On the way to the Northern Cape we stopped at Matjiesfontein in the Karoo. A tiny Victorian village with a rich history.
The village was founded by James Douglas Logan in 1884. He was a dynamic and unorthodoxed man. Even his arrival in South Africa was unusual. Shipwrecked near Simonstown on his way to Australia he walked to Cape Town and was hired as a porter at the new Cape Town Railway Station. He managed to become station master at Cape Town and later District Superintendent in the Touws River area. There he resigned from the railways and bought his first hotel in Touws River.
When the opportunity arose to acquire a tin-shed and a huge area of land for just 400 pounds, he seized it very quickly. Why? Simply because it had a railway running through it! He built his own still-surviving residence, Tweedside Lodge and established the Lord Milner Hotel.
When Colonel Schermbrucker declared that he had made a paradise in the desert, Logan modestly replied that “it was not that he had done so much in the Karoo but that others had done so little“.
The village was restored in 1970 and declared a National Historic Monument.
The Lord Milner (done with Rotring pen)
Through the Karoo
Where we came from and where we’re going…