If you live in Johannesburg, then you know the order of the weekend is usually to leave Johannesburg, if not for the entire weekend, then at least for the day! The hustle and bustle of the city life gets exhausting. And we will drive out as far as we can for peace and fresh air! I’ve spent the last two weekends in the Free State province of South Africa exploring a small town called Parys. Now I’ll admit, when you drive in, it really feels like there is nothing much going on here. However, this small town is packed with things to do for those seeking a day’s adventure or a weekend getaway. Here are my recommendations of things you must do when you visit.
Check out the 1919 Parys Suspension Bridge
In case you were wondering when this was built, it’s in the name! Many a couple have frequented this bridge, as evidenced by the numerous padlocks hooked onto the bridge. It doesn’t look like the bridge is still in use as there is a locked door on the other end of the bridge.However, one can get a nice view of the river there. It’s a nice 5-minute stop before you proceed to the rest of the town.
Take a leap of faith, out of a plane!
Excuse the video quality as I did this a few years back. However, this was my first of 3 skydiving experiences to date! I was terrified, wondering why I had paid so much money to jump out of a plane! I booked my experience with Skydive Parys. The price is currently R2200 per person, and you can pay a bit more if you’d like the bundle with pictures and videos. Check the website for up-to-date pricing. People always ask me what’s more terrifying, the bunjee jump or the sky diving. I think skydiving is less terrifying because you are so high up, you have no point of reference of just how high you are. You also don’t feel the gravitational pull as badly as you do with the bunjee jump! I really enjoyed this experience and would definitely recommend that you give it a go!
Indulge your taste buds at the Hartelus Mark -Parys’ outdoor market
Markets are always a good idea, and this one is no exception. The Hartelus Mark Market runs on the first Saturday of every month, and offers a variety of crafts, food and entertainment. I spent most of my time stuffing my face with all the yummy treats and drinks. The entrance fee is R10 and they only accept cash, so don’t forget to carry that along with you.
Try your hand at rafting
You have to try at least one water experience if you’re going to be by the Vaal River. I highly recommend this one! Rafting on the Vaal is beginner friendly so you don’t need to worry if you have never done it before. It costs R250 per person and a minimum of 2 people are required for the trip to happen. We went with R.E.AL Adventures, though there are a variety of operators in the area. We did this activity as a group, and what an experience that was! Our guides got really impatient with part of the group because we took a long time to get the gist of it. Some of us got lost of the river and found ourselves getting out of the boat to drag ourselves over the rocks! It was hilarious! But all in all, it’s a fun but exhausting experience. Don’t plan to do too much after this, you won’t have the energy!
Have lunch at O’s Restaurant
Great views, great food, generous portions and excellent service. That’s the best way to describe the experience that Os restaurant offers. We went there as a group after our rafting expedition, and we was the perfect place to unwind and laugh about our experience on the river. The food is incredibly good and the portions will have you asking for a doggy bag. The setting is beautiful, with leafy trees all around and the tables well spaced out. try it. You won’t regret it.
Take a walk around town
Bree Street is where it’s at. All the quaint little shops and restaurants are located here. I just parked my car and walked down the street, checking out all the shops. I found a great candy shop, and spent a bit too much money on a huge bag of sweets I’d last had as a little girl. It took me a few days to get through that bag! They sell other sweet treats so be sure to check it out. And what trip is complete without unnecessarily large scoops of ice cream! I left the town on a sugar-high! But I’ll tell you this, I’ll be going back for more!
I’ll be heading to Parys again one more time this year, so I’ll definitely be updating this post with more fun things to do here!