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 The Link: Eco-Tourism & Heritage in De Rust


Some Interesting Facts 


Some important points of interest about the Village are shown below:


De Rust Heritage:  The Village of De Rust is a “Heritage Sensitive Area” with its own long history going back many centuries ago to the San and the Khoi. Further details of this can be found on the De Rust Heritage website  The website has many interesting stories about De Rust and its history. Accommodation for all budgets is available from Backpackers to exclusive luxury facilities. Tours of both Meiringspoort, the Village and surrounding district are also available via the website.  


Meiringspoort: The road through Meiringspoort started as a bridal path which was only accessible by horses and mules. The first recorded journey through the “poort” was in the early 1800’s by Johannes Petrus Meiring born in 1799 who was one of the first permanent residents in the De Rust area. It then developed into a “wagon trail” where farmers could transport their wool from the Great Karoo to Mossel Bay as well as goods moving from the coast to the interior.  It has since evolved over time to the modern highway we experience today linking the interior with the coast.


The Meiringspoort Marathon: The Marathon route is routed through the “poort” and crosses many of the drifts where the “Grootrivier” crosses the road. It also passes the Waterfall where legend has it the “Mermaid” part human and part fish used to live.  Details on the many “drifts”, each with their own story are available on the website.  The Half Marathon is held annually in October of each year and goes from strength to strength.  


Eco-Tourism Tours:  Those interested in Eco-tourism will be able to book for tours of both the Village and Meiringspoort as well as other local attractions.  There are many other opportunities including Hiking Trails in the Swartberg Nature Reserve, Horse Trails as well as wonderful farm stays in the area. The Village also has many levels of accommodation available for both local and international tourists. 


Heritage Walking Tour: The Village has a wide variety of “Heritage” buildings dating from the early 1900’s. The “Old Mill” at Voelgesang and the Dutch Reformed Church in the Village are Provincial Heritage Sites as well a number of other interesting buildings from the same era. This tour is available via the De Rust Heritage website. 


De Rust Heritage Eco-Festival 2019:  An Eco-Festival is planned for De Rust as the Spring Flowers start to bloom in late September/early October, 2019 over a full week-end starting on Saturday morning and finishing on the Sunday afternoon.  Further details can be found on the Tours and Other Events page on the website.


De Rust Heritage Festival 2020:  In late March early April, 2020 we will be celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Village.  To commemorate this milestone we will be holding a Heritage Festival - for further details consult the Tours and Other Events page on the website.   


Strategic Central Location in the Klein Karoo: De Rust is ideally positioned as a base to visit all the key attractions in this Eastern section of the Klein Karoo including Klaarstroom, Prince Albert, the Swartberg Pass, the Kango Caves, the Swartberg Nature Reserve, Meiringspoort and a wide variety of other interesting locations. The Garden Route is also close by with wonderful drives including some of the mountain passes in the area including Prince Alfred’s Pass between Uniondale and Knysna which has outstanding mountain and forest scenery. 


De Rust Heritage & Eco-Tourism: Visit De Rust for a relaxing and interesting stay as part of the wide range of attractions and facilities available. In addition, a full range of accommodation is available at all budget levels from backpackers to luxury and everything in between.   

April 2019 



De Rust and the Environment 

De Rust holds a “special place” for Environmental Diversity in the Klein Karoo. In order to show the link between the Environment and Heritage in De Rust the following are a number of the key issues: 


The De Rust Koppie 

There may be thousands of koppies in the Klein Karoo, but the De Rust Koppie is one of the most exceptional in this region – particularly if you have a keen interest in plant life. 


Spring flowers on the De Rust Koppie


Ancient History of the Koppie 

The De Rust Koppie forms part of the foothills of the Swartberg mountain range and whilst hiking along the koppie you will see round pebbles scattered all over. These pebbles along with a mixture of clay and sandy soil is better known as “Enon Conglomerate” which has its own ancient story to tell of a fast flowing river that deposited this material in a lake more than 200 million years ago. This is indeed an “Ancient Hillock.” 

The Habitat of the Koppie is unique. One can spend a whole day strolling along the Koppie and find up to 300 plant species. Many of these plants are unique to the Koppie and are found nowhere else on earth. 


Animal Life 

There was a time when the Koppie was rich in animal species like tortoises and small game such as steenbuck, duiker and hare. Unfortunately, most of these have been poached by human intruders. 


Rain Flower on the De Rust Koppie   Tortoise on the De Rust Koppie

                        Rain Flower on the De Rust Koppie


                           Tortoise on the De Rust Koppie


The View 

Looking at the spectacular views from the Koppie the Swartberg mountain range dominates the North view with the Meiringspoort Gorge providing access from the Klein Karoo to the Great Karoo via the N9 National Road leading to Prince Albert and Beaufort West. In addition, the Kamanassie Mountains are in the South with magnificent views on all sides. 


The view from the De Rust Koppie with snow on the Swartberg


Conserving Our Heritage 

If we do not conserve our “Heritage” and protect a “special environment” such as the Koppie its unique plants will also be lost, just like the animal life. Litter and alien plants and a special feature of De Rust will be lost to both residents and visitors.


Some Conclusions 

Nature is a “Key Component of Heritage” and cannot be separated by the other Heritage Issues either in De Rust or elsewhere. In order to protect this special aspect of both De Rust and its immediate environs it is critical to recognize some of the reasons why the Village is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination as well as “new residents.” 


Guide for the De Rust KoppieGuide for the De Rust Koppie

Credits: Brochure “Guide to De Rust Koppie” - Sponsored by the Oudtshoorn Municipality: Background information by Jan Vlok and Marina Eilers