What to do in Barberton

Self drive day outings

From Old Coach Road, you can explore the Southern Lowveld and Swaziland. Barberton is Mountain land territory – take a day self-drive trip for some fantastic scenery via Barberton/Swaziland/Badplaas and visit the old mining town in Msauli.

Kruger National Park is only a 65km drive away (Malelane gate) and within easy reach for a day visit.  We will supply a breakfast/picnic pack for an early start. 

Take a Tour of Barberton

Founded during the gold rush days of the 1880’s, take a trip to Barberton for a cultural, natural, and historical experience. Sites to see include the museum, memorial buildings, statues, and monuments rich in history. 

The Barberton Museum tells the fascinating tales of the prehistoric, ancient, and modern history of these parts with displays and exhibitions for the whole family.

Take a trip to Eureka City, a famous ghost town that is just 7 km outside town.  You will need to get a permit to enter its eerie borders, which you can obtain from Barberton Adventures.

For tours to Eureka City as well as underground mining tours, contact:

Barberton Adventures, 117 Crown Street or contact 079 180 1488 

Heritage Walk

The Heritage Walk is a self-guided tour of the historical and cultural delights of Barberton – collect a map at the Tourist Information center situated on Market Square or from Barberton Museum.

Barberton Museum

Barberton museum

When gold was first discovered in Barberton in 1884, gold prospectors and fortune hunters arrived in their droves in the region to try their luck.  The little town flourished and when gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand region, the hoards moved on and Barberton reverted to being a charming country town.

Today the Barberton Museum consists of the Main Museum where geology, mining and general history of the region are on show. Other museums that are part of the Barberton Museum complex include the historic buildings of Belhaven, Stopforth House and Fernlea Museum, as well as Block House.

Barberton Museum, 76 Crown Street or contact 013 712 4208

Queen Rose Hiking Trial

If you enjoy hiking, the Queen Rose Trail is said to be the most scenic trail in the country.  The hike is set in the Nelshoogte Nature Reserve between Badplaas and Barberton. Although this is a multi-day hike, shorter sections are open for one day hikes and well worth a visit.

Much of the hike is spent on the riverbanks of the Montrose and Queens river amongst riverine forest, waterfalls, pools, indigenous trees and a diversity of plants.  The hike is divided in two sections and you can do either one first. The Montrose section is 13 km and is mostly downhill to Alvin’s Falls while the Queens River section, which is predominantly uphill, is 8 km. A suspension bridge, foefie-slide and several pools make the day enjoyable.

Nelshoogte Forest Reserve, east of Barberton on the R38 Badplaas road

Contact:  072 604 9600 or 076 825 5794

Barberton Makhonjwa Geo Trail

On your way up the Bulembu Pass, on the R40 towards the Swaziland border, you travel back in geological time.  In fact, about 3.6 billion years when our planet had recently cooled down and the first continental crust had formed.

To view this evidence from the distant past, several geological way-points (Geo-sites) have been established along the route, where you can safely park your vehicle and admire the view and the geological formations.  Give yourself at least a day to view and appreciate this unique record.

An informative book describing the various Geo-sites is available from the Barberton Tourist Office on Market Square or from local hospitality establishments.

Known as the Barberton Makhonjwa Geo-trail, this self-drive route is a 38 km exploration of ancient rock formations that date from the Archaean period, more than three billion years ago. 

There are very few places on earth where rocks of the Archaean period are visible.  Every other site is so far removed from civilization, on desolate back roads, as to be unreachable.  But in Barberton they are right next to the road, you have only to get out of your car to see them.

The history of life on earth, involving several key geological elements, is now available for anyone to view.  11 Geo-sites, each with its own information board, along with braille labels, describes the different geological elements.

Elements include a 3.2 billion year-old beach deposit, fossilized bio mats in sandstone (the first signs of life on earth, viewable with the naked eye), piles of volcanic pillows formed by lava expelling on the floor of the sea and volcanic hailstones preserved in chert sediments.

The route is a self-drive day outing and follows the R40 from Barberton to Josefsdal/Bulembu at the Swaziland border. It forms only a portion of a longer 260 km Genesis Route; a figure-of-8 road route that link Barberton, Badplaas and Low’s Creek.