Genesis of Life

Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains

Mark Ngwenyama and Nico Oosthuizen

Here among the ancient rocks where we can read the tale of how the earth itself began, Nico Oosthuizen and Mark Ngwenyama have been the driving force behind the application to have the Makhonjwa Mouintains declared a World Heritage site. 

They have accomplished much together and each refuses to work without the other. Over many years they have committed to the cause and achieved what seemed impossible. 

The Barberton Geotrail is just one of their achievements. It’s a tale of community collaboration and teamwork across a massive group of stakeholders. It’s also a bloody good idea and a tremendously interesting 32km drive. 11 stops along the way help unravel the story of these incredible mountains, and how their story in turn tells the tale of the origins of the earth and of life itself.

There’s the stuff of epics in the ancient rocks – evidence of tides beginning (and therefore a moon being formed), and the first lifeforms visible with the naked eye. It’s the story of our planet, packaged as a day outing with beautiful views. There’s nothing like it. More than 3,200,000,000 years ago this story took place, and that’s just the starting point of this head-haemorrhaging story.

With mining interests and property developers eyeing the area, it’s their work that is helping protect these treasures for all of humanity.






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