Pilgrims Rest is a small museum town in the Mpumalanga province and is protected as a provincial heritage site. It was the second of the Transvaal gold fields, attracting a rush of prospectors in 1873. The frenzy happened soon after the MacMac diggings began some 5 km away. Alluvial panning eventually gave way to deeper ore mining. In the 1970’s the town, not drastically changed, grew to become a tourist vacation spot.
Pilgrim’s Rest is located on the magnificent Panorama Route in the Kruger Lowveld region of Mpumalanga. The distinctiveness of this historic village is vividly evident in its museums and historic sites. It offers a window into the past, and captures the spirit of a bygone era and a quest for gold.
The town’s unique architecture remains largely unchanged since the heyday of the mining period. This is because the town was declared a National Monument. The village is a cultural heritage site. Pilgrims Rest is a living village museum with a variety of excursions, lodging, eating places and outlets.
It’s said that there is still gold in the ground which is exciting for guests. Imagine as you stand on the very site where 150 years earlier men, women and kids have been frantically digging. Discovering the elusive solid nuggets would have them instantly wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. The scars of the frantic digging for gold by many prospectors are nonetheless apparent despite the passage of time. Experience just a part of what makes the town distinctive and interesting.
Pilgrims Rest Things to do
Prospector’s Hiking Trail
This is a series of trail options that explore the area around Pilgrim’s Rest, renowned for its surroundings. The paths have been formerly used by gold prospectors who scoured the rivers, creeks and waterfalls.
Alanglade House Museum
Situated just north of the village and built in 1915 by Transvaal Gold Mining Estates. Alanglade was the residence of the mine manager till 1972 when the last mine was finally closed. Today Alanglade is a period house museum and furnished with items from the early 1900’s.
Well-known for its scrumptious pancakes, waffles and home-made pies. Pilgrim’s Pantry is a welcome stop on a visit through the Panorama Route. Open each day for breakfast and lunch, you’ll experience pleasant service and great meals. A fully licenced, family-friendly restaurant and coffee shop.
Culture and history info
There is an abundance of gorgeous arts and crafts shops where one can purchase pottery, stained glass, weaving, hot glass and even custom crockery. Other exciting activities include horse riding, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking and golfing. The Mount Sheba Nature Reserve boasts a series of outstanding walks offering spectacular scenery.
There never was a more beautiful or romantic spot to have a gold rush than Pilgrim’s Rest. This spectacular area is richly imbued with a diversity of natural, cultural and historic gems. The uniqueness of this historic village is vividly evident in its museums and historic sites. The beauty here is unsurpassed. Pilgrims Rest offers all visitors a fascinating look into the past and captures the spirit of a former era and its people in their quest for gold. It is definitely well worth a visit.