There’s no such thing as rest in De Rust

The Klein Karoo offers so many unique and quaint towns that it becomes difficult to keep up with but there’s one little town that’s so charming, you’ll definitely make return visits.

We briefly made acquaintances with the town of De Rust on our travels to Oudsthoorn back in May 2019 but with the many stop-and-go stations between Oudtshoorn and De Rust, we had to end our initial visit short.

However, we vowed to come back; adding it to our two-week journey across South Africa from Graaff-Reinet along the N9 passing through Willowmore.

It’s hot in the Klein Karoo yet you quickly ignore that fact when you surrounded by mountains. De Rust is located at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain Range, so you can only imagine the spectacular view we witnessing.

De Rust, translated as “The Rest”, served as a base for many travellers back in the 1900s. Because it’s located between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert, De Rust became a favourite place to unwind.

Fast forward a number of years, De Rust is now known as the town that never sleeps since it’s on the N12 National Road – tracks big and small pass through every minute; transporting various goods to neighbouring towns.

From the moment we arrived at the sign saying, “De Rust welcomes you”, we received warmed smiles and waves from bakkies who drove by. It’s so rare to encounter such friendly hospitality.

The heat became unbearable. So, we took a walk down to the cafe, had a look around and, never left until sunset; sipping on Coke and freshly bakes Koeksisters and pies while sharing travel stories with the owner on the porch.

That’s the Karoo culture for you. Always serving you with traditional Karoo snacks, lounging on the stoep and, sharing memorable travel moments.

Things to do in De Rust

We went to De Rust with no plans and that’s pretty much how it is here. Other than just booking your accommodation, making reservations is non-existed. But, there are many restaurants and cafes, curios shops and, interesting activities to keep you occupied during your stay.

De Rustica Olive Tasting

I know lots about wine tasting but Olive tasting was a game-changer; especially if you’re being schooled by De Rustica Olive Estate.

Constantly producing award-winning olive oil, Precilla (whose awesome by the way), took us on a proper tour from how they rake the olives off the branches, crated off to the processing plant where they clean, malax the paste and then separate the oil from the water to bottling it.

Did you know that there are 3 different styles when it comes to Olive Oil? There’s also a specific way to taste it which I got horribly wrong but needless to say, I had fun and, if you see me smelling the olive oil bottle in stores, just know that Precilla taught us way too many things about it.

Book a tour from Monday to Friday. Please note that booking beforehand is essential.

Visit Karoo Rouge

Just up the road from our accommodation is Karoo Rouge, owned by Lorraine Burger. She’s an eccentric woman who has wonderful stories to share.

There is a number of handcrafted products to purchase or, make yourself comfortable on the patio with a beverage and their famous mini pies which happened to be freshly baked when we arrived.

Lorraine is a wonderful woman with so much love for her community. It was an absolute privilege to chat with her about De Rust and our travels.

Herrie se plek

You can’t miss the elephant in the room or the purple elephant in the road. Herrie se plek happens to be the only restaurant in town to be open for dinner until 22:00 pm.

With a relaxing outdoor setting and a wide food selection, Herrie’s also serves breakfast and lunch if you can’t make the supper rush.

Ray’s Coffee Shop

Have you ever walked into a restaurant, shop or cafe and, have the owner sitting in the entranceway to greet you? That is how Ray who owns this charming coffee shop welcomes you with a good morning and, a handshake.

Even if it’s chilly, get a seat outside while the waiter presents you with a menu. It’s been said that Ray’s has the best coffee and, I can vouch for that! Order a scrumptious breakfast and watch how the loading trucks drive by.

Doornkraal Padstal

What is a road trip without a padstal stop? And, you can’t miss this bright pink building even if you tried.

Doornkraal Padstal is owned by the Le Roux family and, there’s no way you can leave it empty-handed. The farm stall is filled with homemade goods, handcrafted gifts and, exclusive Doornkraal wines.

Take time to do a wine tasting or, grab something to eat from the menu. It’s almost certain that you won’t leave empty-handed.

What more to do

We only stayed in De Rust for one night and, ran out of time to do all the activities but here is a list of places and things to do:

  • Rust en Vrede Waterfall at Meiringspoort
  • Village Trading Post
  • Mooikaroo
  • Excelsior Vlakteplaas
  • Rooi Donkie Restaurant
  • Mons Ruber Winery

Where to Stay

Housemartin Guest Lodge is perfectly located within walking distance of all the restaurants and cafes in De Rust.

This delightful accommodation is serene and ideal for anyone seeking to simply unwind with 12 en-suite double rooms; each with a veranda overlooking the garden, you bound to stay longer than expected.

Continental breakfast is included as well as a home-cooked dinner but, you have to book for this with the room booking. However, there are braai facilities if you wish to make your own supper.

Take a dip in the pool, spend some time watch TV, read a book in their library, or listen to the birds’ chirp, Housemartin will not disappoint.

If you ever find yourself wanting to escape to a quaint and serene town that boasts a number of historical buildings and interesting experiences, then De Rust might just be the town for you.

Until the next small town.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Oudtshoorn De Rust Tourism. The information and images are my own. It’s written in good faith and will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the websites. All opinions are my own based on my experience.