Tswaing Meteorite Crater Museum, Pretoria
One of only four meteorite crater museums in the world (the others are in the US, Germany and France) the Tswaing Crater and its museum lie roughly 40 kilometres north of Pretoria. Not only is the Tswaing crater probably one of the best preserved meteorite craters in the world, but it definitely is the most accessible - you can walk right down into the crater.
The Tswaing meteorite crater is one of four known impact craters in South Africa and one of about 170 impact craters in the world. It is similar in size to another crater in Arizona in the US, but unlike Tswaing, one is not allowed to access the bottom of the crater because of the flood of visitors to the site. Tswaing, or Soutpan (salt pan) as it’s also known, lies surrounded by a ring of hills - the walls of the impact left by an asteroid that hit here 200 000 years ago, leaving a crater 100 metres high and a kilometre in diameter. The impact was the equivalent of around 100 atomic bombs similar to that dropped on Hiroshima - all life forms would have vaporised. And it’s regarded as a relatively small impact event, in terms of meteorites!
Alongside the crater, which must be acknowledged is the main attraction here, lies the museum, with a pathway adjoining the two. The crater is admittedly rather hot, particularly in summer despite the lake that dominates the centre of the crater, but the area around the salt pan is covered in indigenous trees and bushes and the bird life here is worth visiting.
Stay OvernightTswaing Meteorite Crater
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