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Tswaing Meteorite Crater

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45km from Pretoria

-25.4088, 28.0829

 

+27 76 945 5911 www.ditsong.org.za

About

Barely 40km north of Pretoria is the place where a meteor the size of half a soccer field, travelling at 4 000km per hour, hit the earth and vaporised on impact – 200 000 years ago. This remarkable ancient meteor impact crater awaiting inclusion in the World Heritage List, is Tswaing.

The meteor hit the earth with an impact equivalent to about 100 atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It created a hollow 1.4km wide and 200m deep. The devastation was terrific. At the point of impact - an area spanning 3km - all life forms, rock and the meteorite itself, would have vaporised. A wider area of 1 000m² would have been completely flattened.

Tswaing is not only one of the best-preserved meteorite craters in the world, it’s one of the most accessible. The Setswana people named it "Place of Salt", or Tswaing, because the bottom of the crater harbours a salt pan that was mined until the late 1950s.

The crater site covers some 2 000ha. To the east is the Soutpanspruit, an extensive wetland system with many streams and islands. It is an excellent place for bird watching. Activities at Tswaing include hiking, mountain biking, guided walks and 4x4 trails to explore the now tranquil surrounds of this once dramatic impact site. Camping sites and self-catering chalets are provided.

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