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Meiringspoort Optimum Half Marathon 

Saturday 8 October, 2022


The Meiringspoort Optimum Half Marathon was run in De Rust on Saturday 8 October with over 3 400 entries and over 3 000 participants on the day.  This is the first time since 2019 that the race has been held as Covid resulted in cancellations in both 2020 and 2021. 

The De Rust community turned out in force to support the runners as well as their travelling supporters from as far afield as Gauteng, the Free State and the Eastern Cape. Over the week-end the Village was bursting with runners and their families and a great time was had by all. 

This report of the race and winners is supplied by Wilhelm Stapper – now a resident of De Rust. 


Bosman "speeds" to new record through Meiringspoort

A new year, a new race with its unique challenges, seems all that changes during the De Rust Optimum Meiringspoort half-marathon. Lloyd Bosman won for the fifth consecutive year.

The one difference from last year is that the athlete from Nedbank Running Club is getting faster. His winning time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 36 seconds is a new route record. Bosman is confident of being still faster.  On Saturday (8 October), he took the lead from the gun. For the first ten or so kilometres, he was running at what he considered to be a comfortable pace. But then he started to up the pace. Increasing his lead stride for stride. "In the build-up to the race, I had put in some hard kilometres. I could feel it paid dividends. That gave me the confidence to go for it over the race's latter stages."

 Bosman's two Nedbank RC training partners, Godwin Heyns (1:05:39) and Bernardo Fredericks (1:06:21), finished respectively second and third. Fredericks was quite excited by the time he had run as it was his fastest in seven years, over 21km. 

The bad news for athletes hoping to win the De Rust Optimum Meiringspoort race is that Bosman is not planning to relinquish his title as "Champion of the Poort". If he has his way, he will win for at least another five years. 

The veteran-athlete Hanlie Botha (Born 2 Run) won the women's race in a record time of 1:18:55. It is the fastest time by a female athlete in 12 years. Overall she was 9th. It was the first time the dietician from East London ran through the Poort. According to her, it was a fantastic experience.  

Another veteran Melissa van Rensburg (Nedbank RC), was the second woman to finish. Her time was 1:25:59. The athlete from George was slightly disappointed about how her race played out. 

"I am certainly not as fit as I should be. That is why I ran like a true forty-year-old," Van Rensburg joked.  She is passionate about being on the road and running. For her, it is a way to get a new perspective on things and life.

"People often joke and say we who run are mad. I never take offence, as everyone has a right to their own opinion. But I know that when I run, I find solutions for most of the problems I face in life. On a good day, my fellow runners and I can find solutions for the world's problems," she said, smiling. 

Anel van Wyk (Nedbank RC) finished third in the women's race. She was timed running 1:29:40. 

Selwyn Matthews (Nedbank RC) won the men's 12.5km race running 38:55. The women's race was won by Jandri Snyders (Hartenbos). Her winning time was 54:21.

As well as the top athletes this was a day for the amateur runners who enjoyed the comradeship and fun of an event such as this. Based on this year’s event the Meiringspoort Half Marathon will continue to grow and prosper over the coming years.


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Heritage Month and De Rust

September 2022


September is Heritage month in South Africa and National Heritage Day is on Saturday 24 of the month. In order to remember some of our Heritage stories we will share these with you:

The Boy and the Horse

During the Anglo/Boer War the British were camped near the railway outside De Rust at a nearby railway siding and farming settlement called Vlakteplaas.  As the British troops were short of horses they went to all the farms in the district and requisitioned all the horses that were available there from the farmers. 

There was a young boy on one of the farms who had a prize horse which he loved dearly, so he went to see the Commanding Office of the British forces at Vlakteplaas hoping to persuade the British officer to release his horse to him. 

The officer was persuaded to speak to the boy and after listening to the boy said to him I will release your horse to you if you can call the horse and it comes to you.  So they went down to the paddock where all the horses were held and the young boy whistled and his horse recognizing the whistle immediately came to the boy. 

On seeing this the British Officer allowed the boy to ride his horse away so all ended well for both boy and horse. 


The Statue on the Koppie 

Another Vlakteplaas story involves the story of the Statue on the Koppie. This involved a local farmer’s wife in the late 1800’s, who when her husband Petrus Albertus Schoeman died loved him so dearly that she commissioned a statue of her late husband from a sculptor in England. 

Once the statue was ready it was shipped from England to South Africa and was then brought from Cape Town by train to Vlakteplaas and set up on his grave on the farm.  This statue looks out from the koppie on to the farm he so loved while he was still alive.   

All these years later the statue still stands as a lonely reminder on his grave at Vlakteplaas and clearly shows the great love his wife had for her beloved husband. 


The Meiringpoort Half Marathon

As part of the coming major events in De Rust the Meiringspoort 21 Marathon is due to take place on Saturday 8 October, 2022. Due to the Covid restrictions both the 2020 and 2021 events had to be cancelled. 

This is an extremely popular event which is eagerly anticipated far and wide, for not only the sporting aspect but also the renowned Klein Karoo hospitality.  Entries closed some time ago for the event but it is anticipated that a large crowd is expected and that a great time will be had by all.  We look forward to see you there. 

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The Great Waterfall of Meiringspoort

August 2022


The Great Waterfall 

One of the great sites in Meiringspoort is that of the waterfall.  About 12 km from De Rust the waterfall is well hidden in a deep ravine. This spectacular fall with water that streams down a 60 meters smooth rock face, ends in a 9 meters deep rock pool. In 1925, when the then Prince of Wales visited South Africa, a pathway with shallow steps was hewn from the rock face for the Royal visitor. The pool with its crystal clear waters is a great attraction to picnickers, swimmers and divers. According to legend, a Jewish pedlar, who frequently travelled by cart and horse through Meiringspoort, always paused to wash himself in the pool at the waterfall.

Late one afternoon, arriving at the outspan, he set off for the waterfall, leaving his animals in the care of his young assistant. The pedlar never returned. The next morning other travellers found the young boy, shivering with cold, but faithfully on guard. They immediately searched the pool and soon found the man's body.

 The mermaid of Meiringspoort                                                      

Although many stories abound of travellers stranded in the Poort, picnics at New Year or leopards shot and killed, nothing stirs the imagination as much as the story of mermaids in the Poort.

Legend has it that a mermaid lives in Meiringspoort. Her home, they say, is the pool at the bottom of the waterfall half way through the Poort. Unless she’s both spoiled and respected by humans, she wreaks havoc with the road they have cut near her home.                                                                                           

And wreak havoc she has.  Since the first road was built in 1858 it had been washed away several times. Most years the Groot River trickles gently through the deep gorge, making it a beautiful environment which has attracted visitors and campers for the past 150 years.  Before that it was impenetrable. Its caves and ravines home to the San people who had lived there undisturbed for centuries.

Once or twice a decade-sometimes more, sometimes less – heavy rains turn the trickle into a terrifying torrent which becomes impossible to cross, and destroys every touch man’s hand has made.

One of the big floods was in 1996. The road was destroyed and repair work impossible. A new road had to be built and other solutions found to compensate for the wrath of the angry mermaid basking in her pool at the waterfall.



After the floods the story spread that the mermaid had gone too far and had also been washed away. Her body, local lore has it, was caught in a net by a fisherman in Mossel Bay and taken to the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn where she was kept in a tank of spirits.

The museum’s curator says staff had a tough time keeping the crowds at bay and the switchboard jammed as people phoned to find out if the story was really true.

To pacify the crowds a doll was given a mermaid’s tail and laid in the clock tower where more than 2000 people filed past to see “the mermaid”.

Eventually the curator had to phone the police and asked them to ceremoniously take the mermaid back to her home.

As the new road was nearing completion the mermaid, clearly not dead and still angry, struck again. This time “little floods” washed away some of the new road, setting the project back by months and costing millions more to repair.






Nowadays there are nice thatched toilets and an information centre where the weary traveller can stretch their legs, have a picnic or just enjoy the exceptional surroundings Meiringspoort has to offer.


Just make sure you remember the Mermaid!





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The De Rust Heritage Walk

A Return to the Past

July 2022


De Rust Heritage Walk bookletDe Rust Heritage Walk bookletThe De Rust Heritage Walk is worthy of consideration by visitors and locals as a quiet stroll returns one to the historical significance of this part of the Klein Karoo. 

For many years in the 1900’s De Rust was seen mainly as an agricultural settlement serving the De Rust District as well as providing access to the interior through Meiringspoort as the transport route through it was developed over the years.


Some Buildings of Interest

There are a number of historic buildings of interest in the Village including the following:


The Old Mill was built in the mid-1800’s prior to the Village being established. It continued to operate into the mid-1940’s but has subsequently fallen into disrepair. This is a protected Provincial Heritage building and deserves to be fully restored, providing the required funds can be raised.


The NG Kerk and Hall werebuilt in the early 1900’s and consecrated in 1902 and is also a declared Provincial Heritage Site. The church is the center of many community based events including theatrical productions and sporting codes such as the popular Meiringspoort Marathon and Trail and Mountain Bike Events. 


Vredelus Farmhouse was one of the first farmhouses in the area and in the early days before the church was built services were held under the trees at the homestead. In addition, the graves of some of the earliest owners of the farm De Rust are to be found in the private graveyard close to the house. 


All the above were previous National Monuments and have now been designated as Provincial Heritage Buildings by Heritage Western Cape. These buildings were constructed during the 19th and early 20th Century and are worth a visit.


In addition to the above there are a large number of historical buildings in the Village including the following:


Ou Lokasie was originally where many of the farm workers lived prior to the establishment of Blomnek in the early 1980’s. Blomnek was first established in the early 1980’s when the Schoeman family exchanged a portion of their farm where Blomnek is now situated in exchange for the ground at “Ou Lokasie.”


The Robertson Huis: This house was built in the early 1900's by a well known local architect. At various times it has been a private residence and then an art gallery. It is another of  the  “Grand Dames” of De Rust and has recently been restored to its former glory. It has an annex behind the house which has also been restored as a second dwelling. 


The Ou Koshuis: The old boarding hostel is now an Art Gallery and has recently been spruced up as it was in a very run-down condition. This building has not been a school hostel for many years since the new hostel in 2nd Avenue was built on the same site as the present De Rust High School 


Many other Victorian and Cape heritage buildings are worthy of a visit. A map of the Village and other buildings of interest is available here as a pdf.


Further details are available for those interested in a visit with numerous accommodation options available from four star to backpacker levels.  We look forward to your visiting the Village. 


De Rust

July, 2022                                                                                                 Click here to download this newsletter as a pdf document




A New Era for De Rust

Gem of the Klein Karoo 

June 2022


The village of De Rust has been undergoing a significant upgrade in recent years with many new residents – some of whom are “semigrants” from our northern regions,  where “quality of life” issues, crime and a serious breakdown in municipal services has led to a move “down south” to a more secure future for their families. 


This has led to the upgrading of many heritage properties by incoming new residents which in turn enhances the existing “Village Heritage” status.  This also has had a direct effect in increasing property prices significantly over the past few years as has been the case in other Western Cape smaller rural centers away from the major population hubs. Added to this our water supply is secure as it comes off the Swartberg mountain range providing additional security to residents.     


The main road Schoeman Street, which carries the N12 National Road through the village, is also seeing a resurgence of new businesses being opened to add to the charm of the village.  These include a number of new eateries as well as a new gallery exhibiting unique local arts and crafts with paintings by local artists as well as quality handcrafts produced by local folks in the district. 


De Rust - everything from country traditions to fibre internet - June 2022De Rust - everything from country traditions to fibre internet - June 2022


De Rust is also currently experiencing the installation of “fibre” as part of an upgrading of telecommunications services which is anticipated to be available to residents by the end of 2022. Added to this the village has excellent wi-fi reception from Vodacom,  MTN and Southern Cape Wireless via the cellular tower on the adjacent De Rust koppie allowing for seamless working from home. 


Given the convenient location of De Rust on the southern end of Meiringspoort  and on the N12 National Highway from George to Beaufort West there is increased interest in the area as a whole.  It is also in the middle of a burgeoning farming area specializing in onion seed, ostriches, mohair goats and almonds among the major products available.  


Eco-tourism is also a key driver of economic activity with many guest establishments both in the village as well as farm stays being available to a full spectrum of visitors. In addition, there are hikes in the mountains, horse riding, mountain biking and many other outdoor activities available to both residents and visitors.  

The De Rust Koppie also offers the opportunity to view a large number of indigenous plants which are globally unique to that specific location. In considering the various attributes of De Rust it is clear that the Village is going from strength to strength in terms of its popularity and safety, not only for second homes but also for permanent residents including many retirees. 


Added to its position at the eastern entrance to the Klein Karoo Oudtshoorn is only 33 km away on the recently upgraded N12 with a range of local shopping as well as a Mediclinic and a full range of medical professionals. For those requiring more specialized medical facilities both George (90 km) and Mossel Bay (110 km) offer top rated private hospitals and specialists as well as quality shopping and dining.


In concluding, De Rust is a must visit destination for both visitors and longer-term residents to the area. Like many smaller centres in the Klein Karoo it has a special charm and micro-climate which is a unique overall value package for all ages. 


De Rust

June, 2022                                                                                                           Click here to download this newsletter as a pdf document



The De Rust Heritage Trust

A New Beginning   

February 2022


The De Rust Heritage Trust website incorporates a number of key features – all of which focus on the Village of De Rust situated just south of Meiringspoort in the Western Cape on the N12 National Highway between George and Beaufort West.  De Rust is part of the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality some 33 kilometers south on the way to George.  


The original website which contains a wealth of information on De Rust focused in the main on the “heritage” aspects of the Village.  However, this developed over time into a more detailed outline of other key aspects including the issues and opportunities for eco-tourism as well as the need for building a strong view of a strategic and successful future of Village going deep into the 21st Century.


The De Rust Heritage Conservation Association have now decided to compile their own website using their own material.  Based on this decision the De Rust Heritage Trust have decided to retain all the existing unique heritage material acquired over the years from various sources, while at the same time significantly expanding other related areas which reflect on activities of interest in the Village as a whole. 


The Future

The eastern portion of the Klein Karoo where the Village is situated is particularly interesting from a historical perspective, going back to the times of the original San and Khoi residents, well before the settlers and traders arrived from the Western part of the Cape of Good Hope from the 17th Century on. 


Our logo incorporates the bushmen/khoi the original inhabitants of this portion of the Klein Karoo.  At the same time the “Modern South African Bushman” of all races have much to offer in new ways of looking and seeing different opportunities for further development of this vision into the future.  As an essential part of this vision is the understanding that for this country of ours to succeed, all those living in it need an opportunity to grow and prosper, both as individuals and as a country. 


New Monthly Newsletter

We are starting a regular monthly newsletter covering key areas from the Village and District covering general heritage issues, eco-tourism and community issues including the new District Governance Models arising from the recent local government elections in November 2021, possible job creation opportunities in the broader community including Blomnek and other general points of interest. 


The continuation of this vision through the De Rust Heritage Trust is an opportunity to explore unique approaches to the way we go forward as a united and successful community and nation. This expanded website will hopefully provide an opportunity for a broader understanding of both our environment and the people who live here.  


Please send your comments/stories to for possible inclusion in the forthcoming De Rust Heritage Trust Newsletters with selected news articles also being included in the monthly edition of the Prince Albert Friend where we now have a regular page. 


Alan Tonkin

De Rust 

01 February, 2022