Parys, Free State, South Africa

Parys, Free State, South Africa.

Parys which was founded in 1887 lies in the Vredefort Dome, which is an area hit by a massive meteorite in ancient times (geologists speculate that this happened about 250 million years ago). The resulting crater is about 42km in diameter.

This charming little town is only about an hour's drive from Johannesburg and it is rapidly becoming quite a fashionable residential area. Commuters claim the peace and quiet are worth the drive.

It's an interesting town with lots of artists, coffee shops and the general sort of thing you would expect in a small country town that is in the process of being taken over by creative rat-race refugees.

But there is more. The Vaal River runs right past the town, and there are some excellent rapids here. There is a gentle, one day canoe trip and, a bit lower down, is the venue of the South African white water rodeo championships.