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There is no place on Earth like it.

This is the biggest proven impact crater on our planet. You can drive it, hike, raft, canoe or even cycle to see this amazing landscape with its great river for yourself. Frequently Asked Questions.

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The Vredefort Dome Unesco World Heritage Site marks the centre of the largest asteroid or comet impact scar on our planet. It was up to 300 km across when it was formed two billion years ago by an explosion equal to millions of atomic bombs.

 
 

Named after the town of Vredefort, the Dome and its surrounding Bergland are a spectacular feature of the Free State and North West provinces of South Africa. The impact brought gold to the surface, exposing the richest deposits Earth. The gold has subsequently shaped the modern history of South Africa.  Embedded in this wild terrain of shattered rocks and African wildlife is the story of how our planet was made and the history of a complex and exciting country.

Don’t miss it for the world!

Guides

Graeme AddisonProf Graeme Addison is a prolific writer on popular science and a Professor of Communication. His books include the 3-volume Edge Series on innovations in South African Science, Engineering, Technology and the Arts, and another work on Fruits of Democracy: Science since Apartheid. He has written on the philosophy of Ubuntu in African business, and authored two books on whitewater rafting and the rivers of the world. Graeme pioneered rafting on SA river by establishing several now-popular routes and designing the famous Croc 2-seater inflatable. He is also keen mountain biker and hiker, ready to do the Dome with you by water, on two wheels, or by foot.

Karen AddisonKaren Addison qualified is a teacher of the deaf. Her love of children took her to several schools throughout the country bringing fun and activity to those who could not hear. She took up trail running and completed numerous endurance marathons such as the Sky Run, War Trail, Mweni loop, and Hermanus to Paarl. After she married Graeme she took up canoeing and was SA Women’s slalom champion. She is a keen birdwatcher and takes school groups on ecology walks along the banks of the Vaal. Karen is a qualified Dome Guide and Hiking Guide, focusing on geology, nature and wildlife. Karen will happily hike with you Dome viewpoints and lead you on longer trails.

Assistants and trainees

Through Adventure Standards Africa we train and qualify tour guides, focusing on adventure tourism. Trainees assist on hikes and Dome tours. Contact us for details of how to get involved.

More about guide training here: AsAfrica.

Activities

By car, foot, boat, bike or on ropes!

There are many ways to do the Dome. Here are some of the activities we offer.  There is also comfortable, quiet accommodation at Otters Haunt on the Vaal: inquire here.

Come summer or winter there’s plenty to do. From hiking to rafting, abseiling to ziplining, cycling to canoeing, you can can choose how to see the Dome and Bergland.

 Drive & walk

Hikers in the Holkrans Cave, an archaeological wonder in the Dome Bergland.

Dome drive briefing

Hiking

A walk in wonderland: the geology, scenery and wildlife of the Dome area are breathtaking.

Hiking briefing.

Come canoeing

Canoeing among the wilderness islands of the Vaal, channels formed in the deep Dome structure.

Tackle the rapids

Whitewater rafting on the Vaal.  The river has eroded and revealed the ancient Dome, exposing a landscape reshaped by impact.

Trail biking

Trail cycling, following routes used by the early Trekkers as they approached the mysterious hills they called Kopjeskraal.

Hang off a cliff

Abseiling: getting up close and personal with the Dome geology.

Contact us to discuss.

Dome Self-Drive

Do the Dome yourself!

Get our self-drive map and 20-page illustrated booklet. You can follow several routes with informative details marked, and read up on background to the Dome story. The booklet covers the planetary science, geology, history, battlefields, archaeology and further resources.

How to get it

Phone or WhatsApp +27 84 245 2490 to arrange to collect the set from us. We are near the entrance to the Dome World Heritage Site at the start of the self-drive routes. When you are here, get the short presentation that explains the lie of the land and what you will see. We do not send the set by email or any other way.

Rich info

Years of research has gone into this unique resource for visitors. Prof Graeme Addison, science writer and passionate local historian, compiled the booklet and map as a quick handy reference.  For those driving, hiking, rafting or cycling in the Dome, points on the map are provided with summary write-ups, and background is given in the booklet.

Talk & walk

You are advised to take the 45-minute  overview presentation which explains what you will be looking at and how the landscape was formed. The Dome story is like a detective novel: we have the body, but whodunnit and how? With a map briefing, videos and a short walk to see features of the Dome on our property, you will leave with a much better grasp of how to use the self-drive kit.

Accommodation

Visit http://otters.co.za/

Inquire: 082 475 9767   info@otters.co.za

Self catering and dog friendly. Fishing, hiking, rafting, canoeing, birdwatching and more activities to suit families, teambuilds and small conferences.

Otters Den guest house overlooks the river. With its pool, braai facilities and several rooms it’s ideal for families and friends.

Comfy Full Moon Cabins have bedding and a kitchen lapa.
Comfy Full Moon Cabins have bedding and a kitchen lapa.

There are several chalets for couples and small families
There are several chalets for couples and small families