Tucked away in the most ancient corner of our land, hard against South Africa’s border with the kingdom of Swaziland, lies a hidden and spectacularly scenic wilderness of immense geological importance. The Makhonjwa Mountains in Mpumalanga are not well known by their original name, maybe that’s because Swazi folklore has it, that pointing at them brings bad luck. Well, things are about to change! A major drive for international recognition, started many years ago, is finally bearing fruit. The Barberton Makhonjwa mountains of the Barberton Greenstone Belt are now on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site programme. The geotrail uses richly-illustrated panels that draw aside the curtains of arcane geological communication, and reveal the significance of the Barberton Greenstone Belt in every-day language and concepts. This geotrail is a bucketlist candidate, and something for everyone from families on leisure breaks to geology students to enjoy. The Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail takes you on a journey into the mists of an impossibly distant past –– more than 3 billion years ago.
Welcome to our time machine.
A well-illustrated guidebook to the geotrail, written by Tony Ferrar and Professor Christoph Heubeck, is available from the Barberton Museum in Pilgrim Street as well as at the Barberton Community Tourism office in Barberton.
The Barberton area offers a host of activities for the tourist. To learn more, visit the Barberton Community Tourism website: http://www.barberton.co.za/
Geologic Map of the West-Central Barberton Greenstone Belt, Compiled by: Donald R. Lowe, Gary R. Byerly and Christoph Heubeck. This 1:25,000 map (1 384 cm x 1 956 mm) covers 500 square kilometers of Archean rocks in the Barberton Greenstone Belt (BGB), South Africa—the oldest, best-preserved sedimentary and volcanic sequence on Earth.
Available from the Geological Society of America Bookstore.