Meiringspoort Waterfall in Swartberg Mountain Complex, Western Cape
Found along the Meiringspoort Pass it is officially called the Great Waterfall, but got its more well-known name from its location. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its breathtaking beauty has made it one of De Rust’s most beautiful attractions. Look out for rainbows, thundering waters and exquisite geological formations when visiting the attraction, you may even spot the Klein Karoo Mermaid said to live in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The waterfall is 60 metres high and the pool below is 9 metres deep.
There are no fees to visit this area and this has made it a favourite place for tourists to visit and have a picnic or swim in the cool natural pools.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see:
- Interpretive Centre
- Picnic Spots
- Meiringspoort Pass (25 km long) with several rest stops
- Herries Stone
B&B’s and self-catering accommodation can be found in the nearby areas of De Rust, Klaarstroom and Oudtshoorn.
Rainfall occurs mainly in the winter months, but summer thunderstorms are also expected. Summer days have been known to reach as high as 40˚C and winter nights below zero.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 30˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 3˚C and 17˚C.
The steps up to the Waterfall were made from the natural rock in 1925 in preparation for a visit from the Prince of Wales who wished to see if he could spot the mythical Waterfall’s Mermaid. In 1948 further improvements were made to the steps for the now safer 5 minute walk each way.
In 1996, great floods caused the road to the Waterfall to collapse and formed a small pool. Today a picnic spot has been added here with the beautiful pool and Waterfall as the backdrop. It was after this flood that the story began of the mermaid being washed out of the pool and via the Groot and Olifants Rivers to the sea. Fishermen then caught her in their nets and sent her to the CP Nel Museum where she was preserved in spirits. It was said that, after this story circulated, the Museum received many calls from visitors to the area wanting to view the mermaid!
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