Local gold panning enthusiasts put their heads together and formed the South African Gold Panning Association in July 1997.


In the same year South Africa became the twentieth member of the World Gold Panning Association; the primary objective being to promote and maintain the tradition of gold panning in South Africa and to facilitate co-operation between gold prospectors.


S.A.G.P.A joined forces with the Pilgrims Rest Museum and Mpumalanga's Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation to present the first South African Gold Panning Competition in December 1997. At this competition 78 local gold panners participated.


Since 1997 public interest in gold panning has increased steadily and by the 2003 National Championships participation had increased to 537 competitors. There have also been competitors from Mozambique , Zambia , rolex replica Great Britain , Switzerland and New Zealand.


South African gold panning has come a long way and all the events now complied fully with International standards.


For the past 7 years, S.A.G.P.A and Mpumalanga 's Dept. Culture, Sport and Recreation have successfully presented the S.A. National Championships every replica watches year and sent a fully representative team to participate in the World Championships in Poland, Australia, Japan and in 2003 Switzerland .


In October 2001 at the AGM of the World Gold Panning Association, S.A.G.P.A succeeded to secure the bid to host the 2005 World Gold Panning Championships at Pilgrim's Rest, Mpumalanga. This was not only a first for South Africa but a first for Africa.


Gold panning may have its roots firmly in the past and can often be perceived to be dominantly in the domain of a bygone era in our history.

In South Africa, gold panning has however both feet firmly in the future and has captured the interest and imagination of young and old.



The 2005 World Gold Panning Championships hosted by South Africa at Pilgrims Rest was more than adequate proof that the gold fever that ignited a spirit of adventure in thousands of men and women in the past is still very prevalent in South Africa today.


The successful partnership between the South African Gold Panning Association and Mpumalanga’s Department Culture, Sport and Recreation, through the promotion of gold panning, has successfully transformed a heritage activity to be a hands-on “live your heritage” experience.

This process has met with a great deal of enthusiasm from the public as gold panning is supported and practiced by people from all races, genders and ages. It is not expensive to get into as little equipment is needed and no special physical attributes are required other than enthusiasm and passion. The utilisation of gold panning as an all inclusive heritage activity has also contributed greatly to nation building and cross-cultural understanding.

Each competitor receives a gold pan and a bucket of sand in which a specific number of nuggets are hidden.

The winner will have panned out the most nuggets in the shortest time.

The number of nuggets in the buckets are only known to the chief judge and participants are penalised for lost nuggets.