Parys, Free State - One wouldn’t normally associate the Free State with a favoured holiday destination, especially Parys.
But with the rand dwindling against international currencies, many South Africans are now taking a Sho’t Left and heading inland.
There are so many undiscovered gems waiting to be explored in this northern Free State town. We’ve got ten interesting places to explore over the weekend, and the best thing is that it’s less than an hour’s drive from Joburg!
The Vredefort Dome is probably one of the Free State’s most recognisable attractions. It’s the centre of the world’s largest meteorite impact structure. According to its official website, the meteorite impact made a crater that was about 300km wide (from Johannesburg to Welkom!) A number of tours are offered on site and are divided into different categories for anyone interested in learning more.
Visit www.vredefortdome.org/ for more info
Lay your head down
The name says it all - Die Blikhuis is a quirky, rustic guesthouse offering serviced rooms with a shared kitchen. The quirky aspect? Almost everything is made from zinc, with vintage tins and cans displayed in the most imaginative way.
For bookings visit: www.dieblikhuis.com/
Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you. If you favour the edge of your seat excitement, Skydive Parys offers parasailing, paragliding and other outdoor activities. They don’t call Parys SA’s adventure capital for nothing and skydiving should definitely be on your to-do list.
Snap it up
In the age of selfies and Instagram, Kiki’s Vintage Photo Studio is a breath of fresh vintage air. Customers get to play dress up in vintage clothes while creating old fashion memories. If you’re into old-school photography, you can’t give it a miss.
The River Spa lies on the banks of the Vaal River, the perfect spot to relax and unwind. The spa’s treatment menu concentrates on all the elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Booking is essential, so be sure to make your appointment before visiting the town.
Oppie Plaas Parys is the place to visit if you’re after authentic Free State food for the soul. It’s also a great place for the kids to run wild and feed the local farm animals. Situated into the Vredefort Dome world heritage site just outside Parys, the coffee shop offers breakfast, light meals and old-fashioned ginger beer.
One of the town’s architectural gems is the Parys Museum. It gives a clear history of the town and its surrounding areas. The curator can also give you tips on which other historical buildings to visit in the area.
All things vintage
What’s the use of visiting a town steeped in history without visiting one of its vintage treasure troves? Parys is known for its quirky, vintage finds, and Fraai is just the places to get lost in it all. Stocking a collection of hand-crafted jewellery and charming knick-knacks, Fraai is worth a visit.
Walk with cheetahs
The Dell Cheetah Centre is a small non profit organisation situated just outside of Parys. The team is passionate and committed to saving the cheetah from extinction. They offer guided walking tours, but unfortunately no kids under 12 are allowed into the cheetah enclosure. Bookings are essential.
A river runs through it
The Vaal is the country’s longest river. In Dutch it means ‘dull’ in reference to its murky colour. But don’t let this put you off - it offers the perfect backdrop to those Instagram-worthy sunset pics. And what better way to end off your weekend than sharing sundowners with friends and family on its beautiful banks?
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