Pilgrims Rest, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Pilgrims Rest is a small town, with a population of only about 1800 people - but the history of the town and the traditional feel have made the town a National Monument since 1986. The town was born during the infamous Gold Rush. Alluvial Gold was first discovered in the stream which runs through the valley in 1873 by a prospector named 'Wheelbarrow' Alec Patterson.
Alec Patterson acquired his name as he always pushed his belongings in a wheelbarrow wherever he went - sounds easy, but as you go towards Pilgrims Rest and see the dramatic scenery and steep slopes you will have an added respect for the man!
As the news of his discovery spread, the valley's population grew, as the gold found there was of good quality. By the end of 1875 the town was flourishing with stores and other establishments. After many prosperous years - in one reef alone more than 140000 kilograms of gold were mined over 50 years! - mining stopped in 1972.
Today Pilgrims Rest is mainly a tourist attraction, and is well worth a visit during your stay in Mpumalanga . There are some cafes and restaurants although it is a gorgeous area for a picnic in the valley; also there are many craft shops and stalls throughout the town.
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