PARYS 20 Oct. 2019 33 °C
Wind: 5.28 mph
Humidity: 9% Pressure: 1007.59 hPa
Mon 35 °C 17 °C
Tue 33 °C 13 °C
Wed 33 °C 16 °C
Thu 36 °C 13 °C
Fri 36 °C 16 °C

DMS S 26° 56' 56.764'' E 27° 19' 23.218''

PARYS 20 Oct. 2019 33 °C
Wind: 5.28 mph
Humidity: 9% Pressure: 1007.59 hPa
Mon 35 °C 17 °C
Tue 33 °C 13 °C
Wed 33 °C 16 °C
Thu 36 °C 13 °C
Fri 36 °C 16 °C

Meteorite Hiking Trail - Vredefort Dome

Meteorite Hiking Trail

The Meteorite Hiking Trails is a system of about 60km of trails offering a variety of hiking choices. Short circular routes and full day hikes from any of the base camps are possible, as well as hiking tours of anything from 2 to 5 or more days in length, with en route accommodation in 4 camps. The average distance between the camps is 8km, and the trails vary between easy to moderately difficult.

Offering beautiful views of the Vredefort Dome from high ridges, the trails, situated in the south-western part of the Dome, lead the visitor to a variety of secluded and untouched areas which are equally interesting from the historical, geological and natural perspectives. The highest point in the Free State Dome lies on the route, as well as a long stretch of riverine forest on the Vaal riverbank. In between, rock paintings and remnants from the Boer War and the gold mining may be seen. The trails traverse a variety of habitats ranging from bushveld through forest to high rocky ridges, where naturally occurring game, birds and indigenous plants are an attraction.


The Vredefort Dome


This newest Natural World Heritage site of South Africa is the oldest and largest meteorite impact site in the world. The landscape of this important geological site came into being about 2023 million years ago when an enormously large body of rock, an asteroid of about 10 km in diameter, struck the earth where the town of Vredefort lies today. During the ensuing time, much of the upper strata has been removed by erosion. The characteristic circular structure of the Dome originated from the once horizontal rock layers that have been turned through more than 90 degrees by the impact, the harder strata forming the ridges, while the softer material was eroded to form the valleys in between. The area has long been an important study field for geologist all over the world and is currently attracting much attention from scholars in all fields. Incidentally, the name of the area is derived from a geological term: The word dome is used to describe the upwelling of (mostly) granite to the surface.


The landscape is dominated by the high concentric ridges covered largely with naturally occurring bushveld vegetation. Although host to only a few endemic species, the area boasts extraordinary plant and animal communities not found elsewhere. One may see mountain reedbuck, duiker, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, kudu, warthog, jackal, caracal and brown hyena, as well as leopard. Many bird species occur, from fish eagles and the heron family at the river to the ubiquitous guinea fowl and corn birds. More than 50 tree species occur, such as jacket plum, sweet thorn, cabbage tree and wild olive.


Handy Hints

  • Plan your hiking trip well. Study the map and acquaint yourself with structural elements of the route like crossings, landmarks and directions.
  • Confirm your destination. If you know the name and general direction of your destination, you will immediately realise something is wrong when you notice the wrong name on a signpost or if you walk in the wrong direction.
  • Always stay on the route. This way, you always know where you are and are able to communicate your position in emergencies. There are three types of route markers: Markers on the trees have a black footprint against a white background. On rocks, yellow paint marks show the route. Signposts show the direction of the camps or other destinations. These posts are numbered, and the numbers are indicated on the map.
  • Never follow jeep tracks or roads. The route may cross such roads, but never follows them.
  • If you are lost, return to the last route marker and search for the next one, which you should find within about 50 metres. If you have reception, phone for help. Never follow an unmarked road or path.


The Accommodation


The three camps on the route offer amenities that may vary in certain aspects.


All camps supply beds with mattresses, toilets, bathrooms with hot water and showers, cooking facilities with pots and pans, barbeque areas with firewood, and potable running water. Water is not available on the trails.


At some of the overnight facilities, additional to the above, there is electricity, optional bedding, cutlery and crockery, toilet paper, or access to a swimming pool.


The Climate


This is a summer rainfall area. Days may become very hot in summer, and nights may be very cold in winter. Winter is a good time for hiking due to the stable weather and attractions like the aloe blooms in August. It is wise to carry insect repellent, since in summer, ticks are prevalent.


Rules and Regulations


Upon your booking, you undertake to abide by the rules of this hiking trail. Trespassing may lead to prosecution.


  • The environment may not be disturbed in any way. This includes: Disturbing or feeding of animals, removing of plant material, including dead wood or plants, the removal of geological or archaeological samples or taking souvenirs.
  • No disturbance with noise of any nature is permitted, whether on the route or at the camps. In particular, loud shouting or the use of radios, television sets or any other equipment generating sound is prohibited. Certain camps form part of entertainment venues, where limited use of such equipment is allowed.
  • Using the trail at night is prohibited. No lights stronger than normal flashlights may be used at night. Any activity after 10 pm is prohibited.
  • Do not leave the marked trails. In particular, no shortcuts may be taken, since this leads to erosion. The trail sometimes passes precipices and cliffs, where your safety is guaranteed on the trail only.
  • In this area, there is acute danger of fire for most of the year. Therefore, no fires of any nature are permitted on the trail, including the use of camping stoves. At the camps, fires may be made only in the designated fireplaces.
  • No firearms are allowed.
  • Arrival at or departure from a campsite should be before 8 pm or after 8 am, unless an exception has been agreed upon with the relevant camp owner.
  • No littering of any nature is permitted. This includes organic waste such as peels, which cause optic pollution. Please carry out all your waste. Ensure that the campsite is tidy upon departure.
  • Use water sparingly. Only scarce artesian water is available.
  • All outstanding fees are payable before arrival. Admission only with a valid permit.
  • The Vredefort Dome Meteorite Hiking Trails are situated in a World Heritage Site. All rules and regulations applicable to the Heritage Site must be observed.
  • The owners do not accept liability for any injury or loss. Visitors hike or swim at own risk. Parking at own risk.


If getting close to nature is in your blood and you are looking for a hiking trail that is close to Gauteng - then look no further. We are sure that one of the trails that form part of the Meteorite Hiking Trail will meet your needs and deliver.


We look forward to hearing from you should you require any further details.