Klipplaat, Eastern Cape


The old locomotive outside Klipplaat – a reminder of a more glorious past.

If you should ever meet up with Queen Elizabeth II for tea, say, at Buckingham Palace, please ask her if she remembers a little Karoo railway station called Klipplaat. Remind her that she asked the local shopkeeper what brand of toothpaste he stocked.

Way back in 1947 when she was still a princess, the young Elizabeth stopped off at Klipplaat when the Royal Family were on their grand railroad tour of South Africa.

During SA’s golden century of rail travel, Klipplaat was a major junction. At one stage you could hardly move for all the comings and goings of the old steam behemoths heading for Cape Town, Port Elizabeth or up to Graaff-Reinet.

This was of great benefit to the local mohair and wool farmers wanting to ship their products to market, particularly in Port Elizabeth. In fact, there was a minor ostrich boom in the area for a while, and the rail system helped that business along too.

And when the Anglo-Boer War came along, Klipplaat was abuzz with British soldiers, quartermasters and mountains of military gear. Not far away lurked the mounted Boer units, waiting to disrupt this rail traffic any way they could. Hoping, of course, that the supplies on the trains included a case or two of Scotch whisky.

In 1979 the locomotives were phased out in favour of diesel and the little village went into decline. Today, there’s a rusty loco standing outside Klipplaat as a memorial to better days. Bikers and overlanders enjoying the wide landscapes of the Karoo often stop here and pose for photographs with the old train in background.


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10 Responses to Klipplaat, Eastern Cape

  1. henry August 22, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    this is a great article and interesting for me and people of klipplaat thanks.

    • Johann Kotze February 1, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      Very interesting site….do you perhaps have any info and pics on Miller station?…….this would be highly appreciated, as i grew up there as a child…but nowhere on the internet can i find what i’m looking for….many thanks….johannn…

      • Samuel May 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

        I have some pictures that you might like.

  2. George June 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Yes, you bring back good memories….the original owner of Boet Snack Bar used to stay with our family when he intially came to Kipplaat to start his business.

    In this building (which he constructed himself) he started his second business in town.
    Greengrocer , general dealer, fish and chips.

    From Klipplaat to Miller station you go past Humefield station. Between these two stations my father today 85 years old and still going strong was involved in a train accident being the driver of a 19 D locomotive ….. a head-on collision .

    He and the fireman had to jump and survived the crash, so did the train driver and fireman from the other train coming from Oudsthoorn direction.

    I still remember when they brought the recovered the locomotive to town ….a total wreck but God knows the best all staff survived.

    All glory to HIm !!!

    • Chris Marais June 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      Hi George – Thank you for posting this valuable memory. Best wishes, Chris and Julie.

    • Samuel May 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

      You will not believe this. My family stayed in Klipplaat. I was born in Klipplaat in 1933.
      I have pictures of that accident.

      S.G. Kock

  3. Donald Davies July 5, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Firstly thanks for this blog. Here’s a story that a favourite aunt of mine used to tell:
    During the Royal Family’s visit to the Karoo (1947) they passed through Klipplaat twice, perhaps even overnighting at the siding, but I can’t be certain. I always thought their visit had as much to do with Charles Te Water being in London during the War as anything else, and that the Headmaster of Spandau School in Graaff Reinet had different loyalties I was told.
    My grandfather attended Grootfontein College of Agriculture in Middelburg during the early 1920’s. His younger brother was the station master at Willowmore from this period to after the war, and their older sister married a doctor David Rogers who practised in the Cradock area also in the 1920’s. So there is a strong family link to this part of Karoo Space.
    Thanks again. Donald

  4. Donovan November 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    As a young man in a days like today I’m just grateful to come from a place call Klipplaat with so many nice stories to listen to and all the people that have passed on and familes that have left and yet leave us with such great memories. Thank you.

  5. Christo van Eck April 15, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    Hallo daar. Jammer ek pla. Ek wil uitvind of iemand my dalk kan help. Ek is op soek na fotos vd van Eck grafte op Klipplaat. Kan jy dalk uitvind of daar iemand is wat dit dalk het of dalk bereid sal wees om dit vir my te gaan afneem en stuur asb

    • Sharon Outram May 5, 2016 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Christo, we farm 20km away from Klipplaat. We do go into town a few times a month but we are normally in a hurry..going to church or picking up shearers but I will try to do it in due course. If you can just be patient with me, please. Can you give me more detail of the graves you are looking for? Sharon

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