Raft the rapids

The RIVERMAN: Family & group rafting on safe guided rafts, plus tubing and croccing. Click here: The RIVERMAN, for more info. Based at Otters' Haunt, The Riverman runs guided rafting trips on the Vaal, Orange, Tugela and other great rivers.

Easy canoeing: Hire a stable sit-on-top canoe and paddle on calm water amongst the beautiful wilderness islands of the Vaal. Fish eagles, goliath herons, otters and porcupines may be seen.

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.”

Karen gets a balloon ride

ballooning over Silver Chute 18 Aug 2013 640Thanks to Rocksy, our loyal canine friend who was excitedly barking at a hot air balloon heading downstream past Otters’ Haunt, Karen  got a balloon ride over the town. Here’s her story.

The burners were roaring as the balloon gained a bit of height to stay clear of the tall eucalyptus trees that thrive on the banks of the Vaal. Our border collies always get excited at opening corked wine bottles or anything that releases a whoosh. It was truly a beautiful late winter morning, with just a hint of a breeze. Rocksy and I decided to follow the balloon along trails on the island, boulder hopping over rocks here and there. (Rocksy gets her name from rocks). We got some great pictures of the colourful balloon against the blue sky with the rapids glittering in the early morning sunlight. Our son Damian named the first rapid Silver Chute when we arrived at Otters’ Haunt 12 years ago.

We passed Silver Chute and were Continue reading Karen gets a balloon ride

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

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

New-look Otters website

The Otters' Den guest house overlooks a quiet pool and islands

The Otters' Den guest house overlooks a quiet pool and islands

Welcome!

We’re in the process of revamping our popular Otters’ Haunt website. For a while there will be limited information and changes will be going on.

For a quick summary of what we offer in terms of accommodation and adventure activities, go to our temporary website:

www.ottershaunt.wozaonline.co.za

For all accommodation inquiries call Karen at 082 475 8767 or 056 8181814.

Meantime, we’d love to hear your suggestions for changes to this website. Insert a comment or drop us a line to info@otters.co.za  or call Graeme at 084 245 2490.

 Rafting from Otters' HauntRemember, we offer -

  • Accommodation: Guest House, Bush Cabins, Guinea Fowl Cottage and Porcupine Flatlet.
  • Activities: Whitewater rafting, wilderness canoeing, mountain biking, hiking, flyfishing, birdwatching.
  • We also have a conference centre suitable for groups up to 20 – ideal for brainstorms, presentations and meetings.
  • Our facilties are self-catering but for events and teambuilds we offer full board with delicious meals.
  • We do Vredefort Dome tours and can handle school and university groups.

So get hold of us to plan your getaway at the Vaal… we’ll put together the package you want.