Talks and tours

CONTACT
Graeme, mobile:
+27 84 245 2490
Karen, mobile:
+27 82 475 8767
Tel/fax: +27 56 8181814
Based at Otters' Haunt, Kopjeskraal Road, opposite Parys, North West Province, South Africa

The Dome is so big it can only be seen from space - as in the image here (false colour highlighting the features). Come to our Vredefort Dome information centre to learn all about the mightiest asteroid impact of them all. The Unesco World Heritage Site draws tourists, school and student groups, scientists and adventurers. We are 2km from the town of Parys, on the Vaal River in central South Africa. Get hold of us to arrange your visit and plan a tour to suit your interests - from geology to battlefields, from driving and hiking to cycling and rafting.
Stay at Otters' Haunt Wonderful riverside accommodation in the Dome with direct access to many sites of interest.

Tour options

The Dome is extremely scenic with its ring of mountains, the Bergland, and the picturesque Vaal River running through it. Ecotourism in all its forms is flourishing.

  • All kinds of talks, tours and trails are offered from Otters’ Haunt. You can do the Dome in a car, on foot, by boat and on a cycle. Ask about the options from just an hour to several days.

Various kinds of tours:

The average visitor, from South Africa or abroad, has heard about the Dome and is curious about what it is, where it is, and what it all means. Here I try to give a general overview, starting with the geology and astronomy (the asteroid and its impact on the Earth) and then sketching the story of the Witwatersrand gold, the evolution of life on the planet, and the tale of human origins, cultures and migrations, down to the battlefields of modern times. This general introduction to the Spirit of Place serves to excite further interest, and visitors go away with their appetite whetted for more.

Halfday and fullday tours. Minimum booking 4, maximum 22. Tell us what interests you and we’ll customise the tour. Many groups come just seeking a general idea and an overview of all the themes below. That’s fine, and we’re happy to inform you. A FREE Dome Booklet may help you to follow up on your interests.

School tours are definitely taking off, as World Heritage Sites are in the curriculum. Thanks to the interest of educators in geography, history and biology we get busloads of youngsters aged anything from 8 to 18, many of whom have never done a nature tour in their lives. We try to interest them in the environment and in the marvellous scientific investigations that have led to our current knowledge of the Dome. When we show videos of the destructive force of asteroids, the kids are gripped – and realise that the fate of humankind hangs on science and engineering to steer dangerous asteroids away from our planet.

Schools may bring up to 60 learners. We then separate into groups to deal with special aspects of your discipline. Learning about the Dome geology, the river ecology, and  local history&culture is one popular package. Combine your geography, biology or history tour with a hike or whitewater rafting. Halfday and fullday educationals and adventures. FREE booklets.

Battlefields. The Dome is also the “Crater of Conflict” and we have developed a number of halfday, fullday and 2-3 day tours of this area covering the vast number of warfare sites. From ancient times, skirmishes have been fought over access to the Vaal River and the excellent grazing in this area (now the “Maize triangle” of SA). The Dome Bergland was used for refuge from enemies. During the late 18th and early 19th century, intense turmoil uprooted many tribes in the mfecane or “winnowing”. The Zulu chieftain Mzilikazi led his impi through the interior and and was soon followed by Voortrekkers from the Cape. Their major battles opened an era of warfare extending for a century and still simmering in various forms of insurgency. Come and see for yourself.

One-day, 2 days and 3 day tours.The area is vast and you may need to make a selection from certain warfare periods – eg the Matabele-Voortrekker Wars (1836), the Gold Rush (1878), the Anglo-Boer Wars (1880, 1899), the Rebellion (1914), the Miners’s Strike (1922), the OssewaBrandwag (1939), the anti-apartheid struggle (1960). FREE booklets.

Heritage and humanity. Increasingly, academics and students are realising that both the Cradle of Humankind, the other World Heritage Site just to the north, and the Dome, tell a connected story. Human fossils and current realities merge when one examines the facts about how various peoples have criss-crossed this landscape as hunter-gatherers, herders, invaders, colonists, gold-diggers, guerillas, administrators, builders and business investors.  The architecture of the Dome reveals a vast mix of cultures. The growth of ecotourism shows that this area just south of the industrial heartland of Gauteng occupies a special place in South Africa’s wildlife and adventure offerings. The beautiful Vaal River is one of its biggest drawcards.

Museums, archaeological sites, fashion, arts and crafts, antique stores, historical transport routes and much more can be covered. Again, let us know what interests you and we’ll design the tour for you. FREE booklets.

Specialists and researchers of all kinds come here alone or with student groups to study the area. Geologists, botanists and zoologists, archaeologists, astronomers and many more are on their own missions. We can’t duplicate what they know about their own specialities but we can facilitate their visits because we know the ground and have the contacts.

Customised tours. Here we undertake prior research where necessary and will pinpoint sites of interest for certain disciplines, ranging from geology and planetary science to history and battlefields, archaeology and local cultures. Research notes & sources are prepared.

Contact us to discuss.  impact@vdome.co.za or +27 84 245 2490