South Africa strikes gold by winning rights to host 2023 World Gold Panning Champs in Pilgrim's Rest

20 August 2020

MBOMBELA –It's official! South Africa has won the bid to host 2023 World Gold Panning Championships.

"We are delighted that the country's bid to host the 2023 World Gold Panning Championships was successful," says Culture, Sport and Recreation MEC, Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, who made a virtual presentation on August 19 to the World Gold Panning Association Exco in Czech Republic where this year's championships are currently underway. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the country couldn't participate in the championships.

The 2023 World Gold Panning Championships will see the country host the spectacle for the third time. The other instances were in 2005 and 2012. Come 2023, Pilgrim's Rest will roll out welcome mat to panners from Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

"The World Gold Panning Championships afford South Africa with a platform to once again show the world that the country are good hosts and organisers par excellence of big sporting events. The gold panning extravaganza will bring social and economic spinoffs to the host town as sport is a great unifier and we are optimistic that the championships will do exactly that – unite the country and also bring about economic benefits to the town. The championships are an opportune event to revive the fortunes of the historic mining town. With tourism being the backbone of the town's economy, the tournament is expected to inject millions in that sector," adds the MEC.

The gold panning championships are to the mining town, what the Durban July is to Durban – the event of the year. It attracts a large number of people who follow the fortunes of the best panners in the world and the side events such as wheelbarrow race. The wheelbarrow race brings together panners and the community to see who is fastest on one-wheel. The sport first gained prominence in 1997 when the first national championship where held in the town and it has been a gold rush ever since with participation growing in leaps and bounds over the years and this did not go unnoticed. The South African Gold Panning Association was welcomed to the World Gold Panning Association a few years later.

Gold panning is easy to get into as it is not expensive and requires little equipment – you only need a pan and enthusiasm. Each panner receives a bucket of sand in which a specific number of nuggets are hidden. The winner would have panned out the most nuggets in the shortest time.

Enquiries: Sibongile Nkosi 082 492 4886.