Just 16kms from Hermanus is the small village of Stanford in the Western Cape. We stopped by to get some braai supplies one evening in December. You can drive past in the blink of an eye but I do know that next time I’m in the area, I want to explore a bit more.
It has quaint little shops, galleries, restaurants and coffee shops. Along with historical building which reveals its English heritage, the village surrounds a small square where events are often held on weekends.
Things to do include brewery tours and tastings, gin tours and tastings, cheese shops and walking trails. There are a bunch of emerging vineyards, and is a birdwatchers paradise – this is where you can glimpse the endangered Blue Crane, South Africa’s national bird.
There’s a small town about 120kms south of Joburg that has a name uncannily similar to a more famous European spot which has a famous steel structure as its centrepiece.
Well, let me tell you that Parys has better than just a famous steel structure as a centrepiece. It is…a centrepiece! This small town is located IN the Vredefort structure…aka an upside dome, more popularly known as a crater.
2023 million years ago a meteor with a diameter of 10kms came hurtling through the cosmos and collided with earth at 30 000kms per hour creating an indentation 300kms wide. It’s the largest meteor impact site scientists have found on our beautiful planet and 2x larger than the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
This makes it the older crater yet found on earth. And because of all that, it’s been named a World Heritage Site, South Africa’s 7th.
The Vredefort Dome is only the central part of the impact crater. It is called a dome because the rock layers were bent into the shape of an upside-down bowl 90km across by the impact. (Source)
The red star on the map shows where it is in South Africa.
It stretches all the way to Joburg. As you can see, Parys is in the core of the structure.
The Vaal River, one of South Africa’s strongest flowing rivers, flows across the dome with Parys situated on its banks. Along its banks are also many picturesque resorts – some years ago Che and I stayed at one of them – the Carrieblaire River Retreat.