The pass is a gateway that connects the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo, through a gorge with a 25 km road crossing the same river 25 times in the span of the 25 km.
It runs between the modern town of Klaarstroom in the north, and the town of De Rust in the south. The mountains it crosses are those of the Swartberg range
The vast Great Swartberg mountain range formed an almost impenetrable barrier for much of the subcontinent’s history – separating the Little Karoo in the south, from the Great Karoo of the arid southern African hinterland. The indigenous Khoi-San people had long inhabited the valleys on both sides of the range, and undoubtedly made successful crossings of these mountains. However these journeys were unfortunately not recorded.
In 1800, a farmer from De Rust in the south made the first successful recorded crossing of this point of the range. His name, Petrus Johannes Meiring, was later commemorated in the name of the pass. Eventually, using the river’s low point, he and Gerome Marincowitz, another farmer from the north of the range, even opened up a tiny bridle path, along the “Groote Stroom”, which enabled the most intrepid travelers to journey through the mountains. In the coming years, Meiring was extremely active in building the campaign for a pass across the Swartberg.
When you come from Beaufort West towards Oudtshoorn, you will go through Meiringspoort. The awe you feel when you enter the pass, the sheer magnificence of the mountains surrounding you as you move forward at a slow speed, not that you can go any faster, as the bends are quite sharp, and the distraction of the beauty will cause you to either drive off of one of the low water bridges, or ride into the mountains.
There are many rest stops where you can stop to get out of your car and explore the beauty. At one of the stops is a walkway up towards a waterfall, absolutely stunning. A must see when in the area.