Travel

Going down

Going down

Imagine a lift taking you more than 50 metres down the face of a gorge into a forest below … a forest where you can explore one of South Africa’s few Afromontane regions. Welcome to the Graskop Gorge Lift Co.

When you live in South Africa, it is well worth being a tourist in your own country. And there are few areas worth visiting more than Mpumalanga. A new-ish (… it is been open not quite a year) highlight to this area’s tourism offering is the Graskop Gorge Lift Co, where you will find Africa’s first viewing lift, which travels down the face of the Graskop Gorge and into the forest below. Quite an experience … but that is just the start. When you step out of the lift, the real show begins!

This region is one of the very few Afromontane forests in southern Africa – a type of forest habitat that is becoming a fast-vanishing ecosystem. They occur in pockets along mountain ranges in well-watered areas, including ravines and south-facing slopes, and in South Africa they cover just half a percent of our country’s land area. And they are glorious!

Under a rich green canopy of trees is a verdant wonderland, filled with a extraordinary variety of plants, animals, insects and birds. Explore this spectacular area via a 600m circular trail comprising elevated boardwalks and suspension bridges, with carefully placed interpretation boards providing info on the area, plants and inhabitants. The trail is not too long – expect to walk for around an hour – and although the first 100m or so are gentle (so, accessible to those in wheelchairs), the rest is often wet and have some fairly steep inclines and stairs. Accordingly, sturdy, non-slip shoes should be worn.

Once you have explored the forest, spend some time at the centre which sits atop the cliff, with thrilling views of the Motitsi waterfall. It boasts a spot for a light meal or glass of wine, a contemporary African art gallery and curio shop, and a really great community craft market. Nearby there is the Long Tom Toboggan – a 1.7km monorail toboggan ride that whizzes round the mountains at about 45km an hour, and the Skyway Trails which is an all zip-lining, rope swings and obstacle courses … great fun for an active family!

Less than four hours from Jo’burg and Pretoria, you will find the centre on the R533 on the Panorama Route. It is well positioned if you are on your way to the Kruger National Park and well worth the detour, or as a road trip to a rather special and spectacular area.

Details: There is a conservation fee of R20 (R10 for children four to 16, younger are free), and the daily multi-entry ticket is R175 for adults, R120 for pensioners and children four to 16. Open daily from 8.30am to 5pm. More info on 066-305-1573 or at graskopgorgeliftcompany.co.za.


Win an exciting family getaway worth more than R22 000 

Fancy winning an adventure weekend for a family of four? Just look what is up for grabs … Two nights’ accommodation with dinner and breakfast at Misty Mountain Lodge • Hot-air balloon rides (weather permitting) • Entry, lift tickets and lunch at the Graskop Gorge Lift Company • Rides on Skyway Aerial Trails … a 2.5-hour zip-line adventure as well as the Skyway Trails’ treetop challenge • Tickets to ride the Long Tom Toboggan • Burgers and beer tasting (soft drinks for under 18s) at Sabie Brewery, where you’ll meet the brewer, too • A R1 000 travel voucher for self-drive. All prizes for four people, all to be taken on the same weekend, all activities are self-drive and located within an hour of the Misty Mountain Lodge hotel. To win, visit our Facebook page (Get It Pretoria Magazine), like our page and the competition post, tag a friend and you could be on your way to Mpumalanga. Entries close 20 November.

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