A hamlet in the Prince Albert municipal district
Klaarstroom at the entrance to scenic Meiringspoort, has remained virtually unchanged since the days of Queen Victoria. The hamlet was the home of South Africa’s last operator of a transport wagon and on Vrolikheid, a farm in the district, you can see a licenced witblitz still, which has been declared a National Monument.
Where to stay in Klaarstroom
R375 per person sharing Bed and Breakfast
R500 single supplement
Dinner R125 pp on request
Contact: Jeremy Witts-Hewinson
Tel: 082 488 8370
This charming Victorian house has lofty ceilings, wooden floors and French doors opening onto wide stoeps. The décor is simple and elegant, echoing the refreshing purity of the Karoo landscape. All rooms are en-suite and have ceiling fans and heating. A twin room and two rooms with double beds are situated in the main house. Two twin rooms are in the converted waenhuis (wagon house).
The lounge-dining area has tea and coffee making facilities and a bar fridge for your convenience. Spacious stoeps are a tranquil vantage point from which to enjoy mountain views, or sunsets punctuated by the windmill, or simply to watch the world go by – slowly, as it generally does in Klaarstroom! There is also a swimming pool.
Breakfast is served in the dining room or on one of the stoeps. Some guests prefer the traditional, spacious kitchen warmed in the winter months by the old Aga stove.
If prior notice is given, supper at R100 per person will be provided. If a guest wishes to use the guesthouse as a retreat, then additional meals (lunches, teas) will gladly be offered, by arrangement.
58km from Prince Albert, situated in the village of Klaarstroom at the northern entrance to Meiringspoort.
What to see and do in Klaarstroom
The Anglo-Boer War graves of Corporal Boyd and Trooper Hirschford in the Anglican graveyard at The Church of the Good Shepherd.
The delightful Victorian architecture, have a good look at the police station (1880)
A short drive along the road to Willowmore will bring you to Vrolikheid, a farm where witblitz is distilled.
Take a drive through Meiringspoort – the first road to link the Central Karoo and the coast. Built between 1856 and 1858 it was regularly closed due to flash floods and after the spectacular floods of 1998 the road was reconstructed at a cost of R70 million. Stop at the info centre at the waterfall and discover the stories associated with each of the drifts across the river, all of which bear fascinating names, such as ontploffingsdrif – the explosion drift, spookdrif – ghost drift, pereboomdrif – pear tree drift, and many more. Take a walk along the path into the kranz which was constructed in the 1920’s so that the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, could walk up to see the bottomless pool where the mermaid dwells. At each of the rest sites through the poort information boards give you insight into the animals, plants and birds to be found in Meiringspoort.
Many of you will have seen the amazing “Faan se Trein” movie that was filmed in Klaarstroom a few years ago by Koos Roets. Recently Koos finished filming another film there – Die Hoener met die Rooi Skoene. The Klaarstroom Guest House had the wonderful pleasure and privilege of hosting many of the actors – such fun to share the village with these creative spirits. Here is the cast and filmmakers (photo Eunice Visser) which gives you a taste of the excitement and a flavour of the film.
Helena Marincowitz, an amateur historian in Prince Albert, wrote a fascinating booklet in Afrikaans about the history of Klaarstroom. Klaarstroom en Omgewing is available from the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert, Tel: 023 5411 172.
The first wool washery in South Africa was opened here in 1874 by a Canadian, PJ Allport. It was designed and constructed by George Wallis, the architect who designed the Moederkerk in Oudtshoorn and built the Anglican churches in Willowmore, Oudtshoorn, Klaarstroom and Prince Albert.