Pilgrim's Rest Travel Guide

  • Pilgrim's Rest
    by mikelisaanna
  • The Catholic church in lower Pilgrim's Rest
    The Catholic church in lower Pilgrim's...
    by CatherineReichardt
  • The Central Garage
    The Central Garage
    by mikelisaanna

Pilgrim's Rest Highlights

  • Pro
    cleocat profile photo

    cleocat says…

     Beautiful scenery, interesting, reliving an exciting past. 

  • Con
    Jenniflower profile photo

    Jenniflower says…

     They've recently allowed hawkers to sell African wares - the goods arent even Southern African though! They're mostly North African, which I don't think is right - they should be encouraging local... 

  • In a nutshell
    Jenniflower profile photo

    Jenniflower says…

     Perfect historical village 

Pilgrim's Rest Things to Do

  • Explore upper Pilgrim's Rest

    First time visitors may be a little confused that Pilgrim's Rest is divided into two sections - the upper and lower town.The upper town has better developed tourist infrastructure, including the iconic Royal Hotel (see my travel tip on the Church Bar) and the museum. Many of the houses surrounding the Royal Hotel are actually annexes to the hotel,...

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  • Have a beer at the historic Royal Hotel!

    The Royal Hotel in Pilgrim's Rest is an iconic location. Made entirely of corrugated iron, it evokes the harsh but vibrant era of the 1870s gold rush when successful diggers wanted to celebrate their success and the unsuccessful needed to drown their sorrows!The most famous aspect of the Royal Hotel is the Church Bar. This structure was originally...

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  • Historic paraphernalia of lower...

    First time visitors may be a little confused by the fact that Pilgrim's Rest is split into two sections - the upper and lower town. The upper town has more developed tourist infrastructure (such as the Royal Hotel and the museum), whilst the lower town is more low key, but still very charming. Both are a lot more amenable to touristic meandering...

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  • Even the petrol pumps are in period!

    The whole of Pilgrim's Rest was declared a national monument in 1986 in recognition of its unique ability to reflect life in South Africa during the gold rush of the late 19th century. And, of course with the honour of national monument status come regulations and restrictions on alterations and additions which might detract from the character of...

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  • The Central Garage Museum

    The Central Garage is exactly what its name sounds like - the town garage of Pilgrim's Rest. It now serves as a transportation museum that features antique cars and trucks, as well as horse-drawn wagons and carriages. It was one of our favorite sights in Pilgrim's Rest. Although its collection isn't huge, it's of high quality.

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  • The Information Center

    The Information Center serves two purposes. First, it is the place where tourists can get information about Pilgrim's Rest, including brochures, maps, and tickets for tours. It also doubles as a small museum, with a number of interesting exhibits about the town's history. It is a good place to begin your visit to Pilgrim's Rest, because it will...

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  • House Museum

    The House Museum is a well-preserved Victorian-era home that is open to the public. The rooms that you can tour include a living room, dining room, bedroom and kitchen, all of which contain period furniture and decorations. It is open every day. There is a small admission fee. You buy your entrance tickets at the Information Center up the street.

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  • Groot Trek (The Great Trek)

    There is a monument in remembrance of the 1938 Great Trek. It is found on the banks of the Blyde /river, across the Joubert Bridge (this bridge was named after the Commandant Piet Jobert, it was built in 1896 over the Blyde River to ling the town to Lydenberg).Louis Trichardt was one of the great Boer leaders who visited Pilgrim's Rest looking for...

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  • Digging Museum and Gold Pannning

    A tour to describe the way the people once lived in the area and the way in which they panned for alluvial gold can be taken.A fascinating way to discover the way it was.

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  • The War Memorial and Oak Tree

    The War Memorial was erected to commemorate the men from Pilgrim's Rest and the area around it, who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars (1914-1919 and 1939-1945).The oak tree, which is next to the memorial, was planted as an acorn from the Delville Wood (the battle of Delville Wood was one of the bloodiest fought during the Somme...

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  • The "Our Golden Heritage" Museum

    The "Our Golden Heritage" Museum is very pedagogic on the thematic of Gold itself.--- from the Museum's leaflet ---The history of Pilgrim's Rest dates back to ancient times when unknown black miners worked the quartz reefs for gold. However, the historic village, as we know it, was founded in 1873 when alluvial gold was discovered in the Pilgrim's...

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  • Pilgrim's Rest - The Art Market

    On the Pilgrim's Rest main road visitors will find an extensive Art Market.I personally love to wander by this type of markets just to look into the details of the pieces. :)Click here to see my photo shots of the cool Art pieces that are available for sale at Pilgrim's Rest.

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Pilgrim's Rest Hotels

Pilgrim's Rest Restaurants

  • The BAR by the Royal Hotel

    I enjoyed a lot to see Royal-Hotel's BAR from the inside. Its decoration is really cool :)This historical Church Bar got its name because it is a former relocated school chapel.Titus Sibuyi, 54, was the bartender on duty when I was there.Food may be served at the Bar and these are the prices:- Soup of the day - for R18.- Appetizers & Salads - from...

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  • Local food

    We were on a group tour so we were herded into this place and thought "this looks pretty basic. What are we going to end up with here?" We shouldn't have worried, the tour operator knew what he was doing. The food was good and wholesome and a lot of it but the best part of this place was to come. Admittedly, they did it for a tip, but during the...

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  • The Oxtail

    The Royla hotel is a favourite with tourist. A bit overpriced for the locals. The whole town is a museum and the decor is that of the 1800 when the town was a busy mining area.Nice verandah for the hot December days. Gary had the oxtail. I'm not a great meat eater but he said it was excellent and well-priced.The kids had hamburgers with real beef...

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Pilgrim's Rest Shopping

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    Shop

    by cleocat Written Dec 27, 2005

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    Most of the shops have a variety of products. This one had great homemade nougat and relatively cheap clothing items. Shops are aimed at tourists and prices are quite high.

    What to buy: Nougat and hand-knitted scarfs. There are other clothing items and sweets and a lot of other small items as well. Lots of handmad African jewellery but I found these cheaper at the informal stands at waterfalls and the potholes in Bourke's luck.

    What to pay: Scarf - R40 - about $7.
    Nougat - big - R12 $2

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining

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Pilgrim's Rest Local Customs

  • Macadamia Nuts for sale

    Rosie & Martha, and myself assisting for some while, were selling Macadamia Nuts on the main street of Pilgrim's Rest.One pack costs R20. Two packs cost R35 and Three packs R50.About the Macadamia itself (from wikipedia):Macadamia is a genus of eight species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to...

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  • The Royal Hotel's BAR - Rules of the Bar

    Rules of this BAR1. ONLY 2 to a stole.2. No talk of RELIGION OR POLITICS.3. No pinching, petting or patting of any part of the anatomy of the tender gender without their expressed permission.4. NO CHECKS, CHITS, CHARGE-O-PLATES or ARMENIAN money accepted.5. Thoes drinking RUM must stay by themselves, preferably near the window.6. Thoes given to...

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  • The Big Five on one-pice of wood

    The Elephant, the Leopard, the Buffalo, the Lion and the Rhinocero, all together known as The Big Five are here (see picture) depicted on this one-piece of wood.

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Pilgrim's Rest Warnings and Dangers

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    by mikelisaanna Updated Nov 1, 2009

    Along the central street of Pilgrim's Rest, there are a number of teenagers who try various creative ways to get your money. Some do dances, some offer to wash your car or windshield, and some try to sell you souvenirs. They are not violent and are not thiefs - just aspiring capitalists. However, after a while, they get annoying. Just be firm and keep telling them no.

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    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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Pilgrim's Rest Tourist Traps

  • cleocat's Profile Photo
    A little bit of everything

    by cleocat Updated Jan 17, 2007

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    This is not really a tourist trap but useful to know. Pelgrim's Rest is very expensive. You can buy many of the articles that you find in the shops from the stalls at the waterfalls, Bourke's Luck potholes etc. They are normally half the price that you will pay at Pelgrim's Rest.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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Pilgrim's Rest What to Pack

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    by Jenniflower Written Jun 9, 2007

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    Luggage and bags: Luggage with wheels is always a good idea, wherever you are travelling.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Some ideas:

    Light coloured clothing that doesnt absorb the sun as much as dark clothing.

    Long-sleeved shirts and trousers will help protect you against the sun and possible insect bites.

    A cap/hat that covers your head and neck.

    Sunglasses.

    Comfortable sandals and tackies/trainers/sneakers.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take your recommended Malaria tablets if in a malaria zone, sun screen (at LEAST Factor 35 I would say), headache tablets (from being in the car during the sun all day, may bring on a headache), and usual little things like some plasters for blisters, Tabard for the mossies (mosquitos), cotton wool, germolene etc.

    Photo Equipment: Your camera, with charger, and an appropriate plug extension/adaptor.

    Bring along the best lens you can - a zoom lens will be needed as the animals are often in the distance and may only look like tiny specks in your photos when they are developed.

    Miscellaneous: Have a map of the area handy, plus a local bird, flower and tree book. For this you also need a pair of good quality binoculars. Take a torch and some bog roll if you are doing outdoorsy things (just in case!).

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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Pilgrim's Rest Off The Beaten Path

  • The Cemetary

    Not quite off the beaten track but you have to follow a sometimes narrow and sometimes steep path to get to the cemetary from the main road. Dating from the 1800's, many of the graves are of those people who did not do so well in the fever of the short lived gold rush of the 1800's. However, there is one odd grave.This grave stands facing in a...

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  • Dullstroom

    If you travel from Johannesburg instead of taking the highway to Lydenburg take the Dullstroom road. A picturesque little town between the mountains. It is popular for trout-fishing with lots of arts and craft shops, restaurants and coffee shops. It's peaceful and beautiful.

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  • Pilgrim's Rest Hotels

    4 Hotels in Pilgrim's Rest

    49 Reviews and Opinions

Pilgrim's Rest Favorites

  • RUST IN PEACE

    A funny sign with this old rusty car.Funny detail is that the word "rust" in Dutch means "rest" but the word "rust" in English would be "roest" in Dutch!

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  • Robbers grave

    The origin of the old cemetry is closely connected to the legend of the Robbers Grave.The grave is of an unknown man who was caught and convicted of tent robbing on the diggings (1873-1876), and subsequently banished. A few days later the thief was spotted on a hill, now known as Cemetry Hill.He was shot and killed where he stood and buried where...

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