every km traveled that is over 250,000l of water just to cross the Karoo!
  • British Army remount camp- In front of the railway station
  • Wind farm
  • Turck se pas


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Useful Numbers

  • Police: Laingsberg 023 551 8200
  • Municipality; 023 551 1019
  • Traffic department: 023 551 1021
  • Fire: Laingsberg 023 551 1019
  • Water: 023 551 1019
  • Electricity: 023 551 1019
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; post agency 023 551 3002
  • Library: 023 551 1019
  • Closest hospital; Laingsberg clinic 023 551 1390
  • SPCA: Laingsberg diere in nood 0827305597/071 419 5977/0840750241
  • Schools: Matjiesfontein LB primary school 023 561 3027
  • Museums; Marie Rawdon museum; 023 561 3011
    Transport museum; 023 561 3011[/vc_column_text]

Local Listings