!SQUARE_mtb domeview 180HIKING & MTB TRAILS: From easy to tough, from gentle river walks to boulder hopping. Single track and gravel routes for MTB. Come with kids, friends or your club. 
couple-at-river-sept-2016 PEACE & NATURE: The ideal getaway close to Johannesburg. Look no further than our beautiful Otters' Den guest house at the riverside. Or maybe choose the Full Moon Bush Cabins for your group exclusively. Call now +27 82 475 8767 or email around-the-fire-at-rotary-function-15sept2015-bushcamp


American style rafting on guided oar boats and paddle rafts

Bring the family and enjoy an exciting trip with a guide on board the raft with you. Run the river in expert hands, wield a paddle yourself, and show the kids how nature in the raw is fun! Ages 6 to 75. Bring granny too! Read all about us here.


Otters' Haunt and The Riverman are offering the wonderful 5-day ORANJE GORGE TRAIL between May and September. Don't miss this best and most exciting of all rafting safaris - Kalahari desert scenery, fun rapids, great hikes, fishing and relaxing. School holiday trips. Contact Graeme 084 245 2490 or Karen 082 475 8767 or Watch the video.

AfriStay Award for best value

Otters Haunt wins 2018 Best Value Establishment Award!

We’ve been rated as a top value accommodation destination in Parys, based on consistent and excellent rates offered by Otters Haunt to guests.

Come stay, come play!

Vaal Rafting       Hiking       Mountain Biking       Vredefort Dome Talks & Trails

If you’re looking for summer fun in the sun come to Otters’ Haunt. We are surrounded by water, forests and mountains in the beautiful Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site. Ideal for family get-togethers and homely holidays, we are near Parys, only 1hr 15min from Johannesburg, on tar all the way. If you’re just arriving or leaving from Johannesburg airport, our place is a convenient port of call. Rustic accommodations include a large guest house, bush camp and chalets, all equipped for self-catering. Don’t wait – we book out well in advance – so call Karen at 082 475 8767 or

Rated best stay by Lonely Planet

Otters Den Guinea Fowl Cabin bedroom Cormorant Cabin

LONELY PLANET cover - OTTERS HAUNT.jpegWe are Lonely Planet’s “Pick” of the Northern Free State. Out of hundreds of lodges, hotels and guest houses in this area, we came out tops for adventure and hospitality. The international best-seller says: Lonely-Planet-Logo-682x323“Otters’ Haunt, the hub of all things outdoors in Parys…this secluded gateway right on the Vaal River offers a long list of outdoor activities for humans and their pets… Accommodation is reasonably priced and comes in all shapes and sizes.”


FIRST TRIP OF THE SEASON. Yep, the Vaal River is flowing nicely, with the Vaal Dam at 92% we’re bound to get water before the summer rains start. So here’s to our guides and the rafting season to come! The first trip was a blast! Contact us to join on any holiday or weekend. If you are a family, friends or corporate group, we’ll go anytime – and you can add a festive braai. More info.


Chill out in the warm autumn sun!

Otters’ Haunt, on the banks of the Vaal River, is the ideal holiday getaway for families and friends.

You can relax, read a book and listen to the birds. We cater for birdwatching groups and have a list of the species spotted so far – including rare types like the black-shouldered night heron. Fish eagles, many species of waterfowl and kingfishers throng the river and its banks.

Indulge yourself eating out in the nearby town of Parys. There are antique shops, good restaurants and coffee bars, artist’s studios and township tours.

Or tour the magnificent Vredefort Dome with our expert guides. Tours cover the geology of the meteorite blast that created the biggest and oldest visible impact crater on earth 2 billion years ago. We also offer battlefield tours, ecology and geography for schools, and research to order for visiting specialists.

Bring your dog – provided it’s not a savage beast – to our pet-friendly establishment. There’s room to run on our lawns and in the fields on our property.

Take a leisurely walk along the Vaal islands or hike in the spectacular Dome Bergland. We have access to numerous trails and we provide a trail briefing and map, as well as a well-informed nature guide if you want one.

There’s plenty to do – and not to do! Special rates for families and groups. Only just over an hour from Johannesburg and you are in a different world! Otters’ Haunt is an old-established rustic place with a variety of types of accommodation. We are old-style hosts who welcome you and show you around, tell you about the place and encourage you to enjoy surroundings.

Give Karen a call at 082 475 8767 or email


Mild winter – ideal for cycling

mtb cottage at rietpoort 20130609-01544It may be global warming, it may just be freak weather. Whatever the explanation for our unseasonal “midwinter summer” it makes for great hikes, mountain biking and paddling on the river.

Recently Karen and I explored Rietpoort farm on our mountain bikes, enjoying the bushland paths and route along the foot of the Dome Bergland. The picture shows the quaint farm cottage where you deposit your visitor fee in a collection box. How’s that for safety and security! On this trail all the main species of Continue reading Mild winter – ideal for cycling

Meditation on kids’ parties

Kids floatalongWe just love this picture of two boys meditating during a family river trip on the Vaal. I guess their parents are into Eastern religions and they’ve picked it up. Imagine how much of a better place the world would be if all  youngsters learnt to delve into themselves to find peace in the universe.

The meditation got me cogitating – not just thinking, but planning new family adventures in the coming spring and summer. This is a wonderful setting for a birthday party. We are doing Continue reading Meditation on kids’ parties


  • Standard price of a halfday rafting trip: R335pp. Our Easter Special Price: R295
  • Standard price of halfday rafting plus braai buffet: R625pp. Our Easter Special Price: R545.
  • Discounts for under 16s and families
  • Book 12 people and 2 more come FREE!
  • Don’t delay, book today. Places are limited. EMAIL US.
And remember, we have great accommodation – check out our guest house, bush camp and chalets


Wilderness canoeing

Hire a canoe and go out on your own or go with a guide who knows the islands and the wildlife.

dome canoe

Pigging out in autumn

Our grand old oak tree has produced thousands of acorns – great food for pigs! We don’t keep pigs ourselves but occasionally some monstrous visitors like the one in the photo come crashing through the fields next door. Our dogs go crazy and there is much scurrying around to get the pig to gobble-n-go.

Meanwhile, autumn is on the way. It’s a beautiful time of year. The Easter holidays are coming and we are enjoying some of the best weather ever – not too hot, not cold or windy, just lovely days. Everything is green but turning to yellows and lush browns.

Our rafting continues into April. Hopefully, recent cyclone Irina has dropped some rain in the Vaal catchment and we can expect a good flow for the remainder of the season.

As the weather cools off we start mountain biking in earnest. There are great off-road trails in the Dome Bergland and the rolling Free State platteland. One of our favourites is the ride to the Inlandsee, the salt pan at the centre of the Dome (picture).

At this time of year we expect fly fishermen to turn up looking for good catches among the yellowfish that have fattened up in the summer flow of the Vaal. No-one eats the catches, it’s cath-and-release. The fish are rising everywhere as mayflies congregate over the water.

Come and enjoy the adventures with us!

  – Graeme & Karen