Montagu, founded in 1851, lies in a fertile valley between the Keisie and the Kingna rivers, which join at the western extremity of the town. Originally, when the settlement was still called "Agter Cogman's Kloof" ("behind Cogman's Pass"), it was difficult to access. It took many hours to master the tough Cogman's Pass and often the ox wagons and carts were stranded at the kloof. Only in 1877 did the master engineer Thomas Bain build a road and blasted a little tunnel through the mountain. During the Anglo-Boer War the British built a Fort right above this needle eye.
Montagu calls itself the "Gateway to the Klein Karoo". The plateau of the Klein Karoo stretches south of the Swartberg mountains about 300 kilometres to the east up to Oudtshoorn and Uniondale. This area has higher rainfalls than the Great Karoo in the north-east and is noticeably more fertile and greener.
Montagu is a peaceful little country town with numerous well-kept buildings both in the Cape Dutch and Victorian styles. Many artists have chosen Montagu as their domicile and they contribute to the town's special atmosphere.
The main attraction of Montagu is the thermal spa, 3 kilometres from the town centre. The springs were discovered by a trekker who once held his badly injured hand into the naturally hot water and found that, after a few days, it was completely healed so he could continue with his journey.
Montagu has a lot to offer, for instance the many wonderful hiking trails in the surroundings areas. For an insight into the history of the region one should visit the Montagu Museum in Long Street.
Further travel information on attractions and accommodation are to be found on the blue INFO page.
Top left: Cape Dutch building in Long Street. Bottom left: Montagu. Top right: The thermal springs of Montagu. Bottom right: Victorian residence, Bath Street.