What To Do
The following activities / places of interest are of note:
* 4×4 trails
* river rafting
* rock climbing
* Golf Island
* water sports
* art route
The Parys Museum focuses on cultural, historical & geological features. The museum is housed in the old magistrate’s office opposite the Town Hall. The building was erected in 1904 and was built in the architectural style of the short ‘Orange River Colony’-period. On 27 January 1948 the plot and building was bought by the Municipal Council of Parys. It was decided in 1981 to start with the restoration of the building and it was finished in February 1982. The Museum was opened in March 1983 and was declared a national monument in May 1986.
One of the most unique features of Parys is Golf Island, which is only approachable via a suspension bridgeand is home to a spectacular 18-hole golf course, open all year round. The golf course was designed by Cobie Le Grange and it tests the playing ability of golfers while offering them beautiful vistas of the Vaal River. The club hosts weekday and weekend competitions. The contact numbers are tel: (0)56 811 2404 and fax +27 (0)56 811 2405.
World Heritage Site
The Vredefort Structure in the Vredefort/Parys area has been declared South Africa’s 7th International World Heritage Site and is recognized worldwide as the oldest and biggest meteorite impact site. Dating back 2,023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme found on earth so far. With a radius of 190km, it is also the largest and the most deeply eroded.
Vredefort Dome bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event, which caused devastating global change, including, according to some scientists, major evolutionary changes.
The Koppies area is becoming well known for various battlefields as tourist attractions:
* The R82 Battlefield Route from Kroonstad to Greenlands, including the Rooiwal battlefield, has been officially established. Improvements and upgrading of the battlefields were recently undertaken.
* Other sites of significant value are the Vredefortweg Concentration Camp Cemetery (Koppies district).
* As a result of the Boer Matabeli War, the Kwantitise Battlefield, also known as the Vegkop Battlefield (Heilbron area) is considered as a significant tourist attraction.
Koppies Dam Nature Reserve
Koppies Dam and Nature Reserve in the area is the perfect location for water sports, bird and game viewing. Anglers know this dam as a fishing paradise with yellowfish, barbell, mudfish and carp taken in abundance. The reserve extends over an area of 4 300 ha, provides a heaven for anglers. The vegetation consists predominantly of mixed grassveld and dense thickets of sweet thorn trees with willow trees along the Renoster River. White rhino together with other species of wildlife are often encountered and fortunate visitors may spot the large herd of buffalo. Many bird species, including several waterfowl varieties, inhabit this nature reserve. Water sports like windsurfing, sailing, and skiing are very popular. Along the shores of the dam reed and thatch shelters with braai facilities are available to visitors. The shady picnic area, complete with braai facilities, along the Renoster River, is a beautiful retreat.
Heilbron is spreading its wings in a new tourist direction with four farms trading as wine cellars, several guest lodges in town and surrounding areas, hunting opportunities, hiking, fishing and a friendly community providing a holistic package to restore the soul.
Some of the historical sites in Heilbron also include the Voortrekker Centenary Memorial, the Concentration Camp Memorial (more than 2000 woman and children were detained in Heilbron during the Anglo Boer War) and monuments of British Soldiers and the Boers who died in the Anglo Boer War.
The establishment of conservation areas has been prominent in this area.The Ghoya Africa and Frqancolin Creek conservancies were established by two clusters of farmers in the Heilbron District. In an effort to re-establish herds of plains game, in what was traditionally known as the Riemland area, both conservancies are in a process to phase out commercial farming and replacing it with game farming. The long-term objective is that adjacent farm areas should be included in these areas, in future, and the possibility of one big game reserve for the area is not excluded.
The Ghoya Africa Conservancy is situated on the R34, ±12km south of Heilbron en route to Edenville. Facilities in this conservancy are Goedehoop Guest Lodge and Wine Cellar, Simonsig Wine Cellar and Restaurant, Moratuwa Lodge and Stadlerheim Wine Cellar and Restaurant. The Francolin Creek Conservancy is situated approximately 30km east of Heilbron on the S240 en route to Frankfort and offers the Boland and Moreson Cellars and the Francolin Creek Guest Lodge and Conference Centre. Natural wetlands in the area provide ample bird hunting opportunities and professional bird hunting packages are available.
Boskoppie Lion Farm and Private Game Reserve
Boskoppie is located approximately200 km southwest from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. It was established in 1986 to provide a haven for the natural beauty within its borders. The protection and conservation of the natural habitat and wildlife have always been a corner stone of the growth of this private game reserve. The main attraction at Boskoppie is the carnivore breeding project which consists of 70 lions, tigers and jaguars.
Weltevrede Lion Farm
Break away to beautiful sunsets; star filled skies and roaring lions. Accommodation consists of luxurious chalets and cottages. Self-catering is done in a beautiful lapa and small kitchenettes. Tents can be pitched for children to sleep outdoors on request. 14 ha dam in the game reserve where hartebeest, gemsbok, zebra, black wildebeest, blesbok, eland, lion, wild dog, cheetah, bat-eared fox and springbok can be seen. The dam provides excellent fishing opportunity with black bass and carp. Other activities include a 4X4 route. Vaal Dam is nearby for the fisherman and water sport enthusiast.
The town offers an array of interesting attractions, among them the opportunity to view the entire processing of maize products at the Edenville Roller Mills and a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles dating from 1925. The historic sandstone church is a landmark in the town and worth a visit. It forms part of the Sandstone church route.