Barberton Odyssey in Barberton, Mpumalanga
What Andrea doesn't know about Barberton simply isn't worth knowing!
Barberton born and bred, owner of the iconic Barberton restaurant ‘The Cocopan’, and the town’s tourist agency ‘Barberton Odyssey’; it is fair to say Andrea Botha’s life revolves around Barberton.
What she doesn’t know about this historic town and the surrounding area simply isn’t worth knowing. Andrea’s dream is to firmly put Barberton on the tourist map. As she believes this area has something for everyone, from nursery school groups to pensioner parties. With her knowledge of the area and passion for the region there really is no one better to uncover Barberton and the Genesis Route.
To be considered for World Heritage Status you need to tick a lot of boxes. You need to provide something special, authentic and unique. The Genesis Route does this. The geology of this area is truly unique, so are the endemic plants and animal species that can only be found here. You can have aerial, underground, and even underwater adventures here. There is an unbelievable wealth of historical and cultural heritage along the route. Add the many interesting characters that give this area a real flavour. Put all this amongst the spectacular scenery that provides a breath-taking backdrop for the whole route and the Genesis Route has it all, in one easily accessible package.
First and foremost it has to be the Makhonjwa Geotrail. To put it simply there isn’t anywhere else in the wold where you can do this. So if you have even the slightest interest in seeing what our planet would have looked like 3.5billion years ago then here is where you must come. While you can self-drive the route, a guided tour is really the best way of bring these rocks and the stories they tell to life.
I guess it would need to start with an underground tour of one of the areas many mines. Gold is the reason Barberton was born, so it only seems right to start there. The underground tour gives you a real taste of what life in the mines would have been like, while there is nothing like a spot of gold prospecting for igniting the ‘Gold Rush Fever’. After a morning experiencing what life was like in the mines. I think we would spend the afternoon visiting the buildings that are a lasting reminder of “Boom-Town” Barberton along the Heritage Walk. Buildings like the Phoenix Hotel that was opened in 1884 and is still in operation now. The Lowveld’s 1st and 2nd stock exchanges, the 1st British blockhouse and the town’s two museums, all give you a sense of what Barberton would have been like at the turn of the 1900s. We have amazing guides who bring these building to life and give you a real sense of the town’s heritage.
Renowned for our guided tours of the rich geological, gold mining history of Barberton and nearby Kruger Park, we also host international film crews who produce travel and documentary films.
Experience the Barberton Mineralogy heritage, travel the Geo and Genesis Trails or indulge in a host of Adventure activities that include Light Aircraft flights, Quad Bike, horse and hiking trails, Eureka City 4x4 as well as photography tours.
The Barberton Heritage walk should also be on your list. Again doing it with a guide is the best way of bringing the history to life. This way you get to learn about all the characters like Cockney Liz and Sir Percy Fitzpatrick the author of Jock of the Bushveld, who left their mark on this remarkable town.
A new attraction is the Barberton Township Tour. This is really breaking down barriers and changing people’s perceptions. It showcases the cultural heritage, community spirit and individualism that can be found in Barberton’s township.
Flora & Fauna
The flora and fauna of the region is sometimes overlooked, which is a real shame as it is simply incredible. After the Cape Floral Region the Barberton area is the most diverse in terms of the type and number of plant species found here. There are clivias that have cross-bred without any interference by man to make a totally new species only found in this area. Then there are birding meccas like Peddlar’s Bush and Rimer’s Creek that are simply fantastic.
Queen Rose Hiking Trail
- 2 day trail and located in the mountains west of Barberton in the Nelshoogde Forest Reserve
- It follows the Montrose and Queens River and is one of the most scenic trails in South Africa
- A wide variety of Game and Birds can be spotted along the trail
When visiting Barberton contact Andrea. What she doesn’t know about this historic town and the surrounding area simply isn’t worth knowing. She will be able to arrange exciting and interesting tours for you!
Courtesy of : Mpumalanga Tourism Parks Agency : Katy Johnson
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