About Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province. Mpumalanga, which shares borders with Gauteng and Limpopo, has always been one of South Africa’s prettiest provinces in terms of dramatic landscapes. And the mountains are just one more dazzling gem in this treasure chest.

Did you know? The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains are also known as the Barberton Mountains or the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Their claim to UNESCO fame is their containing the oldest and best preserved volcanic and sedimentary rock on the planet (estimated to be a breath-taking 3.6 billion years old).

The mountains are also recognised for their exceptional beauty, and as an example of some of earth’s most impressive processes (ecological and biological). UNESCO has also awarded the area for its being an important habitat to a massive variety of plants and animals. All of these factors have combined to create, not only an important tourist attraction, but also a place of utter beauty and biodiversity.

The entire area is made up of small mountains and hills, with altitudes of between 600 and 1 800 metres above sea level. Forests, valleys and grassy plains are all part of the gorgeous countryside. For travellers and visitors that want to experience the mountains in a tangible way, there is plenty to see and do here. There are walking, hiking and cycling trails in the area, which are perfect ways to enjoy the prettiness of Mpumalanga at a comfortable pace.

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land is also home to a few nature reserves of different sizes. These offer stunning game driving, birding, wildlife photography, and off-road trails. Some of the animals that can be found roaming the land include zebra, cheetah, jackal, hyena, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, caracal, eland, elephant, ostrich, impala, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, and many more.

Adventure tourists or families looking for a thrill will love horse riding, quad biking, and paragliding their way through Mpumalanga’s rugged mountains. Off-roading can also be a thrill, and promises spectacular views.

Explore the caves and get a glimpse into the Africa of yesteryear as you discover ancient pieces of rock art. These remnants are awesome features of the area, and give visitors a peek into the ancient people that once inhabited the area, and their fascinating customs. There are a number of archaeological remains that add a nostalgic magic to the area too. Heading out with an experienced guide for a cultural or historical tour is a very special experience that will make the mountains come alive in an entirely new way.

As a World Heritage Site, the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain Land is an even more exciting reason to visit Mpumalanga. These mountains are about four hours from Johannesburg, and 7.5 hours from Durban. Both of these cities have large international airports.

Need to Know

WhereBarberton Makhonjwa Mountain covers an area of 120 by 60 kilometres, about 80% in Mpumalanga, and the remainder in neighbouring Swaziland.

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Barberton Accommodation, Mpumalanga


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