Vredefort Meteorite Trail

Parys, North West Free State


It has only been in the last few years that the significance of the rugged outcrops of rock that surround the small Free State town of Vredefort has been relized. In fact since the age of satellite imagery came about the vastness of an impact that happened 2,0023 million years ago becomes apparent. A meteorite estimated to 10-15 km in diameter crashed into the earth, the largest impact yet discovered on our plannet.

Discover this amazing area by doing one of several options on this trail, from a four day backpacking trail to one of four basecamp trails offered by the Vredefort Meteorite Trail

         
  This network of trails has been carefully designed to cater for the needs of most hikers. For the extremely fit it is possible to do two or three legs in one day. For those that want short walks from a base camp these are also available at each of the overnight camps

Each camp has 16 beds and lighting of some sort or other (either paraffin or electricity) and basic ablutions. Deelfontien is a new purpose build thatched roof camp, Mooihoek is an old rambling farmhouse, Baskop is situated on a farm in a rural environment next to the Vaal River and Twane is a tent camp high up in the mountains

. It is possible to drive to and park at each of these overnight huts.

 

 
 
         
 
 

The routes are designed so that they can be walked in either direction and the choice of route is up to the hiking group concerned. Each leg of the trail is about 8˝km long but don't let this fool you as there are some steep climbs, especially on leaving Baskop and the Vaal River.

 
         
 

The trail to and from Baskop is interesting in that it crosses through lovely indigenous vegetation rather than farmland. The stretches along the river are through dense indigenous  riverine forest.

 
 
         
 
 

On the higher points of the trail around Twane the vegetation is different and more varied and this section of the trail network should not be missed.

 
         
 

 

The meteor impact site as seen by Google Earth             .

   

Click on the map for larger image          

   
         
 
 

Conclusion

An amazing experience. Guides are available if one would like to learn more about the geology of this amazing area and although most hikers prefer to do the trails selfguided, consideration should be taken to learn more about this unique area of our amazing country.

Which ever way you decide to conquer the Dome, it is certainly an experience that will give you something to talk about around camp fires for years to come.

 

'In a Nutshell'

Distance from nearest town About 18km from Viljoenskroon and 140km from Johannesburg
Access road status 14km of provincial gravel road can be tricky especially after rain and care needs to be taken. The access farm roads are all passible with care
Trail type Overnight backpack trail. Day trails from basecamps also available. Although as yet no mountain bike trails are laid out there are plenty of local roads to explore in the area
Difficulty  Moderate
Marking When evaluated the trail was well marked
GPS Co-ordinates Baskop          S26 55.292 E27 14.445

Deelfontein - S26 55.900 E27 16.594

Mooihoek -    S26 57.415 E27 15.909

Cell phone reception Base camps - No
Facilities Standard ablutions including beds and mattresses, no electricity

 

The Vredefort  Meteorite Hiking Trail is bookable through

Jacana Marketing and Reservations

Telephone  0861Jacana (0861 522262)

Direct phone: Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439

Pretoria: 012 803 9109

Direct fax: PE 041 378 2548

Pretoria: 012 803 4144

 PE e-mail  bookings@jacanacollection.co.za

Pretoria e-mail: rosa@jacanacollection.co.za

 


Footprint Hiking Club

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