Gold Reef City

Crown Mines' No.14 shaft


Useful Information

Location: Northern Pkwy & Data Cres, Johannesburg, 2159, South Africa.
South of central Johannesburg. M1 Bloemfontein lane, Booysens exit. Signposted.
(-26.236666, 28.010995)
Open: All year Wed-Sun 9:30-17.
Online booking required.
Closed 25-DEC.
[2023]
Fee: Online booking required.
Adults ZAR 320.
[2023]
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=3,293 m, T=12 °C.
Guided tours: VR=75 m, St=150, MinAge=4.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Tsogo Sun Gaming, Gold Reef City Theme Park, Corner of Northern Parkway & Data Crescent, Ormonde, Johannesburg, Gauteng, Tel: +27-11-248-5000. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1886 George Harrison and George Walker discovered the Main Reef.
1897 mine opened.
1890s begin of deep-level mining.
1916 mine holds the record for the deepest mine shaft.
1977 mine closed.

Description

Gold Reef City started a theme park about the gold fields and their history. It included an open-air museum with many historic buildings of a 19th century mining town. Then they added a lot of rides, restaurants, a hotel, and even some casinos. Finally, the owner changed, and it is now operated by Tsogo Sun Gaming, who actually do only casinos and hotels. For them, even the theme park is just a by-product, the mine tour is the by-product of the by-product. It seems they are a little uncomfortable with the mining heritage, and somehow streamlined it. Also, they do not actively promote the underground tours, and they are only an add-on on any normal visit. This makes it very expensive if you just want to see the mine. It is necessary to pay the park fee plus the underground mine tour fee to see the mine.

They do not sell any tickets at the entrance any more, which is probably the result of the pandemic. The only way in is by booking online, and as a result, there are no accurate open hours or fees given any more. The website is not very helpful, the details about mine tours are very hard to find and incomplete. We suggest you follow the second link which is a youTube video which gives an impression on what to expect on the tour.

Gold Reef City was built on the grounds of the former Crown Mines. The Crown Mines are among the earliest and most important workings along the Main Reef of Johannesburg. The buildings and part of the mine, mine shaft no 14 to be exact, are included in the park. The tour starts with an audiovisual presentation of the history of the town and mine. A modern day school boy is introduced into the history by an old weathered gold miner. Then several buildings which once belonged to the mine are visited, for example, the Oosthuizen house. Finally, there is an underground part of the tour at a depth of 75 m. Visitors are equipped with a helmet and a miners lamp with its big battery pack, which is quite realistic. Then the tour goes down the shaft with a cage, a mine elevator, to the 75 m level. This shaft is called mine shaft no 14, but actually, it was the 13th shaft, they skipped this number due to superstition.

The underground tour is quite new and was created artificially for undisclosed reasons. The mine once reached a depth of 3,293 m. Twenty years ago the top level of the mine, which is 220 m below the surface, was used for the underground tours. The new tour now uses a level which was actually never mined. This is not really a problem, as such an underground tour is always more like a museum than like an actual mine. However, the rocks at the 75 m level were not mined because they do not contain gold, so the tour will not show you a gold ore bearing vein. Nevertheless, they try.

The tour explains the structure of the Crown Mines with an old mine cross-section. The show mine was later added to the historic sign in red, which looks a little weird. The tour shows how the ceiling was supported with iron bolts, how light was produced 100 years ago with mercury lamps, how boreholes were drilled for explosives, and how the ore was filled into mine carts and transported out of the mine. The carts were pulled out an inclined plane, and not with the cages, which were used for miners and material.

All in all we were not impressed by the underground tour, it is not worth the money. While the underground tour is not so spectacular, the following gold pouring definitely is. Molten gold is poured into a form, to create a gold bullion. There are very few gold mines on Earth where you can experience this live.

However, if you are not interested in the theme park or are dumped by the gambler in your family while he loses all your money, this is not worth the money.