Attractions / Western Cape

Waterval Drift Rest Stop in the Karoo

Updated Wednesday, 9 January 2019

When visiting the Karoo, you’re sure to hear about the incredibly scenic Meiringspoort Pass, an alternative to Thomas Bain’s remarkable feat of engineering: The Swartberg Pass. But what you may not hear about, is something we found quite by accident while travelling the 97km road from Prince Albert to Calitzdorp. The modernity of the road and the rest stops en-route were already a huge surprise (I’d expected something a little more rustic). Our curiosity was piqued when we noted the number of cars and motorbikes that had pulled over at the seemingly innocuous Waterval Drift rest stop. Following their lead, we decided a little exploration was in order and how glad we were just a few moments later.

A short, rocky stairway trails up and around the imposing cliff face (just one of the many for which the Meiringspoort pass is renowned) leading to rockpools and a waterfall – the perfect antidote to the heat of the Karoo summer.

Now, forewarned, you’ll be adequately prepared with a swimming costume and towel. We weren’t, but throwing caution to the wind, decided we had to join the 20-30 people already jumping from the surrounding rocks into the fresh, crisp mountain water below. This unplanned stop on the Meiringspoort pass was definitely a highlight of our trip.

“Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey. The journey is the reward.” – Chinese Proverb

Waterval Drift rest stop


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