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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

 

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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

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The De Rust Heritage Trust

A New Beginning   

February 2022

 

The De Rust Heritage Trust website www.derustheritage.org.za 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 rickety@imaginet.co.za 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