About 10 minutes outside of Graskop you’ll find a fork in the road – taking a right will lead you into the heart of Graskop, and a left will lead you down a winding mountain road right into Pilgrim’s Rest. Recently declared a national monument and a heritage site, Pilgrim’s Rest is a tiny little town in Mpumalanga established during the gold rush in the late 1800s.
Since it’s hey-day more than a 100 years ago, the town has not changed much and walking through it feels like you’ve taken a step back in time. It’s pretty eery, and leaves no wonder as to why this town is famously haunted. (In fact, why not do a ghost tour while you’re there?)
Another fun thing to do is grabbing a museum ticket (R20.00 per person at the time of publishing – that gives you entry to 4 of the street museums.) First on the list, and definitely a highlight, is stepping though and exploring the house museum. Beautifully preserved and restored, it give you a glimpse into a simpler time. It’s extremely fun walking through and trying to image what life was like back in the day.
The car museum is another highlight where you’ll find an amazing steam engine truck and an assortment of horse-drawn carriages and other old vehicles. At the news agency you’ll see a collection of heavy iron machinery and press prints.
It’s completely mindboggling to see the technology of this era and marvel at how far we’ve come as a civilization and how much the world has changed in a relatively short span of time. To think that this one horse town was the second town in all of southern Africa to have street electricity, is absolutely insane! It’s what makes visiting Pilgrim’s Rust so much more special – the fact that it’s preserved so well truly gives you a glimpse into an historical time.
The town features a variety of stores, restaurants, homes and museums and is truly a must-see destination. Everything is extremely fairly priced, and a cinnamon pancake at “The Stables” (check it out HERE) is the best we’ve had in years. Definitely recommended!