(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.
Meiringspoort is situated on the N12 between the towns of De Rust and Prince Albert. This spectacular natural gorge cuts its way through the Swartberg Mountains, forming an incredible natural gateway between the Klein Karoo and Groot Karoo.
The 25km road leading through the poort has a total of 25 drifts (each with its own name and interesting bit of history) crossing the Groot River as it winds its way through the huge rock formations.
There are plenty of scenic spots (with bathroom facilities) to stop and appreciate the extraordinary beauty of this geological wonder. Enjoy a picnic in the shade of the towering rock walls or take a short hike up to the waterfall for a bird’s-eye view of the scenery or a dip in the cool rock pools.
[Please note: Unfortunately, the waterfall is not wheelchair accessible, as it is reached by a short hike with stairs leading up to the waterfall.]
Over 200 million years of geological activity has produced this astounding natural wonder. As this ravine cuts through the Swartberg Mountains (which also happens to be one of the best exposed fold mountain chains in the world), one can see the spectacular rock formations that have been pushed upwards and folded like pleats in the enormous rock walls some 250 million years ago.
Visit Meiringspoort Geology to read more about the geology of Meiringspoort.
Meiringspoort is home to an impressively diverse range of wildlife. Over millennia, many of these animals have evolved in such extraordinary ways, that today they are recognised as unique species that occur nowhere else in the world but here.
Visit Meiringspoort Animal Life to learn more about Meiringspoort’s diverse animal and birdlife.
Equally diverse as its wildlife, the poort also boasts a rich diversity of plants. Some even gained fame across the globe, like the wild geranium that was sent to England where the Duchess of Beaufort started cultivating them by 1710.
The topography of this incredible environment creates various habitats that can differ so completely from its neighbouring habitat that visitors often come across extraordinary combinations like forest ferns and fynbos nearly 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
The morning of March 3rd, 1858, saw the official opening of Meiringspoort. The poort was named after Petrus Johannes Meiring, an influential farmer from De Rust, and was an extremely important milestone for trading between farmers from the north and the communities of Oudtshoorn, George and Mossel Bay. The new route gave the Groot Karoo economy a major boost with one eighth of the Cape Colony’s wool clip transported to Mossel Bay’s port by 1870.
For more on the history of Meiringspoort, visit The History of Meiringspoort.