Things To Do in ParysKommandonek Hike
Where? Start and finish at Kommandonek farm, just outside Parys on the Vredefort road to Schoemansdrift.
When? Booking is essential.
How? Call +27 (0)82 887-1312
How much? Price on request
Start: Kommandonek farm, just outside Parys on the Vredefort road to Schoemansdrift
Finish: Kommandonek farm
Duration: a leisurely day hike
Fitness: moderate; there is an initial steep climb to the blockhouse, but thereafter it is all on the flat
Our tip: it can get really hot during summer; take enough water with you.
Kommandonek is a private wild life sanctuary where the road meets the Vaal River, right in the middle of the Vredefort Dome, where a meteor the size of Table Mountain left an impact some two billion years ago resulting in a huge crater, much of which survives today. The dome is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its unique geomorphology and geology.
Kommandonek is home to over 150 different animal species, but no predators, which makes walking the reserve safe. The scenery is incredible. The Vaal River, though not as old as the crater, is nonetheless one of the world's oldest rivers. The mountain land that is the Vredefort is folded into a series of deep valley and kloofs and it is through one of these, known today as Goose Canyon, that the Vaal flows, in a north-westerly direction.
From its bend near Parys the Vaal flows through the narrows known as Kommandonek, a very obvious outcrop of quartzite rock from which the farm takes its name. Kommandonek, as its name implies, was used as an observation site during Anglo Boer skirmishes.
The initial part of the hike follows an old path up to the top of what is known as a meteorite 'ripple' - a feature in the landscape caused by the impact. Up here the views in all directions are well worth the slog – Parys, Vredefort and the Vaal River.
Once up at the top there are a couple of choices available to the hiker. Either you can continue up and on to the dam, or you can head down through the valley, past small herds of plains game.
An interesting aside for those interested in the geology of the dome: just short of 4 km north of the Kommandonek Game Reserve is an impact-induced fold and view site, known as Parson's Rus. You need permission from Habula Lodge to use the hiking trail to the fold in the Hospital Hill quartzites on the northwestern collar of the dome.