Loganda Karoo Lodge offers weary travellers the perfect stop-over on their journey through the Karoo and is less than two hours drive from Cape Town. The lodge provides a perfect getaway from busy city life.
History of Loganda
The town was granted municipal status in 1962. With the closing of the Ladismith branch in 1981 and the opening of the Hex River Tunnel in 1989, the importance of Touws River as a depot diminished.
Touws River is known among steam-locomotive enthusiasts for its steam-engine graveyard. The South African Railways Class 23 locomotive plighted in the municipal gardens was designed in 1938 as a general-utility locomotive. When these were placed in service on the Touws River-Beaufort West and De Aar-Klerksdorp section, they formed the bulk of the motive power. With the simultaneous introduction of the Class 25 and Class 25NC, and the electrification of section of the Cape main line, many of the Class 23 locomotives were transferred to Bloemfontein and Kroonstad.
Another point of interest in this area is the site of the so-called Loganda pillars, which were used for observing the transit of Venus in 1882. The British sent expeditions to seven countries to do timed contact observations. The South Africans went to Touws River (then still Montagu Road), bringing with them several instruments.
James Logan, later the founder of Matjiesfontein, was at Montagu Road when the British expedition, consisting of astronomers A. Marth and C.A. Stevens, assisted by Corporal J. Thornton, arrived to observe the planet’s transit. They selected a site close to the station and had sufficient time to build two concrete piers to support their telescopes. When they later departed, they left behind these hand-inscribed structures.
The 1882 transit was observed at the Royal Observatory in Cape Town by astronomer Sir David Gill, at Aberdeen by staff of the Royal Observatory, at Touws River by the British expedition party and at Wellington by the Americans.
A few years later on, Logan bought the plot of land on which the piers stood, and in 1902 build the Douglas Hotel there. Thus the piers ended up in the courtyard of the hotel complex. By the time Logan passed away in 1920, another hotel bearing his name, the Logan, had appeared. The piers were proclaimed a national monument in 1938, surviving the demolition of the main part of the hotel in 1982.