When I was in primary school we did a tour to Oudtshoorn and one of the places we were supposed to visit was the Rust en Vrede (Rest and Peace) Waterfall. The visit was cancelled due to bad weather and I’ve always wondered what I had missed. When I started working as a tourist guide about 15 years ago I noticed the turnoff and sign to the waterfall on the way to the Cango Caves, but as it wasn’t included in any of the itineraries I still didn’t get the opportunity to go and see it. That was until a visit to Oudthoorn with the family when on the way back to town from the caves I decided that today will be the day.
After paying a small entrance fee and driving a couple of kilometers on a fairly good dirt road we got to a small parking spot from where we proceeded on foot along a trail into the valley in front of us. The environment changed very quickly once you are on foot and although it was close to 35C in the open it got cooler and cooler the further we went up into the gorge. The valley into which the trail lead is covered with ferns, wild flowers and undergrowth with towering cliffs above. Along the way we crossed over bridges and pass a small dam wall and pipes. From later research I found out that water was piped from Rust en Vrede to supply drinking water to the town of Oudtshoorn from as early as 1900. Apparently it still supplies water to a reservoir in town.
The valley suddenly opens up to a stunning waterfall plummeting into a refreshing pool. The photo really doesn’t do it enough justice. It truly is a magical spot and the waterfall really lived up to its name. If I was on my own without anywhere else to be I could easily sit there all day. A group of Dutch youngsters stripped down to their cozzies and swam out into the pool to get a closer look of the waterfall. I just sat on my rock like a Dassie cursing the fact that I didn’t have my costume on hand to enjoy the pool as well.