2000 Million years ago (how do they figure that out?) a meteorite with a diameter of about 10 km hit what is now known as the Vredefort Dome area. The area was declared a world heritage site in 2005. The ‘ripples’ of hills which remain hold a sense of ancient wisdom, visiting feels like sitting in a grandparent’s lap. We returned home from our weekend at Thabela Thabeng well rested and with an unsolved mystery. On both evenings, low on the horizon saw what looked like a winking star, it stayed in roughly the same position for about 2 hours each time. Through binoculars we saw 3 distinct colours, red, white and green, sort of like a distant plane except that it hardly moved over hours. Does anyone know what it could have been?
Thabela Thabeng has a few walking trails, we did one to the Vaal river and one up a hill which passed an abandoned old gold mine tunnel. The children glowed with excitement as they took the torch into the tunnel where bats swooped around them. It would have been rather good fun to sneak chocolate gold coins in for them to find, they were so certain that they would find treasure.
On the river walk Fjord and I were chatting away, as we passed a spot I heard a loud hissing and turned to see the grass swaying as what must have been a snake slithered from the bath into the bush. I wish tha tI had seen it. This proves that snakes prefer to flee than strike, we must have almost stepped on it.
We stayed in Duiker chalet which is fronted by the parking area and is situated between reception and the main road. I would not particularly recommend this chalet, aside from the location, the children’s loft room is reached by stairs which have no railing on one side. This worried me terribly, we ended up carting the mattresses down to the kitchen area. The mountain chalets look lovely from the outside. On the river walk we saw ‘Rivershade’ chalet which looked very scrappy on the outside, I would not be happy to spend 1K a night to stay there although it is wonderfully isolated and looks over the Vaal river. There is a fence between the chalet and the river. Some changes would make a big difference, it would also be great to have a jetty there for guests to fish from.
Last night we commented how fortunate we were to be enjoying a braai with the sounds of birds and baboons in the nearby bush. Sipping yummy Audacia Shiraz and watching our ‘UFO’.
Memories will flit back to this place of history, natural beauty and bountiful butterflies (there are more butterfly species in the Dome area than the whole of the United Kingdom). Vredefort Dome proves that time heals all. The serene earth was once a place of wounded catastrophe, the dust from the impact would have shrouded the whole earth in mourning for a long time. Today only rock formations reveal the impact of the past while nature exudes peace and tranquility.