(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.
Driving along the N12 between De Rust and Prince Albert, you’ll enter Meiringspoort about 11km from De Rust. As the Groot River gnawed its path through the enormous Swartberg Mountains, it created this breathtaking gorge, resulting in a remarkable natural gateway that links the Klein and Groot Karoo.
Apart from its colossal rock walls and spectacular scenery, Meiringspoort is probably best known for its 25 drifts. Throughout the 25km drive, the road criss-crosses the river 25 times by means of these drifts, each individually named, with an interesting story behind every name. Various stops along the poort give visitors the opportunity to pull over and take some time to enjoy the magnificent scenic beauty, the sheer rock walls and their mind-bending formations.
There are restroom facilities (kept neat & clean) and shaded picnic spots dotted along the way. Don’t forget to hike up to the waterfall, where you can cool off on those hot Karoo summer days or get an elevated view of the poort’s spectacular scenery.
[Important note: Sadly, the waterfall is not wheelchair accessible and can only be reached with a short hike leading up concrete steps.]
The wildlife in Meiringspoort is wonderfully diverse. Over millions of years, evolution has seen some of these species adapt in such remarkable ways in order to survive, that they are recognised as completely unique and found nowhere else on earth.
Learn more about this area’s rich diversity of animals, birds & insects – Meiringspoort Animal Life
This area is home to an impressive variety of living organisms and its plant life is certainly no exception. The diversity of vegetation is mainly due to the topography of the poort, which can create vastly differing habitats alongside one another. This means seeing forest tree species growing side by side with fynbos and Great Karoo succulents is by no means an uncommon sight.
Visit Meiringspoort Vegetation to learn more about the diversity of vegetation in Meiringspoort.
This natural wonder started to take shape over 250 million years ago when immense forces in the earth’s crust gradually pushed up layers of rock. Millennia of geological activity resulted in the formation of the enormous Swartberg Mountains through which this magnificent ravine cuts its path, while exposing the impressive variation of rock formations. This variation in the geology is also the main reason for the region’s rich diversity of plant and animal life.
Visit Meiringspoort Geology to read more about the geology of Meiringspoort.
VISITORS ARE KINDLY REQUESTED
• Only make fires in designated fireplaces
• No fires anywhere after sunset
• Don’t gather wood in the veld but bring all firewood with you • Don’t disturb, collect or remove any animal, bird, insect or plant
• Don’t disturb, collect or remove any artefacts or geological objects
• Use the rubbish bins and do not litter
• Do not feed baboons or any other animals
• Have picnics only in the designated picnic sites
• No camping. There are camping facilities at De Rust
• No noise. Radios or musical instruments should not be a disturbance to others
• Not paint or write on rocks, trees or at the waterfall
• Do not swim in the river. People and animals that live down stream drink this water!
A bit of history
The poort was named after a prominent farmer from De Rust, Petrus Johannes Meiring, whose persistent campaigning for a road through the poort finally led to its official opening on 3 March 1858. This was a crucial development for trading between farmers from the Groot Karoo and the communities of Oudtshoorn and further along the coast to Mossel Bay. The road was tarred between 1966 and 1971, but thanks to quality workmanship and minimal blasting, a lot of the poort’s natural beauty was preserved.
For a look back at the history of Meiringspoort, visit the History of Meiringspoort.