What are the best things to do Vaal Meander?
“A group of local artists and crafters put their heads together 16 years ago and came up with the Vaal Meander. Today it is a motoring route that showcases local offerings. Furthermore it gives visitors a chance to participate in activities in the area from overnighting to visiting craft factories.” ~ Gauteng Tourism
If it is a road trip that you are looking for, or a weekend getaway, the Vaal Meander may be your ideal route. It has so much to offer its visitors. Ultimately the route brings you arts & crafts, entertainment, culinary experiences, plus nature and adventure. By and large these range from hiking, birding, fishing, boating, water rafting, sky diving, horse riding and more. Therefore begin planning your ultimate road trip with these guidelines. Why not combine a few on a day roadtrip or make a weekend of it? Out There Global compiled some of the top rated venues and activities of the area, and there is something for everyone.
Stonehavon on Vaal
Stonehavon on Vaal is definitely the social scene of the Vaal Meander. In fact with all of its dining options there is something to suit every mood or occasion. These include:
- The Dining Terrace which provides panoramic views of the river.
- Dining around the swimming pool while children enjoy a dip.
- The Wine Cellar and River Pub which extends a friendly atmosphere.
Aside from their beautifully tendered gardens and restaurants, there is also the busy Stonehaven Harbour. You have a selection of cruisers to choose from, ranging from as little as 2, and up to 200 seaters! Full onboard dining can also be arranged for breakfasts, brunches, braais, spits, smorgasbords, picnics, buffets, seafood extravanganzas and cocktail snacks is also catered for. A regular Sunday cruising buffet is also available.
And it doesn’t end there, you can also organise a birding tour along the Vaal and private fishing charters.
Visit Stonehavon for regular updates on events, which also includes live music, potjiekos competitions, festivals and much more.
Stonehaven on Vaal currently has a 4 star TripAdvisor rating from over 200 reviews, plus a collection of other awards.
Cruise n Snooze
Their houseboats along the Vaal Meander are moored in a private lagoon, separated from the main river by an island (30m x 20m). Across from this private island stretches a 500m wide part of the Vaal River with Bird Island in between the banks. In addition to houseboats they also have rondavels along the Vaal available for getaways.
They currently have a 4.5 star Safarinow.com rating from approximately 20 reviews.
For further information visit their website.
Bon AF Berry Farm
Join a guided tour through this berry farm’s beautiful orchards and indulge on over 80 varieties of succulent berries at your own pace. A special container is provided to everyone wishing to pick berries for take-away.
You can pick berries such as: gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, black currants, elderberries, and black nightshade.
And its museum will bring back long forgotten memories…
Bon AF Berry Farm currently has a 4.5 Google review star rating from approximately 20 reviews
Die Plaashuis Winkel
This is an interesting Heidelberg venue which homes a jewelry factory, tea garden, goldsmith tools, and some fine country furniture.
The tea garden serves freshly baked cakes, and Lavatsa coffee. However best of all is its cozy fireplace epecially for the freezing winter months.
In addition to these points of interest a nagmark (nightmarket) takes place quarterly. Selected art works are displayed at the “nagmark” along with tasty traditional & homemade treats. Finally enjoy music via flute, violin, guitar, piano, accordion and talented singers.
Die Plaashuis Winkel has a 4 star TripAdvisor rating from approximately 6 reviews.
Kikis Vintage Photos
Visit a fun studio and dress-up in yesteryear paraphernalia while you capture yourself in a vintage setting! Or browse through their many frames, antique furniture, old treasures and panama hats.
Kikis Vintage Photos currently has a 5 star TripAdvisor rating from approximately 9 reviews.
Gateway Stained Glass
A sought after glass studio in Gauteng offers lessons in stained glass, mosaic, pewter and warm glass (fuzing). Not only lessons, but you can browse their wide range of imported glass and tools.
For further information visit their website
If you are looking for an antique shop along the way. This Emporium has been importing furniture for decades, and thus has a variety of interesting pieces. Moreover through the years they have transformed and expanded into a mini village of luxury living and lifestyle.
Pines Emporium currently has a 4.5 star rating on both Facebook and Tripadvisor
For those after an adrenalin thrill, Skydive Parys is probably what you are looking for. According to Skydive Parys they have the most scenic inland drop zone. From the Parys airfield jumpers can experience spectacular views over the Vaal River & the Vredefort Dome Mountains. And you can skydive solo or tandem, with the reassurance tandem skydiving instructors are qualified professionals with years of experience.
Skydive Parys currently has a 5 star TripAdvisor rating from over 30 reviews.
An array of adventures can be booked through R.E.A.L Adventures. For example archery, abseiling, drumming, inflatable fun, paintball, river rafting and quad biking to mention a few.
Their current website is great in that it is multi media oriented so you can easily watch a clip of the activity that most interests you.
Professional and well trained staff are ready to assist you with your year-end functions, conferencing, romantic retreats, family breakaways, and bachelor/bachelorette party needs.
R.E.A.L Adventures currently has a 4.5 star TripAdvisor rating from approximately 15 reviews.
Three brothers with a passion for adventure set out to create a truly unique African experience. And the result? A highly dedicated adventure company tailored to provide accessible and affordable adventures to the whole family, the bachelor relishing his last night of freedom, or to the corporate company
Adventures include: river rafting / abseiling / paintball / quads / bungee jumping / fly fishing
Earth Adventures currently has a 5 star Google review rating from approximately 10 reviews.
Just outside of Parys, and a great childrens’ venue is this coffee shop and animal farm. Above all children are able to meet and feed various animals in the farm. Ultimately they can even milk a cow, or watch it being done. And for the little ones there are jungle gyms, a sandpit and swings.
Moreover for the gardener stroll through a lovely wheelchair-friendly nursery. Set amidst old rock-walled kraals, with quaint gardens it is the ideal outing.
Oppie Plaas currently has a 4.5 star TripAdvisor rating from approximately 9 reviews and a 4 star Google review rating from over 125 reviews.
Vredefort Dome Meteorite Site
Not only is it the largest and oldest meteorite site in the world, but it is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Actually it is nearly twice as big as the impact that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago! The area is also noteworthy for its incredible concentration and variety of stone-walled Iron Age settlements.
The Vaal River cuts through the northern part of the dome and hiking adventures include both guided and self-guided routes.
- Guided Noko Hiking Trail – 3 days
- Self-guided Rooihaas Hiking Trail – 2 days
- Guided old mine route – 6kms
- self guided Rooihaas-Kruin Trail – 9kms
- Self guided Tygerfontein Trail – 7-9 kms
Other tours and things to do include:
- Geological tour
- General tour giving ovarall insight
- Birding tour
- Horse riding
- History and culture tour
- River rafting
- Exploration cruises
- Mountain Biking – according to the Vredefort Dome Tourism online website the terrain is also suitable for night races. Bikes are available for hire.
Vredefort Dome currently has a 4 star Tripadvisor rating from over 40 reviews
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Meaning Sugar Bush Ridge in Afrikaans it has some great hiking and MTB options for the outdoor enthusiast. Large antelope as well as various species of large mammals roam this reserve.
The following trails are available:
- Paraplegic trail
- Cheetah Interpretive Trail – approximately 4 kms
- Bokmakierie Trail – 10km / 17km option
- Overnight hiking trails
- Motor vehicle tourist route, which is also suitable for cyclists – 60km
Suikerbosrand currently has a 4 star TripAdvisor rating from over 30 reviews and 4.5 star Google rating from over 150 reviews. There is no need to book it, you can just arrive.
Vaal Meander Birding Route
For avid birders the Vaal area is proud of its Vaal Birding Route! Take some time-out along this route and get ready to tick-off your birding bucket-list! According to Bird Life South Africa, “The rich diversity of riverine habitats along the Vaal, the Klip, and the Suikerbos, all contribute to the region. Vaal has a relatively small altitudinal range, from about 1300m to 1900m above sea level. Despite its small area and lack of sub-tropical woodlands, the Vaal has over 360 species of birds. Incidentally they are more easily spotted here than anywhere else.”
Visit here for more info regarding the Vaal Birding Route.
This centre offers visitors a chance to meet their cheetahs. And this while they maintain committed to conservation through breeding, education and reintroduction. Situated on the Vaal Farm Rock, each visit consists of a talk by one of their informative and passionate staff members. They will explain more about the cheetah and what is being done to try and save them from extinction.
Please note however due to strict conservation policies interaction with cheetahs is prohibited. Too, also the venue does not accept credit card or cheques.
The Dell Cheetah Centre currently has a 5 star TripAdvisor rating from 24 reviews
Emerald Resort & Casino
The Emerald Resort & Casino delivers enthralling gaming, memorable entertainment, unforgettable food and luxury accommodation at their Hotel, Safari Lodges, River Resort and Liquid Living Houseboat.
The Liquid Living Houseboat grants guests the opportunity to discover the tranquility of the Vaal in luxury. She is the first luxury Houseboat of its kind to grace the Vaal River and comes fully laden with home style necessities and friendly staff to attend to your every whim.
Activities at the Resort include: adventure golf, animal world, game drives, aquadome, bowling alley, wall climbing and a kids zone.
Emerald Resort & Casino currently has 4 star TripAdvisor rating from over 1000 reviews
Restaurants to consider along the Vaal Meander:
- Black Forest Grill
- The Horse & River Pub
- O’s Restaurant
- Plum Tree Coffee & Art
- The Pickled Pig Ale House
- Vetkoek Paleis & Kerrie Huis, Parys
- Her Majesteas Salon
Vaal Meander info:
For further information in the Vaal Meander contact The tourism office.
For other things to do in Gauteng visit here.
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Tracy Burrows142 Posts
If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel platform for both cost effective and luxury travel ideas around the world. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the LatestSightings.com blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona. Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. Thank you for joining our journey!