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Great Karoo

Travel Information

The village lies 250 kms north-east of Cape Town on the N1. The turn-off cannot be missed.

Matjiesfontein is still a popular stop-over for train passengers and motorists alike. At the impressive Lord Milner hotel bar, crafted from solid wood, you can always get an icecold beer. It is also recommendable to spend the night in this historical luxury hotel, however, legend has it that ghosts rove around at night. Fortunately jolly ones. At times people hear laughing and the sound of billiard balls in empty rooms. For further details contact the hotel bar.

Matjiesfontein Transport MuseumThe Matjiesfontein Museum in the station building is open daily from 9 to 5 o'clock. The Transport Museum at the end of the village behind the Lord Milner Hotel is new and here you can see a collection of vintage cars, matching the historic pump station where they still sell petrol. Furthermore there is a coffeeshop, a restaurant and a well assorted souvenir shop in the old post office building.

The luxury Blue Train and Rovos Rail each stop over at Matjiesfontein for one or two hours. The Blue Train comes on mondays, wednesdays and fridays at 4.30 pm, the Rovos steamtrain on sundays at 8 am and on mondays at 6 pm.
Sutherland Observatory
The R354 to Sutherland turns off the N1 in Matjiesfontein. Near the remote, in winter, icy cold, Karoo Highland village lies South Africa's "Gateway to the Universe". The Sutherland Observatory houses the biggest telescope in the southern hemisphere and is able to focus on distant stars, galaxies and quasars, billions of times too faint to see with the naked eye - as faint as a candle flame burns from a distance on the moon.

Sutherland TelescopeThe 110 kms long road from Matjiesfontein is tarred. This detour is, however, worthwhile only on wednesdays, thursdays and saturdays, when the observatory is open for visitors (2:30 to 4:30 pm) or if you plan to stay overnight (accommodation is available).
Address: Sutherland Observatory, PO Box 25, Sutherland 6920, South Africa. Tel: (023) 5711205 / Fax: (023) 5711413. Email: Bookings through the Tourism Office: Tel 023-5711265.

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