Prospector's Hiking Trail

Pilgrim's Rest, Mpumalanga


The quaint old gold mining town of Pilgrim's Rest is the starting point for the 5-day Prospector's Hiking Trail. If you don't have the time to do the whole trail there are several shorter options. The history of gold mining operations in the Pilgrim's Rest area goes back more than 160 years to the 1840's. The gold rush began in 1873 when the Lydenburg magistrate advised the Transvaal Volksraad that gold had been discovered in the streams. Hundreds of diggers from as far a field as Australia, America, England and France flocked to the gold-fields to make their fortune. The trail passes many relics from these early days of mining as one climbs away from the start of the trail.

Click here to see enlarged map of trail

     

Pilgrim's Rest to Morgenzon 12,6 Km

The Pilgrim's Rest hut has mattresses, electricity, hot showers, firewood and braai area. The hut is convenience for a short walk into town to visit the Royal Hotel for dinner or just some exploration of the curio shops.

 From the hut, the trail meanders through the town, visiting several of the historical areas before crossing the Blyde River and following an old railway line into Peace Tree Creek. The trail then follows one of the early diggers paths, passing several of the old mines. From here the trail ascends through Protea veld, grassland and indigenous forest to Morgenzon hut.

 

 

Pilgrim's Rest Hut

Braai area
     

Morgenzon Hut

Morgenzon Braai area

 

Morgenzon Hut

Morgenzon hut caters for 16 hikers with bunk beds, no electricity, cold showers, toilets and braai area with firewood provided.

Trail Options

From Morgenzon Hut there is the option of returning to Pilgrim's Rest Hut via an alternative route of 8,3Km, thereby making it a two day trail. There is also an option of a three day trail that visits Blackhill and Excelsior huts. This route is 41,3Km long.

     

Morgenzon Hut to Blackhill Lookout 15,6Km

This section of the trail starts off with a short walk to Morgenzon forest station and then crosses Clewer stream before following a section of the old Robbers Pass, the old supply route to Pilgrim's Rest. The trail then descends to Clewer Falls and then climbs steeply along the stream, through indigenous forest until it reaches a historical wagon path. The trail descends into another valley before once more ascending steeply past waterfalls and through fynbos until Blackhill Lookout Hut is reached.

Blackhill lookout hut has the same facilities as Morgenzon.

 

Blackhill Lookout

Braai

     
 

Blackhill Lookout is one of the highest points in the area and provides excellent views of the surrounding area.

     

Blackhill Lookout to Excelsior Hut 10Km

This is the easiest of the days and can be taken at a more relaxed pace. The day starts with a climb to the Blackhill viewpoint. The trail then descends into a valley and passes through Pine plantations interspersed with rocky outcrops and then rises slowly to a highpoint overlooking Crystal Springs and Themeda Hills. The trail descends again and eventually arrives at a large stream with waterfalls and pools. The trails then ascends to a viewpoint overlooking the Origstad Valley and then crosses grassland until Excelsior Hut is reached.

The facilities are the same as to be found at Morgenzon Hut.

 

Excelsior Hut

Braai Area

Excelsior Hut to Morgenzon Hut 15,7Km

This is a fairly long and strenuous day and an early start is advisable. The day starts with a climb up to another viewpoint before passing through a Pine plantation and then undulates through grassland and Pines before eventually descending into the beautiful Clivia Bush in which a number of beautiful Clivia are to be found. The trail then descends into a valley to a small stream and a historical wagon track. The path then passes the Jock of the Bushveld plaque and the Robbers Pass plaque. The trail follows a stream before reaching Klipspringer Randjies with lovely views before following a stream to Morgenson Hut.

Morgenzon Hut to Pilgrim's Rest 8,3Km

The final part of the trial is fairly easy and short, allowing for a further opportunity to visit the beautiful little town of Pilgrim's Rest. The trail follows a path along a plantation edge and grassland before joining the Columbia Race, a furrow that supplied water to Columbia Mine. The trail then descends to the Blyde River and the opportunity for a short swim before the final short walk into Pilgrim's Rest.

Conclusion

The Prospector's trail is a unique trail that brings together the historical interests and natural environment of the area, beautifully. The full trail is, however, not easy and should be attempted only by fit hikers. The shorter options should be considered as an alternative by those that are less fit.

Trail accredited by Southern Africa Trail Owners Association

Bookings

Komatiland Forests (Pty) Limited (a subsidiary of SAFCOL)

Telephone +27 (0)13 754 2724  Fax +27 (0)13 754 2790

e-mail ecotour@safcol.co.za

or

Jacana Travel Marketing and Reservations

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Telephone  0861Jacana (0861 522262)

Direct phone: Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439

Pretoria: 012 803 9109

Direct fax: PE 041 378 2548

Pretoria: 012 803 4144

 PE e-mail  bookings@jacanacollection.co.za

Pretoria e-mail: rosa@jacanacollection.co.za

 


Footprint Hiking Club

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