Pilgrims Rest, Mpumalanga South Africa

Pilgrims Rest, Mpumalanga South Africa.

Time didn't exactly forget this gem, it just ignored it for a while and then realised it was worth preserving. In 1873, a gold-panner named Patterson, left the Mac Mac area to search for a place that was less congested, and found a beautiful valley where he found gold in the river.

In 1875 Pilgrim's Rest was declared a public gold digging area and was flooded with fortune hunters from all over the world. It wasn't long before a ramshackle town sprung up around the find. The last working mine closed down in 1972, after which the whole town was bought by the then Transvaal provincial authorities, who developed it as a museum town.

With its many museums, original buildings, and atmospheric lodgings, restaurants and bars, it doesn't take too much imagination to picture the rough and ready place this once was. Pilgrims Rest is a mere 10 kilometres (6 miles) from Graskop, less than an hour's drive from Nelspruit and about 5 hours from Johannesburg.