Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Gold Reef City, South Africa

Gold Reef City is a large amusement park in Johannesburg, located on an old gold mine, the park is themed around the gold rush of the 1880s on the Witwatersrand.

19th century Johannesburg is recreated here with staff wearing period costumes of the 1880s, period houses, music, dance and many more. Activities for visitors include a gold pouring demonstration, gold panning and underground mine tour of the old number 14 shaft of Crown Mines.

Although visitors come here for various adventures like the Tower of Terror big drop, The Raging River Rapids water ride, a Ferris Wheel and the very scary high speed Anaconda roller coaster, I simply loved walking around the beautiful surrounding, taking in all that I could on this bright winter morning.

When tired you can always opt for a nice ride around the city.

One of the 4 steam locomotives used by Rustenburg Platinum Mines.
A tour of the Gold Reef City has already taken me back to the 1880s, now to get ready with helmet and miners lamp with its big battery pack to go down 5th level underground 220metres, to actually feel like a miner, which would give one an insight of the conditions the miners worked under. But hold on, before that, we must pause for a group photograph, our guide teased us saying "In case one of us gets lost in the mines."

Our tour started going down the shaft with a cage, a mine elevator to the 220 metres level. This is only the top level of the mine, which once reached the depth of 3293 metres. The major danger the miners faced those days was, there was no electricity and lighting was by candle light, which exposed the miners to risk of explosion. The heat which would rise to 50 degrees or more along with constant ear shattering noise of the drilling machines added to their misery.  

Just imagine a lone miner with a candle light and his drill .... Felt every moment, how the miners worked in such adverse conditions those days, thousands had lost their lives. Person suffering from claustrophobia, pregnant women and a person with disabilities could not take the underground mine tours.

This was the mine manager's station. Each miner would keep his card in a box, to grab it and rush out when there is a blast. Remaining of a card confirms the manager that a miner is missing in the blast.

The miners were not educated nor could they speak the same language as they were brought from different places,  they created a new language which was known as 'Fanagalo', by which they would communicate with each other. Counting of how much each miner mined, the manager would keep a board with 10 holes per row. Each time the miner filled a cocopan, manager would put a pin in the hole (you can see a board hanging over the cocopan). One cocopan would contain 1 ton of rock which would produce 4grams of gold.

There is still plenty of gold to be mined but seems not profitable. 

This is the museum dedicated to gold mining on the grounds where it is possible to see a gold containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels. Its amazing to see how gold is made ! 

Wow ! This is a real brick of gold ! How does it feel like ? Well, feels cool.... this bar of gold weighs a whooping 32 kilograms ! 

You can not carry home that bar of 32 kilograms of gold, but never mind, you can sure buy some wonderful soveniers from the gift shops like the one I bought, a bottle of pure gold leaves !

Well, what can be more refreshing than being with friends on such a lovely winter afternoon in the Gold Reef City. 

A friend helped me to choose some wonderful hand made chocolates in the chocolate factory in the Gold Reef City.


  1. Great place to visit

    Your photos also good

    Nice write up


    1. Thank you Krishna. Lovely to hear from you.

  2. Wow, I wouldn't mind owning that bar of gold! Lol. Seems you have been busy, Rupa!

    1. Thanks for dropping by gigi. Yes, workload is leaving me with no time and energy to read blogs or write all that is crowding my mind. But somehow decided to try my best to find some time at least to read my favourite blogs. That's how I visited your space last night.
      Hope David prevails today. Wish you both my best.

  3. A good insight. Conditiona of miners were definitely miserable.

    1. Thank you. Yes indeed, pathetic. I shuddered to hear our guide explain the condition inside the mine.

  4. You took us back to the 19th century gold mine as it was then.As I had been to Kolar Gold Field mine(since closed) in Karnataka and went down by the shaft some of it was familiar.But unlike KGF this place in SA is made a nice tourist spot and your excellent pictures and crisp description give the feel of an actual visit.Thanks

  5. Superb pics and thanks for sharing the information as well.