Travelling towards the Cango Caves, the fall is situated off the scenic R328, on the beautiful Oudemuragie road, about 35km from Oudtshoorn. The distance from Oudtshoorn’s town centre to the waterfall’s entrance is approx. 31km. From the entrance you’ll drive another 3km to the parking area and from there a short hike leads to waterfall (+/-800m there and back).
SHORT WALK TO THE WATERFALL:
From the parking area to the waterfall, you’ll take a short hike along a mountain trail that runs alongside a rippling stream. The trail leads over various little bridges with lush undergrowth and beautiful wildflowers along the way. At the end of the trail, hidden among the rocky heights, you’ll discover the waterfall — an isolated scene of beauty that seems almost carved into the heart of the Swartberg Mountains.
Please note that the area is not pet-friendly.
ENTRANCE & OPENING TIMES:
Entrance per vehicle (1-6 persons) is R70 and the waterfall is open Mondays to Sundays from 09:00 till 16:30. Please note that opening times and fees may be subject to change, therefore, we recommend calling to confirm these before you depart. Tel. +27 (0) 44 203 3112
PICNIC SPOTS & BRAAI FACILITIES:
There are lovely shaded picnic spots and braai facilities available under huge trees by the entrance. Regrettably, these facilities are not allowed near the waterfall itself, as it is a protected area. Apart from the entrance fee, there’s no extra charge for the use of these facilities.
IS THERE WHEELCHAIR ACCESS?
Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access to the waterfall. It is only accessible by way of a short, steep hike with stairs. Please take special care on the way, as the trail can often be muddy and slippery.
The Rust-en-Vrede waterfall is not just a scenic place of ‘rest and peace’ as its Afrikaans name aptly suggests. This fall, that runs 365 days a year, also supplies Oudtshoorn with a great deal of its water supply which is carried by pipeline to the town’s reservoir. This protected area also serves as a safe haven for indigenous plants and wildlife.
If you require any information about the Rust-en-Vrede Waterfall, please feel free to contact us.
A SHORT HISTORY
Water was now becoming a major consideration of the expanding town and irrigated farms of the valley. In March 1894 heavy rains and a particularly damaging thunderstorm focused attention on the river crossings. The Olifants River Bridge was nearly completed and was opened in May by the Minister of Public Works, Sir James Sivewright, the bridge being given his name. The next year work started on the Grobbelaars River bridge which was opened in October 1896 in the presence of a crowd of 4 000 people. It was named the Juta-Olivier Bridge.
That year, ironically enough, was one of the driest on record and water was carted from the Cango valley to Oudtshoorn and sold at sixpence a bucket. Danie Nel of Rust-en-Vrede Waterfall was persuaded to sell his water rights and work immediately began on piping the water to the town, which it reached in 1900.
The year 1899 is remembered at Oudtshoorn as one of the worst droughts in the town’s history. The veld lay black and lifeless, and even large ornamental trees withered. The Municipality had water carried for 18km and sold it to the thirsty citizens at cost.
It was at this time that the first serious proposal was made to build a storage dam on one of the rivers. Victorin, in 1855, describes a visit he paid to the irrigation dam on the Olifants River near Van Wykskraal. He says it was made of rocks and bushes dumped in the middle of the river; there is no reason to believe that things had changed 40 years later.
The new proposal came from E.T.L. Edmeades, the owner of the farm Kammanassie, and he proposed an irrigation dam be built on the Kammanassie River. At the time, nothing came of it, but the idea was not forgotten.
(Source: The Little Karoo by Ralph Taylor)