Pilgrims Rest

The town of Pilgrim’s Rest is a living snapshot of South Africa’s gold rush era. Here, you can follow in the footsteps of gold prospectors, highway robbers and the pioneers. You can also relive the spirit of a bygone era by waking up in a historic hotel or ordering a beverage from an original bar. It is a window into the lives of the people of the 1800’s and their quest for gold!

Pilgrim’s Rest is located on the scenic Panorama Route in the Kruger Lowveld of Mpumalanga province. The area is rich in natural beauty and a wealth of cultural and historical nuggets can also be found. The entire town was declared a national monument in 1986 and has also been earmarked in the Cultural category of UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List. A team of historians, architects and special interest groups have since monitored all developments and refurbishments, so that the town will maintain its historic appearance.

WHAT TO DO?

The town is small enough to be explored on foot and mementos from the past can be discovered on almost every corner. Robber’s Grave, the War Memorial, digging sites and historic church buildings are just some of the visual offerings.

The Anglican Church, built in 1884 is the oldest church building in Pilgrim’s Rest. It houses a 100-year-old organ. And the original copper and lead glass window can also be viewed. The church is also a popular wedding venue.

Gold rush fever still hits the town every September, when the annual Gold-Panning Championships are held. Young and old are encouraged to take part in the challenge to see who can find the first nugget.

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A wide variety of antiques and collectables, as well as arts, crafts and curios are on offer at the various shops dotted around town.

Activities are not limited to the town. The surrounding areas are teeming with spellbinding valleys and rivers, ideal for outdoor activities; from hot-air ballooning, to overnight hikes, golf, fly-fishing and horse-riding.

For the more adventurous, Panorama Gorge in Graskop (15km from the town) boasts one of the world’s highest cable gorge swings with a 68m freefall, with the option of flying across the 80m high gorge on the high wire slide.

 

PLANNING AND TRAVEL INFORMATION

 

There is no ATM available at Pilgrim’s Rest. Most businesses do have credit card machines. Proprietors state that cash and gold nuggets are accepted.

Who to contact

Pilgrim’s Rest Tourism Information Centre
Tel: +27 (0)13 768 1060

For more information about the neighbouring towns,
also visit the websites of:
Sabie
Graskop
Hazyview

How to get here

Pilgrim’s Rest is on the R533, 15 kilometres northwest of Graskop in the northeast region of the Mpumalanga province.

The town is 384 kilometres (approx. 4 hours) away from Johannesburg

Best time to visit

Any time of year. It can however get uncomfortably hot during December and January.

September is when Gold-panning Championships are held

Surrounding areas

Pilgrim’s Rest is located on the scenic Panorama Route – a truly picturesque part of South Africa. It is close to must-see natural gems such as God’s Window with dazzling views across the region, the unique natural wonder of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and the spectacular Blyde River Canyon.

Tours to do

The Information Centre in Pilgrim’s Rest is equipped with maps and details on the numerous tours which are run in the town

Length of stay

It is advised to stay for at least a weekend – there is plenty to do in the area.

Accommodation

There is something for everyone: from luxury accommodation in hotels, spas and lodges, to guesthouses and backpacker hostels.

Food

There are an assortment of restaurants, pubs and home bakeries in town.

A visit to Pilgrim’s Rest is not complete without a mandatory meal at The Royal Hotel –this grand dame has seen her share of legendary tales and memorable events.

the-royal-hotel-pilgrims-rest