What to do in Fezile Dabi

Ghoya Africa

The Ghoya Africa conservancy is situated on the R34 ± 12 km south of Heilbron en route to Edenville. An authentic Namibian German pub on the farm Enkelbos in the same area provides a variety on the eco theme of the conservancy. The butchery at Enkelbos sells braai packs, while braai facilities as well as picnic spots are available at different points in the conservancy.

Francolin Creek

The Francolin Creek Conservancy is situated approximately 30 km east of Heilbron on the S240 on the route to Frankfort. Natural wetlands in the area provide ample bird hunting opportunities. An interesting conference facility in a renovated barn makes this an ideal venue for a small company “bosberaad” or breakaway.The two conservancies offer a variety of eco-tourism activities which includes hiking (overnight and day routes, horse riding, game viewing, bird-watching, mountain biking, 4X4 routes and controlled bow hunting. A range of accommodation from guesthouses to rustic tent and bush camps and overnight huts on hiking trails are available at both conservancies.

Parys Golf Island

One of the most unique features of Parys is Golf Island, which is only approachable via a suspension bridge and is home to a spectacular 18-hole golf course, open all year round. The suspension bridge was constructed in 1919 and built high enough to allow access to the island, even when the river is in flood.

Riemland Wine Route

The Riemland Wine Route, and eco-tourism retreat is the initiative of a group of landowners in the Riemland region in the Northern Free State. It includes the signing of agreements with three leading Boland cellars to open bulk sales outlets at two registered conservancies. The wine route runs between the Boland Cellar trading as Francolin Creek Cellar on the farm Dipkraal to Louisenhof Cellar trading as Goedehoop Cellar on the farm Goedehoop. These Free State wine cellars are accommodated in renovated and isolated barns according to wine cellar standards and requirements. The total wine route covers approximately 50 km and can easily be visited during a one-day visit.

Vaal Dam

The Vaal Dam, known as the Highveld’s island sea, this vast expanse of water covers some 300 square miles, and is the yachting mecca for its landlocked neighbours. The biggest inland regatta in South Africa, “Around the Island Race”, is held on the Vaal Dam annually in January. With four yacht clubs, boat chandlers, boat builders and repair yards, Deneysville on the banks of Vaal Dam are the home of yachting enthusiasts. For those not fortunate to have their own sailboat to explore the vast surface of the Vaal Dam, there is a chartered yacht service that can accommodate up to 25 persons per trip. Allow 3 – 4 hours for a yacht trip on the dam. Upmarket country accommodation with excellent cuisine or quaint self-catering facilities available.

The Vaal Dam Nature Reserve on the Northern bank has typical highveld’s vegetation. The dam supports barbell, carp and yellow fish and attracts many bird species, including yellow-billed duck, coot, great white egret, Egyptian goose and fish eagle.

A small but interesting conference facility inside the dam wall offers and unusual venue for conference and meetings. Bookings must be done at the Department of Water Affairs (Tel: (016) 371-1121)

Vredefort Dome

The Vredefort Structure in the Vredefort/Parys area has been declared South Africa’s 7th International World Heritage Site and is recognised worldwide as the oldest and biggest meteorite impact site. It has become an important study field for geologists from over the world.

Vredefort Dome, approximately 120km south west of Johannesburg, is a representative part of a lager meteorite impact structure, or 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 changes. It provides critical evidence of the earth geological history and is crucial to our understanding of the evolution of the planet. Despite their importance of the planet’s history, geological activity on the earth’s surface has led to the disappearance of evidence from most impact sites and Vredefort is the only example on earth to provide a full geological profile of an astrobleme below the crate floor.

The vast lunated 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. 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 favorable frost-free climate, the region is also rich in plant, wild and bird life.