Nigel lies directly south of Springs and Brakpan on the outskirts of the East Rand, approximately 63 km from Johannesburg. As with most of the small outlying towns, Nigel began as a gold mining town in the early 1800’s.
Nigel may not be one of the more well-known areas of Johannesburg, but it does lie in a leafy lush area and has developed a reputation as a tourist friendly destination.
If you are visiting, make sure you visit the Marievale Bird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary encompasses two lakes and a large wetland area, the perfect escape from the city life. The 1 000 hectare serene space is home to over 450 bird species with some sightings in the wetland area of waterfowl, flamingo, African spoonbill and some of the rare wader migrants from the northern hemisphere.
Muldersdrift boasts types of accommodation options including Guest Houses, B&B’s, self-catering units and Hotels.
Things to do and see
- George Fivaz Fine Art Gallery
- Marievale Bird Sanctuary
- Grootvaly Wetland Reserve
- Diamante en Goud
- Heidelberg Heritage Museum
- Klipkraal Hiking Trail, Heildelberg
- Carnival City Casino & Entertainment World, Brakpan 30 km
Nigel receives approximately 680 mm of rain annually with the majority falling during the Summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 27˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 23˚C.
1882 saw a farmer, Petrus Johannes Marais (nicknamed Oom Lang Piet) who owned the farm Varkensfontein in the Heidelberg, make an agreement with a prospector named Johnstone which allowed him to prospect for gold on the farm.
The prospecting operation continued in secrecy for quite some time until a stranger made an offer to buy the farm from Oom Lang Piet. The stranger's visit immediately aroused Mr Marais's suspicions, he was at the time reading "The Fortunes of Nigel" by Sir Walter Scott, a story about a young man who was the victim of a dishonest plotting, to the extent that he decided to visit his farm himself.
He found his suspicions to be true and following in Nigel’s footsteps, the character in the novel, he quickly established his own company, calling it Nigel. This is how the town in time, received its name.
Nigel was declared as a public digging ground in 1888 by President Paul Kruger and since then the history and development of Nigel are inseparable from those of the gold mines.
The years 1934 - 1939 saw the most noteworthy development of the town with the railway line between Springs, Nigel and Heidelberg was opening on 18 October 1935.
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