Did you know?
Gold is one of the heaviest yet also one of the softest of all minerals.
It wasn't just at Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton that those heady gold rush days of the late 19th century took place. Just 135km from Johannesburg, the Blaauwbank Historic Gold Mine & Resort, in the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains, was also pumping.
In those early days, mines were staked and then pegged, and Blaauwbank was pegged in 1874, although it took another 21 years for its first output to be recorded.
It was an Australian, Henry Lewis, who first discovered quartzite gold at Blaauwbank. The whole area is rich in white quartz, known to be a source of gold deposits, and he struck lucky. As did George Harrison and George Walker, when, a few years later, they discovered the richest gold deposit in the country on the 120km stretch of Main Reef.
Today, when you visit Blaauwbank Historic Gold Mine & Resort, you can turn back the pages of the past and have a go yourself at fortune hunting. Put on your hard hat, pick up your lamp and follow trained guides who will take you on a tour of the mine where you'll see some of those old picks and shovels, cocopans and rope winches that the early fortune seekers used.
Look out for that elusive gleam when you crush your own ore and pan for gold. You even get to take your find home if you get lucky. And don’t worry about safety, the Inspectorate of Mines has given the mine their seal of approval.
Blaauwbank is now a resort as well, so what about a breath of fresh air after your mine experience? You can follow a scenic 10km hiking trail or, if mountain biking is your thing, then rent a bike and take to the hills.
At the end of a long, action-packed day, bed down in a fully equipped, comfortable tent and enjoy a braai under the stars.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Blaauwbank Historic Gold Mine & Resort
Tel: +27 (0)11 565 6600
Mobile: +27 (0)82 567 3111
How to get here
The Blaauwbank Historic Gold Mine & Resort is off the R509 between the towns of Magaliesburg and Koster in the North West province.
Around the area
In nearby Hartbeespoort you'll find an Aerial Cableway, Elephant Sanctuary, the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary and plenty of opportunity for watersports on Hartbeespoort Dam.
What to pack
Comfortable clothes and walking shoes.
Where to stay
Stay at the resort in one of their eight fully equipped tents with communal braai, kitchen facilities and ablutions.