The Vredefort Dome
Vredefort “Fort of Peace” is situated approximately 126km South of Johannesburg. This rural town is known throughout the world for geological formations called the Vredefort Structure.
The lunar landscape of this very important geological site was caused by a giant meteorite of approximately 10km in diameter, which hit the earth 2000 million years ago at the spot where the small rural town of Vredefort is situated today. Today the site is recognized worldwide as the largest and the oldest meteorite impact site on earth.
The inner rim of the Dome stretches over 42 km with at least three rings extending outwards. Deep gorges appear between the ridges where water streams flow and eventually join the Vaal River.
A panoramic view over the Vaal River valley and surrounding plains can be obtained from the ridges. The Dome area differs drastically from the flat plains of the Northern Free State and the North West Province. Except for a favourable frost-free climate, the region is also rich in plant, wild and bird-life.
This site was declared a world heritage site by an UNESCO meeting held in Durban, South Africa on 13 July 2005 effectively declaring the importance of preserving the area.