One of South Africa’s most-loved and admired heritage sites, the tiny hamlet of Pilgrim’s Rest lies in the heart of the gold-specked Drakensberg Mountains. The action really kicked off here in the late 1800s when alluvial gold was discovered in the streams that trickle down the hillsides around the settlement, leading to a huge influx of people from around the world. Nowadays, Pilgrim’s Rest is a national monument, brimming with historic buildings and perfectly-restored and -maintained heritage sites. Not to mention its plentiful and fabulously hospitable bars, cafés and restaurants.
- Alanglade House: A settler home with all mod cons from the turn of the twentieth century, when Pilgrim’s Rest had electricity before many of the world’s major cities.
- The Royal Hotel dates back to Gold Rush Days; have a beer here and you half-expect “Wheelbarrow” Paterson or Percy Fitzpatrick to tap you on the shoulder and tell you about the day’s discoveries
- Cemetery and Robber’s Grave – Dead people from all over the world but particularly from Ireland, Wales, Canada and the Antipodes. All facing the rising sun except one: the robber
- Gold-panning – Pilgrim’s Rest frequently hosts the World Gold Panning Championships so, if you are going to make your fortune, it’s probably here
- Jock, a Staffordshire bull terrier, belonged to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a gold-panner turned transport-rider, turned politician. His world-renowned book Jock of the Bushveld has never been out of print and has spawned three movies. This is where it all began