I joined a group of friends to go rafting with Earth Adventures on the Vaal River in Parys, within the Vredefort Dome in the Northern Free State, about 120km from Johannesburg (just over an hour drive).
The Vredefort Dome is a World Heritage site as a 10km wide asteroid struck it 2020 million years ago, at a speed of 30000 kph, creating the world’s oldest and largest crater. You can still see the effect today, as the hills in the area resemble a ripple effect, just like a stone being thrown into water.
The Vaal River offers grade 1 to 3 rapids near Parys. It is better to go in the rainy season (Nov – Feb) when water levels are higher, for more exciting rafting (when the rapids are greater in size).
Short video I took with my GoPro on one of the rapids:
If you choose to go white water rafting with Earth Adventures:
- Expect to be on the water for about 3 hours (but book out 5 hours for transport to the start & training)
- Raft 10+km
- Bring food and drinks with you. This will be stored in a sealed plastic bin within one of the rafts. You get to eat your lunch half-way through the trip, in your raft on the river.
- Check one of the local voucher websites (e.g. Groupon or Daddy’s Deals) for specials.
- Wear sun block (remember to put some on your legs also)
After your rafting adventure, you could chill out / go fishing on the Vaal river by Mimosa Park, in Parys.