South Africa
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Mining Wonder of the World

Barberton is a town born out of gold, so naturally it makes sense that visitors take a tour of a gold mine to get a true sense of this “gold rush town”.

Sheba Mine has been mining gold for over a century from Bray’s famous “Golden Quarry” and is considered one of the “Mining Wonders of the World”. It was said that when gold was first discovered here at the Golden Quarry, the rocks looked as if they were cemented with gold. Sheba Mine is still a working Mine and holds the record for being the richest and oldest working mine in the world.

Visitors are led up to the Quarry’s original entrance, over old discarded rocks and an old wooden ladder. From here you will make your way forward along footpaths carved into the rock by men, over a century ago, and over a wooden bridge before entering the quarry. The extensive underground quarry was hand dug by men with only picks and shovels and resembles a medieval Cathedral with sunlight streaming through from the original opening from the surface. The logistics of creating the cavern below with no machinery or dynamite is mind blowing. It also makes you consider how they removed the rock and traversed along the steep sides of the quarry. The quarry is a true testament to the hard work by the labourers at the time.

Things to do and see

  • Mine Tour
  • Original Quarry entrance
  • Bray’s Golden Quarry
  • Wooden Ladder & Bridge
  • Carved Footpaths
  • Eureka City (1.5 km, can be included in your tour)


A permit is required for the tour, these can be obtained through Barberton Odyssey Tours or you can contact the Barberton Tourism Offices. Booking is essential, please contact the Tourism Office or Barberton Tours directly to confirm prices for various tours.


Rainfall occurs mainly in the mid-summer months, with December and January seeing the highest levels.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 17˚C and 29˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 21˚C.


There are daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town into the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mombela (Nelspruit). Car rental companies are available for easy access to the surrounding areas with Barberton only half an hour away along the R40. Road trips from Johannesburg to Barberton on the N12 and N4 will take just under 4 hours.

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