A Rugged Beauty

The old mining town of Barberton is nestled along South Africa’s 10th World Heritage Site, the Makhonjwa Mountains in the De Kaap Valley of Mpumalanga, in South Africa. Its lush landscape of jacaranda and indigenous trees once played host to the 19th century gold rush, when in 1883 gold was first discovered in the hills surrounding the town. 

©Jacques Marais
View over Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The discovery of gold saw an influx of prospectors, miners, and individuals hoping to strike it lucky. Among the fortune seekers were Graham Barber and his cousins, Fred and Henry, who in 1884 discovered a rich reef in a creek to the southeast of Barberton, naming it Barber’s Reef. On 24 June 1884, the town was officially named after the Barbers.

Barberton still has four working gold mines, which are more than 100 years old, in operation: the Agnes Gold Mine, the Fairview Gold Mine, New Consort Gold Mine, and Sheba Gold Mine.  

The rapidly developing gold mining town resulted in the creation of the Kaap Gold Fields Stock Exchange, which was built in 1887. Its classic façade can still be seen today. Barberton’s rich history is showcased in multiple museums, the primary one aptly named the Main Museum, which was established in 1898 and further developed, when Mr Otto Elkan donated his personal collection of minerals and historical artefacts.

Barberton Gold Rush

Gold mining in South Africa first began in Barberton when in 1874 alluvial gold was discovered by an acclaimed South African prospector, Tom...more

Barberton World Heritage Site

Not many towns can boast that within their midst lies a World Heritage Site. Not only can Barberton proudly do that, it can also claim to ha...more

Barberton's People and Culture

The inhabitants of Barberton are as diverse as its storied past. In the late 1800s, the Swazi nation during the reign of King Sobhuza I span...more

Mpumalanga Arts and Crafts

The cultural heritage of the Mpumalanga province is both varied and exciting. The Ndebele beadwork and house painting in the north-west, the...more

Plant Life in Barberton

The historic town of Barberton is primarily known for its rich gold mining past and the Makhonjwa Mountains, a World Heritage Site. But did ...more

Things to Do in Barberton

Revel in the spirit of small town charm as you wander through the storied streets of Barberton. Whether you are young or old, laidback or an...more

Trails in Barberton

Treat your eyes and activate your muscles in one hearty swoop with a nature walk through the green landscape of Barberton. A popular scenic ...more