Looking to get out of the city for a quick and quiet country break?
Located an hour’s drive from Gauteng, Parys is the ideal destination for peace and relaxation, with plenty of activities to keep you busy.
Mountain View Country Lodge is a comfortable and convenient base from which you can explore the area. It’s located 10km from the town of Parys, in proximity to the Vredefort Dome, Claireberrie Bird Sanctuary, the Bon-Af Berry Farm, and restaurants, cafes, and farm stalls.
With the Vaal River running through Parys, the region is known as a fly fishing territory. Spend an afternoon fishing while listening to the cries of Fish Eagles in the distance.
More about Parys
Situated on the banks of the Vaal River in the Free State, Parys is no sleepy little town. With a wide range of activities and beautiful locations, it is a true gem that is conveniently close to Gauteng.
Parys was named after the city of love by a German surveyor called Schilbach, who was present at the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and was reminded of the River Seine when he first saw the Vaal.
Parys' European namesake is especially celebrated in the Le Petit Paris Secret Passage, a little courtyard off the main road that has a few lovely shops.
You can find everything from handmade handbags to antiques, a gentlemen's outfitter and a home industry shop. Buy a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere while imagining that you're in Paris.
A fascinating World Heritage Site
If quaint shops aren't your thing, you can visit the Vredefort Dome, a World Heritage Site created by a meteorite impact about 2023 million years ago, resulting in a crater about 300km wide (the distance from Johannesburg to Welkom).
Fun fact: Parys’ Leeukop Quarry is the only place on earth where you will find pink granite, which is a direct result of the meteorite.
The dome is South Africa's 7th World Heritage Site, and every year, on the first weekend of November, the Parys Dome Adventure Festival takes place. The fun outdoor festival offers craft stalls, adventure activities, sports and music.
You can't see the crater that well from the ground, but you can still see interesting soil upheavals and rock formations, or even have a guide teach you more. If you're brave and you really want to get a good look at the crater, you can also see it from up high while skydiving.
The Vredefort Dome: the largest and oldest meteorite site in the world – formed when a gigantic meteorite collided with the earth 200 million years ago. The impact opened up a crater about the size of Table Mountain, spanning 40 kilometres in diameter. Visitors are welcome to walk around the perimeter - wear shoes because it’s hot underfoot.
Abseiling: abseil down vertical rock faces at various points around The Vredefort Dome.
Birding: there are ample bird watching opportunities at Carryblaire River Retreat, a registered bird sanctuary featuring 450 species, including Goliath herons, paradise flycatchers, spotted eagle owls, cardinal woodpeckers, black-chested prinias, and Fish Eagles, to name a few.
Whitewater rafting and kayaking: If you want a bit of adventure but you're not too fond of heights, you can also try rafting. Parys is the only place along the Vaal where you can find rapids, which makes it great for water sports enthusiasts.
Black raspberry picking: if you're a fruit fan, you'd be interested to learn that South Africa's only black raspberries are found on a berry farm 20km from Parys. You can enjoy picking berries straight off the bush between March and November. Seventeen kilometres from Parys, near Venterskroon, you can also find the largest wild olive forest in South Africa.
Interact with cheetahs: animal lovers can’t miss the Dell Cheetah Centre between Parys and the N1. The breeding center is aimed at conservation and you can learn about the animals while watching feeding time. If you are lucky, you will get the chance to feed the cubs as well as play with them.
Play a round of golf: golf lovers should definitely bring a set of clubs along and visit Golf Island - a special 9-hole golf course built across the 1919 suspension bridge.
About Mountain View Country Lodge
The lodge offers farm-style accommodation in picturesque surrounds. The rooms are elegantly furnished and open plan with an ensuite bathroom (toilet, shower, and basin). There is a communal station where guests can make use of a microwave, kettle, crockery and cutlery.
For more info about the lodge, please visit their website.
Brakfontein Part 40/41
Pin location for Mountain View. Look out for Orange wall with Green writing that reads Gesondheids Sentrum. Turn right into 2 spoor gravel road if you come from Parys. If you come from Fochville side turn left at orange wall. Go 700m straight till you get to black electrical gate. Take gate to right of black elecktrick gate that will be open and go around to back. Park under shadeport.