Parys, Northern Free State
Parys is a charming and typically South African town on the banks of the Vaal River, on the border of the Northern Free State (also called Felize Dabi). Parys also sits on the outer rim of the Vredefort Dome, and is a centre for both the community of the surrounding farms and the numerous holiday resorts that are situated in the islands in the Vaal River. The town’s location on the banks of the Vaal makes it an attractive destination for fly-fishing, white-water river rafting and other boating activities.
Besides water-sports, things to do in Parys include golf at the unique 18-hole Vaal de Grace Golf Estate (also called Golf Island), situated on its own island in the Vaal, as well as hiking, bird-watching, game drives, camping, horse-riding, mountain biking, abseiling and adventure racing – among many other activities. You can also take in an aerial experience in a hot air balloon, explore the geologically unique Vredefort Dome area with informative hikes and geological tours, pet cheetahs at the local cheetah breeding centre or visit the Parys Museum.
A combination of arts, culture and adventure sports offerings in Parys has been amalgamated since 2009 in the 3 day Parys Dome Adventure Festival.
So how did a town that was once a tiny SA farming ‘dorpie’ get named after Paris? The story goes that in the late 1800’s a local land-owner likened the beginnings of the town on the Vaal River to the situation of Paris on the Seine in Europe.
Getting there: Parys is only 100 kms away from Johannesburg. From JHB, take the N1 south from JHB toward Bloemfontein, and turn right on the R59 turn off to Parys.