Vredefort Impact Crater, South Africa

The Vredefort Impact Crater is the largest verified impact crater on earth. It is found in South Africa's Free State Province and aptly named after the town of Vredefort which is close to its center.

The crater was more than 300 kilometers in diameter( across) when it was formed, but has since been eroded away over the last more than 2 billion years. Vredefort Crater is the second oldest impact crater on earth.

The meteorite impact that created the Vredefort crater is the biggest geologists have found so far and is estimated to be close to double the impact that killed dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. Around this time, it is estimated that the only living organisms on earth were algae.

The Vredefort Dome, it the most popular and central part of the crater. The impact of the meteorite bent the rock into a shape that resembles an upside-down bowl of 90 kilometers in diameter.

Activities

On your visit to the Vredefort Crater, you can enjoy any of the following activities.

  • Meteorite Trail
  • Hiking
  • Bird Watching
  • Rock paintings in the "Rain Snake" Dyke
  • Educational tour for geologists
  • Vredefort Dome tour
  • Local History and Culture
  • Mountain Biking
  • Picnicking 
  • canoeing

When To Visit

You can visit Vredefort Crater at any time of the year. Since the visit can be combined with other areas in South Africa such as Kruger National Park or Cape Town, the best overall time would be in the summer months when you can spend much time outside.

Getting There

Vredefort Dome, the major tourist attraction of the Impact crater is located about 100 kilometers from Johannesburg - South Africa's largest city. There are very many local, regional and international flights into Johannesburg on a daily basis and the drive to Vredefort would take you not more than 2 hours.

Where To Stay

The Vredefort dome attracts many tourists both local and international for a chance to lay eyes on this physical reminder of a time before life as we know it. This has led to the development of good accommodation and other tourist infrastructure.

While visiting Vredefort, you can easily choose from more than 80 hotel and lodge options at various price points and luxury offerings.