To visit Matjiesfontein is to step back into time. This tiny village, on the fringe of the Great Karoo, was founded in 1884 by legendary railway man, James Douglas Logan. Immerse yourself in living history; life here is a tribute to the early Karoo, the Anglo-Boer War and Queen Victoria’s England.
Matjiesfontein is a bastion of Victoriana. Explore the historic ambience of the famed Lord Milner Hotel, its old world charm, gracious servers, and elegant décor—not to mention discovering its ghost stories. Here, you can dine by candlelight in The Hotel Dining Room, be served by red-jacketed porters, while feasting on local specialities such as Karoo lamb.
There are various other accommodation options; which include, the Olive Schreiner Cottage, where the famous South African author of The Story of an African Farm, lived for a number of years; as well as private suites set by the pool, or along the riverbank, and more.
The sprawling, well established garden is an oasis of green in an otherwise dry and sparse Karoo. This not only attracts visitors looking for relaxation and respite, but also a diversity of birdlife.
At the Laird’s Arms enjoy a pint and a pub lunch in the atmosphere of a bygone era. Stay for the regular honky-tonk played on the piano, delve into Matjiesfontein’s cricketing history and marvel at the antiques.
Another restaurant option is The Coffee House: tuck into freshly baked scones and pastries and light lunches in its courtyard, complete with a burbling fountain.
Though small, Matjiesfontein has plenty of attractions to keep visitors enthralled; from the Marie Rawdon and Transport museums, to the courthouse and jail, the British Army Remount Camp and the old English Bus—which promises the shortest tour on earth around the village to see its sights—and so much more.
Matjiesfontein offers everything that a world-class destination does—yet is wholly unique in the hospitality industry. It’s a place of magic, history and utter relaxation.