Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail

Come and visit the geological wonderland that is on your doorstep. Examine a 3.2 billion year old beach deposit, so well defined you can see tidal intervals; trace fossilized biomats in sandstone, the first signs of life on earth that you can see with the naked eye; see piles of volcanic pillows formed by lava extruding on an ocean floor, or volcanic hailstones preserved in dove-grey chert sediments.  All of these and more are to be found at geosites along the scenic road to Bulembu, and on to Piggs Peak. This is the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail.

Striking and informative roadside panels are being installed along the 40km tarred road between Barberton and Swaziland.  A dozen attractively landscaped geological lay-bys and viewpoints have been built, illustrating spectacularly how the earth evolved from a lifeless, hot steaming planet, to having an environment that supports life. When complete this geotrail will provide visitors of all ages with a really enjoyable and educational out-door experience, guaranteed to provide new and fascinating insights into how life on earth began.

The geotrail is part of the 260 km scenic ‘Genesis Route’, signposted recently to help visitors find their way around on the ‘Figure-of-8’ road network between Badplaas, Barberton and Low’s Creek. This route winds through mountains that contain some of the most ancient rocks in the world, that geologists call the Barberton Greenstone Belt.  It might amaze you that green rocks all over the world, are a common feature of outcrops older than 3 billion years. 

If you are looking for solitude and a mellow drive through wonderful mountain scenery, mainly on tar but some dirt roads, this route is for you. There are no toilets along the way (but lots of hidden nooks and crannies) and cell phone reception is intermittent. Take your time and a camera, pack a picnic and you are sure to see the most amazing sights.

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