Tulbagh to Matjiesfontein via the backroads

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The days in Tulbagh had been magical – the weather was hot, the skies were clear, the scenery was magnificent – but we had an itinerary to follow, and so we set off early in the morning to drive the 168 kms to Matjiesfontein, avoiding the N1 as much as possible.

Our first treat was Michell’s Pass, planned by Charles Michell, the Surveyor General for the Cape Colony, to link Cape Town, Wellington, and Tulbagh with the interior. It was built in 1848-50 by Andrew Geddes Bains.

Michell's Pass, driving from Tulbagh to Ceres
Michell’s Pass, driving from Tulbagh to Ceres

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As we popped out of the pass into Ceresready for refreshment, Deja Brew beckoned and we drew in for a very good breakfast, and interesting chat with the owner.

We were now in the Warm Bokkeveld and it felt and looked quite different from the Tulbagh Valley. We followed the R46 out of Ceres and then turned off on to a dirt road, the Bo Swaarmoed Road, to cut off a corner before rejoining the R46 and heading for the N1.

The R46 out of Ceres
The R46 out of Ceres

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Rejoining the R46
Rejoining the R46

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By the time we reached Touws Rivier we were clearly on the edge of the Great Karoo. The town used to be an important railway junction and marshalling yard, but I found it a sad sight today. We didn’t linger and set off again on the N1 towards Matjiesfontein.

Touws River train station
Touws River train station
Touws River train station
Touws River train station
N1 between Touws River & Matjiesfontein
N1 between Touws River & Matjiesfontein

A curious monument on a hillside caught my eye, we turned off the road, and found the Matjiesfontein graveyard – post to follow.

The Matjiesfontein graveyard
The Matjiesfontein graveyard

And finally we were in Matjiesfontein itself and booked into our chalet in the Motel.

The Matjiesfontein Motel
The Matjiesfontein Motel

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