Did you know?
There are still some active gold mines in the Pilgrim's Rest area.
The Prospector’s Hiking Trail in the Pilgrim’s Rest area of Mpumalanga offers you a variety of scenic hikes with a difference – you get a history lesson along with the beautiful scenery.
Gold was discovered in the Spekboom River in 1871 and two years later the gold rush was on. Fortune hunters from around the world made their way to the little town of Pilgrim’s Rest hoping to strike it rich. At one stage over 1 500 miners were working up to 4 000 claims in the upper, middle and lower camps.
Today you can choose from five different Prospector's Trail options that relive the history of those heady times as well as introducing you to some of the natural attractions of this lovely scenic area.
Hike the two-night Peach Tree Creek Trail, which takes you to the diggings where you'll experience the lifestyle of those early diggers. You’ll climb the coco pan tracks that served one of the mines, cross the Blyde River and follow a historic railway line, walking through grassland and indigenous forest, before climbing down into Pilgrim’s Rest itself.
In this historic little town – a living museum – you’ll visit the old hospital and the 'Robber’s Grave' at the evocative cemetery. The story goes that the robber, who was convicted of raiding the miners’ tents, was shot and killed on Cemetery Hill. His grave faces a different direction from all the others, forever branding him a thief.
If you’ve more time and are very fit, then hike the five-night Prospector’s Trail, rated as 'very difficult'. Although this hike requires one to be in tip-top shape, you’ll forget your aching feet when you view the diverse scenery, listen to the birdsong, cool off in the mountain streams, and maybe even get a glimpse of the wild horses – descendants from the pioneer past.