Kick off your shoes in and around De Rust
There is a certain magic attached to many small villages in South Africa. In some cases, the magic lies in the residents and sometimes the setting, the architecture or the atmosphere which do the trick. In the case of De Rust, a quaint little town adjacent to the spectacular Meiringspoort and only 30 km from Oudtshoorn, it is all of the above and more.
Most roads in the Klein Karoo lead to and through De Rust, and if you plan a visit, make sure you have enough time, as it is definitely not one of those dreary dorpies to simply whizz through.
The main street is a treasure trove of interesting shops. You can park your car safely and then easily do your tour on foot. Here you can browse for gifts, rummage through shelves filled with second- hand items and objects from many, many years ago and find that one old book you have been looking for. And, when you want to catch your breath, relax in one of the coffee shops or restaurants.
The people of De Rust are friendly and hospitable and you would probably get all the information you need from them. In case you still have some questions about the area, head to the tourism kiosk in the main road and help yourself to pamphlets and flyers. Chances are however that there will also be a friendly local at hand to expand on what you can do and see.
The magic of De Rust however, is not limited only to the village with its shops, people and architecture. It is located right at the entrance (or exit, depending on which way you are travelling) to the magnificent and world-renowned Meiringspoort mountain pass on one side and two farms to visit on the other side.
Meiringspoort, with its numerous twists and turns, winds its way over 25 drifts between towering sandstone cliffs with spectacular rock formations. Over millions and millions of years the Groot River has carved its way into this magnificent gorge which forms the gateway between the Great and Klein Karoo. The five picnic spots and ablution facilities in the Poort are probably the best maintained and cleanest you will find in the country. The staff members at each spot proudly maintain the gardens and facilities and add their personal touch. The most popular spot is the one below the Meirngspoort Waterfall. Park your car, grab your towel, take a deep breath, and follow the steep path to the waterfall and the pools below it. The gorge offers breathtaking photo opportunities and is well worth the hours you would want to spend there.
De Rustica Olive Estate is situated on the main road to Oudtshoorn, and if you have a taste for delectable olive oil, this is a place not to be missed. De Rustica is a triple-gold award-winning olive estate and offers much more than just the best virgin olive oil. When you visit the estate, you get to experience all the magic of olives. You will be able to see how an olive farm operates, how award-winning olive oil is pressed and taste the different blends. You will even learn how to pair your favourite dishes with the preferred olive oil. And finally, if you are in want of a place to spend a night or two and simply enjoy nature, you can unpack your luggage and sleep over. De Rustica offers six comfortable stable rooms equipped with the basic necessities and without access to technology to distract you from enjoying life away from the rat race.
Domein Doornkraal is a working farm only 5 km from De Rust, on the road to Oudtshoorn. Here the Le Roux family has been producing wine since the late 1800’s. Visit the Domein Doornkraal farmstall alongside the road to taste its wines, enjoy a meal and find that special gift for a special person. But Doornkraal is not only famous for its range of wines. The farm also cultivates lucerne, vegetable seed and pastures for sheep, cattle, pigs and horses. It also has a unique community project, Spensplaas, where locals produce their own food to feed their families. Visit the farm and saddle up one of the horses for one of several horse-riding trails which vary from two to six hours. Special riding sessions for children are also offered. Although Doornkraal is a working farm, visitors are invited to stay over in one of the cottages in complete privacy at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Here the first knock on your door in the morning will be the delivery of your freshly prepared light breakfast, after which you can enjoy what the farm has to offer or continue on your journey.
Being a traveller does not mean rushing anywhere in a hurry. When planning your next holiday to the Klein Karoo, tick off De Rust as one of the places where you would need to spend time. Plan your trip around this magnificent village – you will not be disappointed.