This is another retroactive blogpost highlighting some of my discoveries, this time it is Confidence Reef in Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Roodepoort.
I do not recall where I read about Confidence Reef originally, but when I moved to a flat on the border of the reserve I was able to go out there and try to find it. My first exploration revealed a fenced off site with no way of knowing how to access it. Fortunately my local “knock and drop” advertised tours of the site and I eventually managed to secure a spot on the tour. They are very popular in spite of this being one of those strange tours that you would expect to be unpopular.
The old workings are fenced off, and once I saw the workings I could see why. The tour encompassed a very interesting talk about the mine workings and the early days of gold in what was then the Transvaal. Then we moved off to the shelter at the mine itself and finally into the old workings. Kloofendal is an unspoilt area and there is a good chance that it has not changed much since the days when prospectors were searching for gold. I am not an expert in the subject though, it is easier to read about it yourself (link has expired).
The mine is also a National Monument, although that really means nothing anymore.
Realistically these are really holes that were hewn into the rock, and they are quite shallow. But how on earth they decided to dig at this point amazes me because the area would have been very wild back then, and even with marked pathways it is difficult going.
Many months after my visit the first of some of the artifacts relating to mining was returned to Kloofendal, These had originally been sighted in Florida on the West Rand, and they are now part of a much larger and more comprehensive experience.
The stamp battery ties into the one erected close by where some of the ore was processed. There was water there, and it seems like a logical place to erect something like this, even though it was 3 kilometres from where the mine was.
The image above I photographed while on the tour and some more images of the workings below.
Living where I did meant that I was living on top of history, and who knows what the area would have looked like had large quantities of gold been discovered. It is doubtful that the reserve would still exist today, and just maybe Roodepoort would have become the “City of Gold” instead of Johannesburg. As it is there was a lot of mining activity on the West Rand, and overdevelopment is encroaching on some of the many unspoilt areas that still exist here. All it takes is a greasy palm and a rubber stamp.
© DRW 2009-2022, images recreated 07/03/2016, links fixed 23/11/2021