Southern Africa has a habit of playing host to many 'world's biggest', 'world's oldest', 'world's most...'. It's a region of amazing things found nowhere else in the world, one of which is the world's largest evidence of Earth's collision with an object from deep space.
The Vredefort Dome (sounding a little like a location from a Mad Max movie) is in fact the world's biggest meteorite crater. The original meteorite would have been at least 10km, perhaps 15km wide and on impact would have created a crater 20km deep and over 300km wide. If you'd been living in Vredefort at the time (and that would have been a challenge as this happened 4 million years ago) you would have ended up being buried rather more deeply in the earth's crust than modern conventions dictate. In fact the crater is so enormous and the meteorite buried so deep that the crater was only 'discovered' from space in the 1990s (it has been thought until then that it was a volcano).
These days, after considerable erosion, the crater is only 70km wide but the town of Vredefort sits right in the middle of the 'plug'. It's a beautiful area, sitting on the banks of the broad Vaal River and was the site of a gold rush in the 1880s so abounds with history.
If you'd like to visit this marvel, you can stay at Thabela Thabeng which is only100km from Johannesburg and lies in the midst of the Vredefort Dome near the Vaal River. The chalets are built on the edge of a deep kloof in the mountains and fireplaces for winter warmth and balconies with magnificent views provide a welcome break away from the hassle of everyday life. It's basic but well equipped accommodation with each chalet being fully equipped for self-catering. Activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, stargazing, bow shooting, abseiling and much more.
Rates are a total bargain at R1 250 per night $85 / £69 / €83