The quaint Little Karoo (from the Khoisan language which means "thirstland") village of De Rust lies at the southern portal of the famous Meiringspoort (canyon), at the foot of the Swartberg mountains, about 35 km from Oudtshoorn in the Garden Route. Considered to be the gateway between the Klein Karoo and the Great Karoo, De Rust has a typical Karoo atmosphere steeped in history, hospitality and time—time for well-being and time for community. This slow pace of life and clean fresh air has an appeal to those who seldom have time to quiet their minds. Like most towns in the region, it is ostrich country, while the tranquil tree-lined village boasts excellent examples of late 19th century architecture.
Ridiculously scenic, with mountains so close and so clear you feel you can almost reach out and touch them, De Rust is as yet relatively `undiscovered`, a quiet and safe town where villagers walk their dogs and everyone greets as you pass by. It is one of the few towns that is so quiet at night that the sound of an approaching car will startle you, and you may hear nothing else but the booming call of an ostrich, the lost hoot of a Cape Eagle Owl or perhaps the forlorn braying of a donkey. The Karoo has a treasure trove of nothing - where the silence echoes and the stars reach down from above.
De Rust was established in 1900 on a portion of Meirings farm. Petrus Johannes Meiring extensively explored the Swartberg Mountain range and discovered the route through it, following the Karoo’s Great River (Groot Rivier) which flows through the gorge, and crosses the 25km tarred road 25 times. This gorge and meandering pass is now known as the Meiringspoort. Long before the village of De Rust was established, it had already been used as a rest stop before trekking through the poort (canyon).
De Rust is the perfect base for an activity-filled holiday, from climbing and mountain biking in the Kamanassie, to exploring the Cango Caves, Meiringspoort or Seweweekspoort, to visiting Gamkaskloof (also known as “Die Hel” or “The Hell”) and Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass. Visit an ostrich farm or take a wine-route excursion to spoil your taste buds with some of the country’s finest cuisine, or go fossil-hunting on the endless plains of the Great Karoo. Return to De Rust to rest and relax and soak up the beauty of the mountains.
The villagers of De Rust welcome you. We trust you will enjoy your stay and come back for more!