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.
Lord Milner Hotel Accommodation: Douglas Cottage:
The historic Douglas Cottages are located at the back of the main hotel building. These rooms have their own veranda overlooking the hotel’s back garden. The verandas are shared by two rooms each and are perfect for friends and family travelling together, and share a passage between the rooms` entrance doors.
Both double and twin bedrooms are available and all rooms have en-suite bathrooms with a shower over bath, hand-shower and bath or shower only. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided in each room.
The Olive Schreiner Cottage:
The Olive Schreiner Cottage, named after the famed South African author who wrote The Story of an African Farm, is a luxury two-person cottage on Logan Street, the historic main street of Matjiesfontein. The cottage is situated next to the Post Office and offers a bedroom with en-suite bathroom including both a bath and shower, and the classically furnished Schreiner lounge
Olive Schreiner — one of the first voices of literature and feminism in South Africa—lived here for a number of years. Today, her cottage is a landmark in the village. It has also been reported that venerated author, Rudyard Kipling, on his first journey to the Cape, made a special journey specifically to visit her here.
The Lord Milner is a graded three-star heritage site hotel and offers 15 classically furnished historic standard double rooms, and historic luxury and single rooms. Take a step back in time, to hear history’s palpable heartbeat—while the rooms have been tastefully updated in terms of linen and bathroom facilities—the experience will take you back to the Karoo of old.
The hotel was named for Lord Alfred Milner, who was the governor of the Cape during The South African War (Anglo-Boer War). The gracious grand dame was completed in 1899, and shortly thereafter served as the Headquarters of the Cape Western Command.
At The Lord Milner Hotel, historic ambience, old world service and classic comfort combine.
The Reston Villa has a distinctly Mediterranean atmosphere with its large shuttered doors opening onto a private terrace, shaded by palm trees and bougainvillea.
Four large suites provide superior accommodation, set within their own garden away from, but close to, the main hotel. The ground floor bedrooms have shuttered French doors opening onto their own verandas.
Reston Villa was once occupied by James Logan`s son (also James), his wife and two stepchildren.
The Old Museum Suite:
The Old Museum Suite is a classic historic cottage on Logan Street, close to the hotel and next to the Laird’s Arms, this suite offers three bedrooms sleeping up to six people, with two bathrooms, each with bath and shower.
The Swimming Pool Suite:
The swimming pool—dug out of a stone basin—is set amid a lush garden; a fertile desert oasis that attracts diverse birdlife.
The Swimming Pool Suite offers two luxury bedrooms, opening onto a private courtyard patio with access to a swimming pool and a wooden terrace overlooking the Monument River.
The suite is located in the hotel gardens on the riverbank terrace next to the Traveller`s Chapel, and caters for up to four people, minimum two persons sharing.
Lord Milner Hotel Restaurant:
The Dining Room at The Lord Milner Hotel has been serving its guests for the last 120 years, and boasts the same historic ambience found throughout Matjiesfontein. Dine in a Victorian setting filled with period antiques and let the red-jacketed porters welcome you and offer a selection of fine wines from across the Western Cape region.
It’s here our head chef prepares a unique and contemporary take on many of South Africa’s traditional dishes, including Karoo springbok and lamb sourced from the local district.
Right next door to the Lord Milner Hotel is The Laird`s Arms. Enjoy a quiet pint or pub lunch in the historic, saloon-like atmosphere.
Pub lunches are served daily between 12:00 and 14:30.
- The Old Post Office
- Pink Church
- Historic Cricket Pitch
- Court House and Jail
- Flourmill and Mineral Waterworks
- The Railway Station
- The Travellers Chapel
- The Old Bank Building
- British Army Remount Camp