(OUT OF TOWN)
Where is the poort situated?
On the N12 between De Rust & Prince Albert in the Western Cape.
What is the distance of the poort?
Through a gorge with a 25 km road crossing the same river 25 times.
Are there restroom facilities?
Yes, there are various places to stop with bathroom facilities.
Is the waterfall wheelchair accessible?
Unfortunately not, as it is a short hike with stairs leading to the waterfall.
Travel down the R62 to Oudtshoorn, then take the N12 for a further 45km to the entrance of Meiringspoort – an incredible gorge where the Groot River has chiselled its way through the giant rock walls of the Swartberg Mountains.
The ravine creates an amazing natural gateway that links the Klein Karoo town of De Rust with the Groot Karoo town of Prince Albert The road through the poort offers some 25km of spectacular scenery with mind-bending rock formations where the colossal rock walls seem to have been folded like giant pleats.
Twisting through the poort, the road crosses the Groot River by means of 25 drifts, each of them numbered, named and with an interesting story attached. There are various clean picnic spots and neat restroom facilities where you can stretch your legs and take in the beautiful scenery.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade of the giant cliff walls or take the easy hike up to the waterfall for an elevated view.
[Please note: Regrettably, the short hike up concrete steps that leads to the waterfall is not wheelchair accessible.]
Meiringspoort’s origins date back as far as 250million years, when Africa was still part of the supercontinent Gondwanaland and unimaginable forces pushed up layers of rock from the earth’s crust. Over millennia, geological activity moulded the huge Swartberg Mountains through which this spectacular ravine has carved and chiselled its way.
Visit Meiringspoort Geology to read more about the geology of Meiringspoort.
From tiny field mice to the Cape clawless otter, the elusive Cape leopard and the sunbathing dassie (Cape hyrax) — the diversity of animals, birds and insects found in Meiringspoort is nothing short of amazing. There are even species that have evolved in such unique ways that they’re found nowhere else on the planet but here.
Visit Meiringspoort Animal Life to learn more about Meiringspoort’s diverse animal and birdlife.
The plant diversity of Meiringspoort is astounding. This rich diversity of vegetation can be partly attributed to the unique topography of this area which creates varying habitats with differing drainage patterns, erodibility and nutrient content. This often results in vastly different plant species like forest ferns and fynbos growing alongside each other.
Keen to learn more about the plant diversity of Meiringspoort? Visit Meiringspoort Vegetation.
VISITORS ARE KINDLY REQUESTED TO
- Only make fires in designated fireplaces
- Not make fires anywhere after sunset
- Bring all their firewood with them and not to gather wood in the veld
- Not disturb, collect or remove any animal, bird, insect or plant
- Not disturb, collect or remove any artefacts or geological objects
- Use the rubbish bins and not to litter
- Not feed baboons or any other animals
- Have picnics only in the designated picnic sites
- Not camp here. There are camping facilities at De Rust
- Not make a noise – radios or musical instruments should not be a disturbance to-others
- Not paint or write on rocks, trees or at the waterfall
- Not swim in the river – people and animals that live down the stream drink this water!
As a result of the many loose stones and rocks in the Poort, it is dangerous to walk on the mountain slopes and will only be allowed in special cases.
If you require any information about the Swartberg Pass, please feel free to contact us.
A bit of history
On 3 March 1858, Meiringspoort was officially opened to traffic. The poort was named after Petrus Johannes Meiring, a prominent farmer from De Rust, who campaigned determinedly for a road through the poort. The road brought new possibilities for farmers from the north who could now trade with communities on the coast, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the Groot Karoo’s economy. The wool trade flourished and by 1870, over 1 million kg of wool had already passed through Meiringspoort.
For more on the history of Meiringspoort, visit The History of Meiringspoort.