Makadas #makadas

A peek into South African rail history.


The name of a rural rail service, first seen between Hutchinson and Calvinia in the Great Karoo desert of South Africa in 1917.

A second Makadas was implemented from 1925-1982 between Touwsriver and Ladismith.

There is much speculation about the origins of the name and, as there is no proof either way, the topic is shelved here. Opinions are just that.

An honourable endeauvour is the revival of rail travel in South Africa. There are various heritage trains and there is interest in reviving the Touwsriver – Ladismith Makadas. Steam trains are revived, a prime example would be

Photo: Blackie, South Africa’s first steam locomotive circa 1859

The railway line from Cape Town reached Worcester in 1876, Touws River, then known as Montague Road, in 1877 and Matjiesfontein in 1878.