Mining in Mpumalanga dates back centuries, when unknown miners worked quartz reefs in the area for gold. Today you can still see proof of the diggings in this area.
The history of Pilgrim’s Rest goes back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered gold on the farm Ponieskrantz. He kept the discovery secret but the inevitable happened when a second prospector William Trafford also discovered gold close by. After their discovery became know it drew optimistic gold panners and prospectors from all over the country and world!
On 22nd September 1873 Pilgrim’s Rest was officially proclaimed a gold field and the scatter of tents and rudimentary shacks soon grew into a flourishing little village complete with brick houses, church, shops, canteens, a newspaper and the famous Royal Hotel. The diggers called it Pilgrim’s Rest because here, at last, after so many false trails and faded dreams they had truly found their home. In time the alluvial deposits were dwindling and the locals turned to forestry, but their village, has been carefully preserved as a "living museum".
Pilgrims Rest is an unspoiled gold mining village and national monument that definitely offers a unique experience.
There is so much to do in the village, from treasure hunting that could lead you to a gold dig where you can "stake your claim" and maybe strike it lucky or enjoy a street party. For the not so fainthearted, you can enjoy Sherries in the graveyard.
Pilgrims Rest offers a nine hole golf course, horse riding, trout fishing, hiking trails, museums and curiosity shops.