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Pilgrim's Rest Travel Guide: 35 reviews and 104 photos

Gold Rush Village - A little History

It was when a few insignificant gold deposits were found here, in the Northern parts of South Africa between 1840 and 1870, that the rush to get rich began. By 1873, when gold was discovered on the farm of Geelhoutboom, (translated into English this means Yellow wood bush, when used in furniture, it looks similar to Pine) near the town of Sabi on the Mpumalanga escarpment, there were some 1500 diggers working 4000 claims. It is believed that R2 million worth of gold was mined in the first seven years.

The President at the time, Burger, named the camp Mac Mac and called them the New Caledonia Gold Fields.

A digger by the name of Alec Patterson moved further afield and soon discovered alluvial gold in the Pilgrim's Creek, this is a tributary of the Blyde River.

By 1895, a few small mining companies had amalgamated to form the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates. Mining at Pilgrim's Rest continued until 1972.

Today Pilgrim's Rest has been declared a museum in it's entirety.

Robbers Grave

There is a grave that stands facing the opposite direction from all the other graves, this is the grave of an unnamed robber who as caught stealing. The rest of the graves are mainly of the folk that came to seek their fortune, only to end up in the Old Cemetery.

Highway Robbery
A coach robbery took place on the top of Pilgrim's Hill in 1899, now known as Robber's Hill for obvious reasons. Two masked men stopped a coach, threatened to shoot the driver and passengers, unhitched the mules and made off with £10 000 worth of gold.
In 1912, a local by the name of Tommy Dennison, decided to chance his luck to solve his debt problems and attempted a coach highjacking, unfortunately for Dennison, he was caught and thrown in jail for five years, this all for a few silver coins as opposed to the wealth he hoped to steal.

After his term inside, he returned to Pilgrim's Rest to open The Highwayman's Garage.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A step back in time
  • Cons:Naturally a tourist hotspot
  • Last visit to Pilgrim's Rest: Nov 2007
  • Intro Updated Jan 10, 2008
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Reviews (3)

Comments (1)

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    I went to Field School here in 1985 after living in South Africa for just a year at the time. We swam in the 'local pool' which was a waterfall! Gillybob greetings

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