Matatiele is situated in the shadow of the Matatiele Mountain in the former ‘no man’s land’ that during the latter part of the 19th century was the home of horse thieves, gun runners and smugglers - something like an African version of the Wild West. This area was once dominated by wetlands and marshes and thus the name, Matatiele - derived from Sesotho - translated ‘the ducks have flown’.

Today the town is essentially a farming community and is also one of the few places in the country where you can find 100% organic red meat from the local farms. The town museum was located in what was initially a garage, an auction room, a Dutch Reformed Church and finally a telephone exchange, before becoming a national monument.

If you’re a biker, a hiker, a fisherman, a birder or someone who just loves the fresh outdoors, then take a trip on the wild side and head to Matat (as the locals call it). Explore breath-taking mountain trails, take in the ancient rock art or get all man vs fish with a big old local trout.


To do in the area: Mehloding Hiking Trail, off-road motorbiking, mountain biking, 4x4 trails, fly-fishing (Matatiele is water-rich with plenty of well stocked farm dams and lakes), Ongeluksnek Nature Reserve, Mountain Lake Nature Reserve, Wilfred Bauer Nature Reserve (see the unique cross donkey and zebra known as a zedonk)

How to get there

Follow the R56 from Middelburg through to Matatiele, (Odometer 510km). Or go via the R58 and R56, (Odometer 657km).
Follow the R56 from Pietermaritzburg through to Matatiele, (Odometer 259km).
Coming from Durban via Port Shepstone on the N2, through to Kokstad and then on to Matatiele, (Odometer 326km).

Getting Around

Self-drive is best especially for one to see and reach all surroundings and activities of Matatiele.

Where to Stay

Resthaven Guesthouse, The Royal Courtyard, De Berg Guesthouse, Upmarket Accommodation and Lala Lapha B&B.

Where to Eat

Expect hearty country fare. A great place for breakfasts or light lunches, the Resthaven Coffee Shop in Main Street is well known for their home-baked cakes and high quality imported Italian-Roasted Coffee Beans. Another option is the Coffeelicious Coffee Shop.


Eastern Cape: Middelburg Karoo, Cradock, Schoombee, Hofmeyr, Venterstad, Steynsburg, Burgersdorp, Molteno, Aliwal North, Queenstown, Lady Grey, Dordrecht, Indwe, Elliot, Barkly East, Rhodes, Ugie, Maclear, Mount Fletcher, Matatiele, Cedarville.
KwaZulu-Natal: Swartberg, Kokstad, Harding, Umzimkulu, Ixopo, Bulwer, Richmond, Baynesfield, Camperdown, Pietermaritzburg.