The Entire Town Of Pilgrim’s Rest Is A Glorious Living Museum!

Pilgrim’s Rest is situated in the Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

The small village of Pilgrim’s Rest can be found along the magnificent Panorama Route. The entire village has been declared a National Monument and is a settlement lost in time where visitors can walk in the footsteps of the early gold prospectors. It offers an opportunity a fascinating view into a bygone era and the uniqueness of this quaint village is evident in its many historic sites and museums, in fact the town itself is an actual living museum. A dedicated team of historians, architects and curators who monitor all developments and refurbishing in the town so as to maintain its historic appearance.

The attractions in the town are not limited only to the history of the gold rush, but also include a large variety of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the surrounding areas in a 4 x 4, spend time fly-fishing, hot-air ballooning, on day walks or overnight hiking and horse riding. The village is also host to plenty of shops selling arts, curios, crafts, collectables and antiques. Pilgrim’s Rest has made its way into the Top Ten most visited placed in South Africa by tourists in a survey done as they leave the country.

The town offers accommodation in the well-known Royal Hotel and the surrounding areas offer an array of Guest Lodges, holiday Resorts, backpackers’ accommodation plus camping and caravan sites in the area.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

Climate

Rainfall occurs mainly in the mid-summer months, with December and January seeing the highest levels. 

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 24˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 4˚C and 19˚C.

Transport

There are daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town into the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mombela (Nelspruit). Car rental companies are available for easy access to the surrounding areas with Pilgrim’s Rest being just over an hour away along the R537. Road trips from Johannesburg to Pilgrim’s Rest via the N12 will take about 4 hours.

Festivals

December – Pilgrim’s Rest Festival: An exciting festival with plenty of outdoor activities.

History

Alec Patterson, known as wheelbarrow Alec because he carried his belongings in a wheelbarrow, trundled into a deep valley on the western side of the edge of the Berg in 1873. He prospected the stream and found gold. It was not long before the news spread resulting in people streaming in from as far afield as Australia and California. On the 22nd September 1873 Pilgrim’s Rest was proclaimed a gold field and the scatter of tents and shacks grew into a flourishing little village. During 1874 the rush to Pilgrim's Rest was at its peak and the town grew with its own newspaper and churches and schools.

In 1876 productivity began to decline and people started leaving for more fertile prospecting land. Some companies that remained in Pilgrim's Rest produced good gold.

A handful of prospectors still work the streams of the area and it is difficult to imagine Pilgrim's Rest without a whisper of hope of a new discovery somewhere in the hills.

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