(OUT OF TOWN)
NAMES GIVEN TO DRIFTS OF MEIRINGSPOORT
1. SPOOKDRIF (GHOST DRIFT):
A supernatural light, in the form of a ball of fire was seen at this drift.
2. SKANSDRIF (DYKE DRIFT):
Stone ramparts are often built in the riverbed to keep storm water from flooding fields. The first primitive ramparts were frequently washed away, but now a more effective method envelopes the stones in a steel mesh.
3. DAMDRIF (DAM DRIFT):
Immediately upstream from this ford was a large waterhole. It was very deceptive, especially to strangers and vehicles were frequently bogged down. Just to the west of the riverbank, the Centenary Monument was erected. At the next drift on the old road there was a sharp bend, known as Kantoordraai (Office Corner) where many vehicles collided, resulting in several court (office) cases.
4. BOESMANSDRIF (BUSHMAN’S DRIFT):
Just beyond this place, to the west, there are broad, deep clefts in the rocks, where Bushmen lived. As late as 1965 their artefacts were still be found. Today this area is overgrown by wild fig trees.
5. SKELMKLOOFDRIF (HIDDENRAVINE DRIFT):
On the eastern side of this drift there is a well-hidden ravine. From here water trickles down the rock face into the Groot River. There is a legend that layabouts (in Afrikaans “skelms”) living in this ravine stole Petrus Meiring’s sheep.
6. AALWYNDRIF (ALOE DRIFT):
Against the north face of the cliff overhanging this ford there are beautiful mountains aloes (Aloe giganticus), which bloom from July to September. In the days of itinerant traders these aloes grew so densely that a man stopped here to tap and boil the sap, which they than sold as a much sought –after medicine.
7. NOOIENSBOOMDRIF (MAIDEN’S TREES DRIFT):
This name originated from the two big Kiepersol trees (maiden trees) that grew on either side of the road, their branches intertwining. Between this ford and the next there is a peaceful lay-by with the expressive name “baboon’s waterfall” (bobbejaan – waterval).
8. STEWELDRIF (BOOT DRIFT):
Tradition has it that Petrus Meiring’s wagoner’s boots were washed away here, causing him to return home for another pair. Dubbeldrif (Double Drift) disappeared with the building of the tarred road. Here Roy Petersen raised the surface of the road five metres above its old bed, gutting out Double Drift. However, the name has been transferred to the bend, now known as Dubbeledrif se Draai (Double Drift Corner). At this stage a beautifully paved picnic site is very popular. A little further on, to the east, is the Skelmwaterval (Secret Waterfall), to be seen after good rains in the mountains.
9. PERSKEBOOMDRIF (PEACH TREE DRIFT):
Once a few peach trees grew at this ford, probably from pips discarded by passers-by. According to Ryk Meiring, the baboons were the only ones who ate the fruit. These trees have now vanished. But the name remains.
10. SANDDRIF (SAND DRIFT):
Obstructions caused by sandbanks frequently occurred at Sanddrift. In 1948 the first concrete causeway was built here. A little further on, on the western side, is the well-known “Herrieklip” (Herrie’s Stone).
11. HERRIE SE DRIF OR NAGASDRIF (HERRIE’S OR NAGAS’DRIFT):
This drift, just beyond Herrie’s stone, was first known as Nagga’s Drift named after Nagas, the chief of a Bushman tribe that lived higher up in the deep recesses. After 1929, when Herrie had been chiselled into the stone, the change of name came naturally.
12. WITPERDEDRIF OR RABBI SE DRIF (WHITE HORSE OR RABBI’S DRIFT):
A rabbi was washed downriver here with his horses and cart. History does not tell what happened to the rabbi. According to Ryk Meiring, all that was ever found were his coat and religious vestments. Another version is that the name owes its origin to the drowning of two white horses during the 1915 flood.
13. OU TOLDRIF (THE OLD TOLL DRIFT):
Although the old Toll-house has vanished, its name remains.
14. WADRIF (WAGON DRIFT):
Several wagons were washed away at this point. To the west of the ford is a smoke-blackened rocky overhang where Gerolm Marinkowitz set up his smithy to maintain the tools used in the building of the “boer road” (1858). Probably because of this association this site was later known as The Bellows. It is a popular cool place to picnic.
15. WITFONTEINDRIF OF WITHUISIEDRIF (WHITE FOUNTAIN DRIFT OR WHITE HOUSE):
A strong, perennial stream of crystal-clear water has its source high in the mountains to the west. Flowing down the slopes of the ravine, these streams enter the Groot River just before the drift. A cement-lined pool is situated near the tarred road with a little pump-house alongside. In the 1990’s this was known as “Buswatertjie” because buses frequently stop here for water.
16. UITSPANDRIF (OUTSPAN DRIFT):
At this ford the wagoner had space to out span his team of oxen. Today a neatly laid-out picnic site is conveniently near to the Great Waterfall.
17. WATERVALDRIF (WATERFALL DRIFT):
Waterfall Drift is named after the nearby waterfall. Langstraat (Long Street), a stretch of the road with no river crossings, comes after this drift (2,9 km).
18. ONTPLOFFINGSDRIF (EXPLOSION DRIFT):
A wagon loaded with dynamite is believed to have travelled at such a speed over the bumpy “boer road”, that is freight exploded spontaneously at this ford. The wagon and mule-team did not survive, but miraculously the driver did.
19. TOLDRIF (TOLLHOUSE DRIFT): this was the third Toll-house in the Poort. The second Tol was ruined with the rebuilding of the road.
20. ROOIUITSPANNING OF LANGSTRAATDRIF (DRIFT AT THE RED OUTSPAN OR LONGSTREET DRIFT):
To the right of this ford there was room enough for a number of wagons to out span. The name originated from the red colour of soil. Here was the ending of Long Street which we mentioned earlier.
21. PEERBOOMDRIF (PEAR TREE DRIFT):
An enormous saffron pear tree grew nearby making this a popular gathering place and out span. Along the road was a house where two spinsters lived in, with the dead of one of them the other buried her in the dining room. The survivor disappeared without anybody seeing her.
22. BLOUPUNTDRIF OF WASVATDRIF (BLUE POINT DRIFT OR WASH-POOL DRIFT):
Just before this drift a turn-off to the left leads to the farm Blue Point (Bloupunt), which later gave its name to the drift. At this drift, wagoners coming from the Great Karoo encountered the first really deep pools. Here water barrels could be filled, and the dust of the Karoo washed off.
23. VALSDRIF (FALSE DRIFT):
Wagon-teams frequently got stuck in this ford because of the loose gravel and deep sand drift.
24. OPMETINGSDRIF (SURVEY DRIFT):
In 1912 a survey was done to decide whether to build a dam across this, the narrowest point in the gorge.
25. LAASTE DRIF OF EERSTE DRIF (LAST DRIFT OR FIRST DRIFT):
Depending on which way you are travelling; this is either the first drift southwards or the last drift northwards.
Source: Oudtshoorn Tourism Bureau