The train to Matjiesfontein

The most direct route from Cape Town to the small Northern Cape town of Sutherland is along the N1 national road, until you reach the turn-off to the village of Matjiesfontein. If you turn left, the R354 will take you northwards to Sutherland. If you turn right, the road will lead you into the heart of the village:

“Matjiesfontein was founded in 1884 by the legendary and energetic Scottish railwayman James Douglas Logan. The Village became established as a fashionable Victorian health spa, and is now well known for its splendid historical buildings and a peace and timelessness that is rare.” (

For us, this beautiful little place has always been associated with the song “Die Trein na Matjiesfontein” (The Train to Matjiesfontein) by much-loved South African singer, Sonja Herholdt. In 2007, we were part of a group of lucky travelers who undertook an unforgettable journeyby train – to the village, with Sonja. We stayed at the sumptuous Lord Milner Hotel, explored the entire village on foot, and were treated to a very special birthday concert by Sonja.

When I realised that our route to Sutherland would take us past Matjiesfontein, we just had to stop in the village for a cup of tea. And, of course, we wanted to show the place to our visitor from Nova Scotia, Miss Flat Kathy. As luck would have it, the luxurious Blue Train was parked at the station.


2 thoughts on “The train to Matjiesfontein

    • Yes, the Blue Train is a very well-known luxury train that travels between Cape Town and Pretoria – it is seriously expensive and ultra-luxurious: the Luxury Double rate per person sharing is almost R20,000, for a one-way trip, though it does include meals and some off-train excursions. Way outside our league, sadly. But it must be a pretty darn amazing experience! Flat Kathy would have gladly hopped aboard!

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