Lepogo La Thaba Adventures

Lepogo La Thaba Family Event

Lepogo La Thaba Adventures is situated in the Waterberg Mountain Range.

Various studies surrounding Thabazimbi in the Southern Waterberg show that Iron ore, Tin and Bronze were mined, even earlier than the 15th century AD, mostly by picking up rock or nuggets by hand, as well as by means of panning.  These mines and “refining facilities” was of no great economical value, and seems to be operated for “Personal and Community” use, to forge basic axes, picks, tin and bronze jewellery. With hard rock mining that took over since the last century, panning and hand-refining for these elements totally disappeared.

Although there are still markings of old mining sites and refinery ovens in the surrounding area, it is obvious that iron, copper and tin smelting furnace designs were poorly understood and mostly consist of Iron Age Technology. The furnaces were mostly modelled from clay  or were “dug-in” furnaces.

Ore panning is an old method of mining.  According South African History Online, panning as a mining method, was cheap and simple, though not very lucrative. Ore panning in South Africa is an art that has almost died down and now became part of our History, however it should be noted that “Gold Panning”, has been classified as an actual sporting event, with National Competitions annually held in Pelgrimsrus.

As for panning as an outdoor Family-event, Lepogo La Thaba Adventures introduced a “new” way, to relive a bit of history and to get a better understanding of panning and the refining of panned-ore.

Although Iron panning is quite easy, and Tin panning a bit harder, we created the same setup as was used by the old prospectors, by making use of “aluminium-nuggets”.

We’ve set aside a specific stretch of stream, that is “salted” with aluminium-nuggets, which can be panned out by all members of the family, from small kiddies to the elderly in a full-day or weekend event. The aluminium nuggets panned, become your property, which could by refined on the same premises by utilizing an old and “Iron Age” like furnace. Your own design could be moulded from clay or you are welcome to use some of our designs to craft your own article, depending on how many nuggets were retrieved.

This is a full-day or weekend event that includes:


  • A short ten-minute history / background session,
  • A quick demonstration on panning and what to look for,
  • A walk up and down the stretch of stream to familiarize you with the area,
  • And then the fun is on…

Midday – Afternoon:

  • (You are welcome to pack a picnic basket or make use of our braai facilities.)
  • Continue panning or if you have “enough” nuggets light the fire in the oven!
  • Melt down the Aluminium for moulding.


Please take note that usually close the day of on the “Sunset-Rock”.



Please contact Grobbies at  johangrobler@nermf.co.za for further information.