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Tswaing Nature Reserve and Impact Crater, Gauteng

About 40km north of Pretoria, still within the municipal boundaries of Tshwane, you’ll find a crater formed by a meteorite that crashed there over 220 000 years ago. The whole area is now a nature reserve and is one of the top birding destinations in Gauteng.

Pictures by Charl Steenkamp


The Tswaing Nature Reserve is centred around a 220 000 year old asteroid crater that is clearly visible and identifiable even from the ground. The rim is a 100m high circle of hills, with a diameter of 1km, and in the middle of the crater a salt lake has given the crater its name: Tswaing means Place of Salt in Setswana.

The small shallow lake was ‘mined’ for its mineral salt for thousands of years by local tribes and later commercially up until the declaration of the reserve. Evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age settlements have been found in the area around the lake.




The Tswaing Crater Trail is a circular 7.2 km self-guided trail, very popular among birders, which will take you right around the crater and even down to the crater floor. It takes about 3 hours to complete and interest points along the route are clearly marked. There are various viewpoints of the crater along the route.


Tswaing is rated as one of the top birding destinations in Gauteng and has, according to Birdlife Northern Gauteng, over 320 bird species. There are a variety of habitats, which include woodlands and wetlands.


  • Picnic site
  • Guided Walks
  • Group Accommodation
  • Camping
  • Venue Hire for corporate functions and special events
Opening Times

Monday to Sunday: 07:30 – 16:00
Closed on Good Fridays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and January 1st.


Tel: 012 000 0041, 076 9455 911


Address: Plat 149 JR Soutpan. Tswaing is situated on the M35, Soutpan Road.


The reserve lies 40km north of Pretoria. Take the N1 north from Johannesburg/Pretoria and follow the Zambezi Road off-ramp. Turn left at the crossroads. Where the road splits, take the right-hand road then turn left at the Apies River toward Onderstepoort. Follow the Tswaing/Soutpan signs.

Alternatively routes are via the N1 (turn off at the Wallmannsthal off-ramp) or the R80 towards Soshanguve.

GPS Co-ordinates: 25° 24′ 32″ S, 28° 4′ 58″ E



Pretoria Nature & Outdoors Local Information Pretoria’s top nature reserves

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