Parys: Home Of The 17th World Brahman Congress

Vredefort Dome World Heritage site outside Parys – view from Steenkampsberg,  the highest point.

Vredefort Dome World Heritage site outside Parys – view from Steenkampsberg, the highest point.

The 17th Brahman World Congress will be hosted in Parys, in the most northern part of the Free State Province in South Africa from April, 5 - 11 2014. The Brahman Breeders’ Society of South Africa in association with neighboring countries will be the host.

About Parys
Parys is a small village-town situated on the banks of the Vaal River and has recently become known as the home of the Vredefort Dome World Heritage site on the outskirts of the town. It is located within the summer rainfall region. Summer temperatures range between 8°C to 30°C average, while winter can become quite cold with temperatures dropping to -2°C to 19°C average.

The source of the Vaal River is at Klipkapstel in the Mpumalanga Province. The river then flows westwards to meet the Orange River in the Northern Cape. In the area where it flows past Parys, the river forms the border between the Free State and Gauteng provinces and is about 1,120km in length. The Vaal River is the main source of water for the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan area and a large part of the Free State for irrigation and industrial purposes. It supports about 12 million consumers in Gauteng and surrounding areas. This life giving back bone of the region also offers a perfect setting for some of the most attractive accommodation facilities on the river banks.

With easy access highways from Johannesburg and the OR Tambo airport, Parys has become a preferred weekend destination for visitors from the highly populated urban areas. The river and surrounding countryside is popular with water sports and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. For the not-so-physical visitor, charming coffee shops, good restaurants, stylish interior and quaint antique shops line the main street, giving the town an old-world charm. The long established Pine’s Antiques is the largest and oldest antiques dealer in town. There are also numerous art galleries and upmarket fashion shops that offer local art and designer clothing.

Pride of the town is two unique 18 hole Golf Estates which were both developed on islands in the Vaal River. These are the only Golf Estates situated on islands in Africa. One has been designed by the well known Nick Price.

The Vredefort Dome with its lunar, mountainous landscape provides the backdrop to interesting sights such as the remains of kraals of indigenous tribes who lived in the area during the late Iron Age. The area is rich in plant and animal life; blesbok, duiker, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, kudu, warthog, jackal, caracal and brown hyena can be seen on a number of game farms. A Cheetah breeding programme in the vicinity is of special interest to visitors.

The Venues
Two world class facilities, Khaya iBhubesi and The Afri Dome in Parys will be the venues for the technical conference, international show, sales and entertainment during the World Congress.

Khaya iBhubesi is an exceptionally distinguished conference venue, a jewel nestled among trees which forms an oasis of scenic splendour and riverine tranquillity. The technical conference on the April 7 & 8 as well as the opening and closing functions will be held here.

The venue is situated approximately 4 km outside Parys and offers a secure and exclusive setting with African chic for the 5-day World Brahman Conference. The unique and versatile character of the facility accommodates all needs of an international event. An abundance of space on the river banks together with the range of services and activities makes Khaya iBhubesi the ideal corporate getaway. An on-site Internet café and business centre as well as a day spa is available to visitors.

The Roots Deck on the river is set in tranquil and private surroundings and will be the venue for the welcome function on Sunday evening, April 6, 2014.
Khaya iBhubesi offers secure and exclusive accommodation, each room with its own distinctive appearance and ambience, providing ultimate luxury through simplicity.

The Afri Dome Indoor Arena
This spectacular indoor arena will host all animal related congress activities as well as informal day and evening functions during the World Congress.

The arena hosts up to 3,000 people, 500 stables under roof with én suite tack rooms, indoor and outdoor rings as well as stable yards & loading ramps. Other facilities available include air-conditioned arena boxes (suites) for private use on the first floor, a restaurant, bar and a boma braai area.

A shuttle service to and from the Afri Dome will be available to congress attendees for the duration of the Congress.

History of Parys
Parys was established in 1876 on the farm ‘Klipspruit’ to cater for the needs of farming communities who had to travel a long way to participate in religious services. The establishment of a local congregation was highly desired by the Dutch Reformed Church. Discussions about the establishment of a town were held with the owners of two farms in the area, ‘Klipspruit’ and ‘Vischgat’; and subsequently two towns developed: Vredefort on Vischgat and Parys on ‘Klipspruit’.

The name “Parys” was evidently suggested by a German land surveyor who had served in the Franco-Prussian war and who likened the Vaal River to the Seine. It was hoped that the town would develop on both sides of the river. The fact that the two banks of the river were in different provinces seems to have been overlooked!

The first Village Management Board was appointed in 1883. When gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand, Parys prospered as many travellers passed through on the main road from Bloemfontein and Kroonstad. However, the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1889 brought a period of destruction as the town saw much of the guerrilla warfare because the surrounding hills and woody river islands provided an ideal place for snipers. There is a story that General Christian De Wet, in order to escape the British, took refuge in the maternity hospital that was at the corner of Breë and Venus Streets – the building that today is known as The Coach House, a well established guest house.

Parys was burnt down between October and November 1900 and only the Dutch Reformed Church and the Methodist Church were left standing. By April 1901 the women and children had been transported to the Vredefort Road concentration camp near Koppies. They were released after May 31, 1902. At the end of the war a fresh start had to be made.
Many irrigation canals, which are still in use today, were built and the abundance of water meant that electricity could be generated as well. The first electric lights glowed in Parys around Christmas 1912. Work on the first reinforced concrete bridge over the Vaal started in 1914 but the outbreak of the First World War caused delays. However, the bridge was completed in December 1915. Unfortunately, not many of the old buildings remain today. The current Parys Palm Court Motel is one of the survivors, as are the museum and a few houses in town. The town hall was built in the 1930s in Art Deco style. The Mimosa Gardens which for a long time was the main holiday resort for visitors consists of 12 erven originally sold for about 5 pounds each. An old suspension bridge that was constructed in 1919 is still in use today and has become a land mark in Parys.

Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site
This geological phenomenon was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on July 14, 2005 and is recognized worldwide as the largest and the oldest meteorite impact site on earth.

The lunar landscape of this site in the Vredefort/Parys District was caused when a giant meteorite of approximately 10km in diameter and a weight of 750,000 million tons (larger than Table Mountain) struck the earth at a speed of 20,000 kilometres per second and sank to a depth of 17 kilometres. On impact it released an amount of energy equivalent to the simultaneous detonation of more than 780,000,000 hydrogen bombs. This impact occurred 2,000 million years ago.

Immediately after the impact crustal material was accelerated outwards and a series of concentric folds was formed around the centre of the impact area, much like the rings that form and spread outwards when a stone is thrown into a pond. During the ensuing 2,000 million years erosion has removed a great deal of the upper geological strata to the extent that what we see today are the remnants of this historical impact at a level coinciding approximately with the bottom of the crater.

From the highest point of the Steenkampsberg visitors can experience breathtaking views of the Vredefort Dome and the Vaal River from where the series of concentric folds and deep ravines of the Dome are clearly visible.

The area extends for a distance of about 64km along the southern bank of the Vaal River and inland for between 5 and 9km. The site has always been and remains an important study field for geologist from all over the world.

For information on the 2014 World Brahman Congress go to

El Congreso Mundial Brahman numero 17 º se celebrará en Parys , en la parte más septentrional de la provincia de Estado Libre en Sudáfrica, del 5 al 11 Abril del 2014. La Asociación de Criadores Brahman de Sudáfrica en conjunto con los países vecinos será el anfitrión.

Parys es un pequeño pueblo - ciudad situada a orillas del río Vaal y se ha convertido recientemente conocido como el hogar de la Catedral Patrimonio de la Humanidad Vredefort en las afueras de la ciudad. Está situado en la región de las lluvias de verano. Verano las temperaturas oscilan entre 8 ° C a 30 ° C de media, mientras que el invierno puede ser bastante frío con temperaturas de hasta -2 ° C a 19 ° C de media.

Con autopistas de fácil acceso desde Johannesburg y el aeropuerto OR Tambo, Parys se ha convertido en un destino de fin de semana preferido para los visitantes de las zonas urbanas densamente pobladas. El río y el paisaje de los alrededores es muy popular con el agua y los entusiastas de los deportes de aventura al aire libre. Para el visitante no tan físico, encantadoras tiendas de café, buenos restaurantes, interior elegante y pintoresca antigua línea de tiendas de la calle principal, dando a la ciudad un encanto del viejo mundo.

Dos instalaciones de clase mundial, Khaya iBhubesi y La Cúpula Afri en Parys serán las sedes de la conferencia técnica, demostración, venta y entretenimiento internacional durante el Congreso Mundial. El lugar está situado a unos 4 Km. del Parys y ofrece un entorno seguro y exclusivo con "Elegante Africanos" para los 5 días de la Conferencia Mundial de Brahman.

El Afri Cúpula Indoor Arena es un espectacular pabellón deportivo acogerá todas las actividades relacionadas con los animales del congreso , así como funciones informales día y noche, durante el Congreso Mundial.