Needing a much-deserved break (if I do say so myself) from the commotion of the City of Johannesburg, I decided to take a vacation to the beauty that is Graskop.
Coming from Soweto, Johannesburg, we took the approximately 4h45min drive to Graskop. This was perfect for me as the main goal of this sho’t left was to, in fact, get lost in a longish scenic drive.
You may, however, take a 45min flight from JNB to NLP, and drive approximately 1h22min from there if you don’t fancy the drive.
Graskop is a small town situated in the Panorama region of Mpumalanga. A town surrounded by a forest, it is 1 400 m above sea level and right in the middle of the Panorama Route. On your way there expect to be left speechless as you drown in the turns and rolls of the hills and the valleys that will escort you to the mountain tops where you will be engulfed by the sheer wonder of mother nature herself.
The one mistake we made was leaving the city at around 2pm AND missing an offramp. This had quite an impact on us as we arrived at our destination just after sunset. Sunset y’ll. Now, you have to understand that there are no street lights and the reflectors are few and far apart on these very curvy roads that have their fair share of concealed driveways. During the winter and early mornings, they have been known to get quite misty as the altitude is considerably high. Not to mention since it is a forestation community, trucks and lorries will be your companions on your journey. Needless to say- do not drive at night on these roads.
Graskop is ideally situated where you can visit an array of attractions while you are there. The world famous God’s Window, Wonder View and Lisbon Falls are a short 10-minute drive, with Berlin Falls being a mere 12-minute drive away from the town of Graskop.
Other places you may visit that are considerably nearby include:
- Three Rondavels
- Lowveld View site
- Bourke’s Luck Potholes
The best view is by far on the edge of Wonder View. Wow. It is absolutely breathtaking with a spectacular sight that will leave you without a shadow of a doubt that this rock we call home is much bigger than what we can ever grasp. It is the highest viewing point in the area standing at 1 730 m above sea level overlooking the lush rich Lowveld.
When you do go to God’s Window, be sure to take a young hike to the Rain Forrest. You will not regret it. Stepping into the Rain Forrest is the equivalent of being transported into an alternate universe where plants rule and the Earth is well alive under your feet.
Once you exit the Rain Forest on the other side, you will be pleasantly welcomed by a spectacular open view that makes up the same view as the one at Wonder View (ah, the views I tell you).
Another must-see is the gorge at the Graskop Gorge Lift Co. There is a conservation fee here ( R20 for adults and pensioners aged 17+; and R10 for children aged 4-16. Kids 4 years and younger enter free) that gets you a walk on the veranda that doesn’t go anywhere with access to the same sight as you’d get if you’d have a seat at their restaurant.
You cannot, unfortunately, just take a lekker long walk down some stairs to the bottom of the gorge (now that would be something). If you want to go down to the gorge, you do have to buy a ticket to the most expensive elevator ride you will ever have. Is it worth it? Yes. It most certainly is. I personally didn’t take to some of their decors and felt like they used too many props unnecessarily as it gives the place a gimmicky vibe. The place is a wonderworld all on its own.
I encourage any and all dendrologists and tree lovers to visit the gorge as nature down here is still true to its roots.
What you’ll also enjoy about the Graskop Gorge Lift Co. besides their lift and the forest is the:
- Shops and community craft centre
- Art gallery
- Lift Café
Surrounded by fresh, crisp air that has woody, sweet and earthy undertones; the temperature was between summer days and winter nights on our 3-night stay there.
Graskop is the ideal place to rejuvenate and revitalise not only yourself but your relationship to. I definitely look forward to going back again, staying longer, and embarking on some more adventure.