Pilgrim's Rest is situated several kilometres northwest of Graskop in the northeast of Mpumalanga.
The origin of Pilgrim's Rest is often credited to the discovery of gold 1873, by digger Alec "Wheelbarrow" Patterson. Pilgrim's Creek and the valley that it was situated in proved to be rich in gold and within two years there where about 1,500 diggers working in the area. By 1875 Pilgrim's Rest, as it was now known as, was home to 21 stores, 18 canteens, 3 bakeries and a newspaper. Gold mining continued until 1971 when Beta Mine was closed down, and today the lone prospector can still be found searching for a nugget.
The historical town of Pilgrim's Rest was declared a living museum in 1976 to preserve the history of gold mining in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, and has been declared a provincial heritage site in its entirety. Visitors to this town will truly feel as if they have stepped back in time, and can get a sense of what the gold rush days must have been like. Fine and graceful church architecture can be seen in the buildings of Sacred Heart Church, St Mary's Church, Methodist Church and Dutch Reformed Church, while visitors to the Digging Museum can become well informed on the lifestyle of original pioneers and the methods they used in panning alluvial deposits. The Dredzen Shop and House Museum are living museums depicting the lifestyle of the town's original general dealers, and visitors can see original goods on display in the street side shop. Other highlights include the Joubert Bridge, built in 1896 at the western entrance to the town as well as the Printing Museum that chronicles the printing industry and has displays including historical front pages of local newspapers.
Pilgrim's Rest has a very mild climate in contrast with the extreme heat of the surrounding lower lying areas and is located in a malaria free area. It is also a good base from which to explore the game reserves and other natural attractions of the Mpumalanga Lowveld. Visitors can enjoy pleasant walks and spectacular scenery at the Mount Sheba Nature Reserve.
The whole town will prove to be great entertainment for the whole family. Maps can be obtained from the Central Info Office, and visitors can choose between different walking routes through the historic streets. Soak up the atmosphere, or try your hand at gold panning. The famous 'ghosties' tour will prove to be chilling entertainment, while sipping a draught in a traditional canteen or pub is brilliant after a long day out.
There is a good 9-hole golf course with shared greens, and appropriately for a town that is a provincial heritage site, the clubhouse's walls were constructed with materials brought originally by ox-wagon from Groot Marico.
Did You Know that the current population Pilgrim's Rest is about 1,700.
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