Pilgrim’s Rest is a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The town in its entirety is protected as a provincial heritage site and boasts a number of historical, natural, and cultural attractions, and serves as a great base from which to explore the spectacular Panorama Route. Scroll down to view our list of accommodation in Pilgrim’s Rest.
The history of Pilgrim’s Rest dates back to 1873 when a miner named Alex Patterson discovered alluvial gold on a farm called Ponieskrantz. The town was officially declared a gold field in September 1873. Soon after, an influx of optimistic panners came from all over the world. The very basic settlement soon grew into a prosperous little village with brick houses, shops, churches, and accommodation to suit all needs and budgets.
The mining industry in Pilgrim’s Rest was short-lived as mining was shut down in 1971 and the village was sold to the government as a national museum. The town’s original architecture remains unchanged since it was declared a provincial heritage site in 1986.
Pilgrim’s Rest boasts a range of exciting attractions. Be sure to visit the famous graveyard, where every grave lies facing the same direction, except for the well-known “Robber’s Graveâ€ which was laid perpendicular to the rest and inscribed with a cross and the words “Robber’s Graveâ€. It was said that the robber’s grave was laid out this way so that he could not see the rising sun.
Those in search of a history lesson will enjoy Pilgrim’s Rest architectural treasures. There are many old churches, such as the Sacred Heart Church, St Mary’s Church, Methodist Church, and the Dutch Reformed Church. There is also the Drezden Shop and House Museum, Joubert Bridge, Printing Museum, and the Digging Museum with an interesting display and tour depicting the lifestyle of the region's original pioneers and their methods for panning alluvial deposits.
Pilgrim’s Rest is ideally located to allow easy access to Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. This scenic route boasts attractions such as the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, the Three Rondavels, Pinnacle Rock, and numerous waterfalls.
Visitors to Pilgrim’s Rest can enjoy browsing an abundance of arts and crafts stores, where one can purchase pottery, stained glass, weaving, hot glass, and even customised crockery. Other activities in Pilgrim’s Rest include gold panning, horse riding, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, and golfing at Pilgrim’s Rest Golf Club. Don’t miss doing a tour of the Africa Silks Farm in Graskop, exploring the Alpha Omega Cave in Ohrigstad, and doing the 68m freefall Big Swing in Graskop. Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the Mount Sheba Nature Reserve, Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, and Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve.
Make the most of your visit by staying overnight at one of the wonderful Pilgrim’s Rest accommodations listed below.