Small and unassuming, the town of Barberton could easily pass a typical one street dorpie (village). This little historical gem is named after Henry Barber after he and his cousin discovered gold in the area making this town’s claim to fame the first place where gold was mined in South Africa. This brought countless fortune seekers who contributed to the rich history we see today.
When in Barberton, there are countless historical gems to discover such as on the Heritage Walk. This walk around the town includes the old stock exchange, historic homes such as Fernlea House and the Stopforth House. Passing the Market Square which was a meeting place for prospectors and townsfolk, one can imagine the hive of activity on market days. This walk also passes the town hall, where the famous Jock of the Bushveld Statue stands stoic, as if on guard.
Visitors learn fascinating facts about the cultural history and inhabitants of the town through the local museum, which with its fascinating displays is a wealth of information. There are displays centered around the town’s undeniably fascinating mining history and important geology. Pack a picnic basket and go on a breathtaking self-drive on the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail. This 38 kilometre route has some of the most spectacular views of the Makhonjwa Mountains. A newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site, the geotrail follows the R40 from Barberton to the Josefsdal border with Eswatini. Eleven geosites by the roadside capture the Archaen period, explaining on information boards, why this period is so significant today. This route has many photo opportunities along the way and is a bucket list contender.
If you’re up for adventure, how about a mining tour? Suitable for all ages, this tour takes place at a historical mine where one can learn about traditional and modern mining methods and about what happens underground. the surrounding landscape of Barberton has given rise to the best offroading trails in the Kruger Lowveld such as at Songimvelo Nature Reserve and at Ebustini. The mountainsides, valleys and streams are every 4×4 enthusiats dream! Barberton also has little treasures such as the mystic Eureka City. Now deserted, this ‘city’ was once a settlement alive with fortune seekers. With shops, hotels and a bakery, Eureka City is now just a figment of its past.