Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There are two ways to get from the Karoo into the Klein Karoo over / through the Swartberg and both are very scenic. The Swartberg Pass is for those with lots of time and Meiringspoort for those in a hurry.
The Meiringspoort road features soaring cliff walls with spectacular rock formations along the 25 km tarred road which winds along the floor of the gorge and crosses the Groot River 25 times. Each crossing, or drift, has its own name and story. Its not easy being the driver with such magnificent scenery around as one tends to look up and about when traveling this way. The first road through the poort was constructed between 1856 and 1858. In the early days the road was amongst others used to transport wool from the interior to the coast with 12 long ox-drawn wool wagons. Today is used mainly by people (and goods) traveling to the Southern Cape coastal area.
There are a couple of places where one can stop. The most popular one is the Waterfall information site. Here visitors will find one of the most scenic spots in the kloof. The Skelm has a waterfall tumbling into a dark pool which, legend has it, is bottomless. (In 1938 it stopped flowing for the first time in human memory). On the day we drove through the poort the temperature was in the upper 30's Celcius and a lot of the people who stopped were cooling down in the pool and streams running from it.

Legend has it that a beautiful mermaid lives in the pool at the foot of the waterfall. During the 1996 floods a story circulated that she had been washed out of the pool, down the Groot and Oliphants rivers and out to sea where she was caught in a fisherman's net and taken to the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn. Follow this link for more info on Mermaids in the Karoo.

Scource - Prince Albert Tourism


GPS: 33°24'30.83"S, 22°33'28.95"E


  1. This is not the pass that ends up in George is it?
    Mermaid story/fable is fascinating!! I hope she hasn't been washed away .. and still lives on forever!
    Dolls in previous post certainly would catch your eye driving passed!

  2. I would not mind a swim there myself Jonker. Love the story of the mermaid.

  3. What a fabulous story! I'm going tofollow that link and read more about it! Such a pretty place!

  4. Oh, this is one of my favourite places in the country! But a surprising number of South Africans don't realyl know abotu it. In 2002 we stayed in De Rust for a long weekend, drove the (slightly terrifying!) Swartberg Pass, went wine tasting at Mons Ruber and drove through Meiringspoort. I love the drif names & their histories - Steweldrif, Spookdrif etc etc. When we were at the waterfall we were the only people there and it was like another world. I've swum to right under the waterfall - what a joy! Thanks for posting :)

  5. Wow...what a beautiful place! The waterfall is phenomenal...I've never seen one in person...only photos and TV. Awesome!

    Question for your Firefly...I recently changed the width on my blog and I can see the entire page on my screen but I am told by someone else that they have to scroll over to see the right side of the photos and sidebar. Are you able to see the entire page or do you have to scroll? Please advise so I know if this is an isolated incident or if I need to make further adjustments. Thanks so much for your assistance!
    Take care :o)

  6. I was waiting for this post. Meiringspoort is one of the places in our country that I can really lose myself in. It is beautiful, it is awe-inspiring, it is pure magic. I think I could spend a whole holiday there, just walking and looking and listening. The only thing I do not like about it is that it is almost 2,000 kilometres away from me.

  7. Hmm wonderful waterfall!!! another place to visit one day!?
    Gena @ Thinking aloud
    South Africa