Tswaing Nature Reserve

Contact Details
  • +27 (0)12 790 2302

Description

The Twaing Nature Reserve, located outside of Temba, is a 1946 hectare conservation area around 40km northwest of Pretoria in Gauteng. It is best known for the ancient crater that was left when a 50m-wide meteor struck the ground here over 220,000 years ago. Tswaing means 'Place of Salt' because of the salt lake that formed in the 200m deep crater, and the salt pans around the lake. The area is well developed for tourists.

A fiery meteorite the size of half a football field hit the earth’s crust and formed a crater about 1.4km in diameter and 200m deep. This crater, formerly known as the Pretoria Saltpan (or Zoutpan), is one of the best preserved terrestrial meteorite impact craters in the world, as well as one of the most accessible. You can walk down into the crater to explore.

The reserve has a variety of ecosystems and plant species, game that was introduced in 2002, around 240 species of birds, as well as smaller mammals like otters, genets, hyenas, civets, steenbok, and a number of reptiles. There are also a couple of archaeological sites and the ruins of a soda mine and factory.

The reserve has a small interpretation centre and museum. Attractions include the 7.2km Tswaing Crater Trail, various museum displays, and education programmes. Tswaing Nature Reserve is popular for picnics.

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