The Panorama Route in SA’s Mpumalanga region will soon have a new Adventure Hub, as part of the second phase of development of the Graskop Gorge Lift Co.
The area is renowned for its major tourist attractions such as God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondawels, and the Graskop Gorge viewing lift.
Oupa Pilane, one of the directors of the Graskop Gorge Lift Co., says: “While it is an established tourist destination for domestic and international tourists, few new tourist developments in recent years meant that the area developed a bit of a been-there, seen-that reputation. Compounding the matter was the scant attention paid to the maintenance of the many existing natural attractions by the local authorities.”
This has led to the initiation of the second phase of the development of the area, which will see it transform into an Adventure Hub, and include a number of activities such as the 70-m freefall Big Swing, the 130m zipline, guided electric bike trails through the scenery on the northern side, walking trails and mountain bike trails.
A suspension bridge will be built, linking the southern side of the gorge, where the lift is situated, with the northern side, which houses the Big Swing. A walkway will be built around the edge of the gorge as an alternative means of access to either side.
The swing centre will receive an overhaul, with additional interpretation boards and seating areas being created to expand the existing 600m forest trail at the bottom of the gorge.
In addition to this, mountain bike trail experts and a resident-driven conservation group will help rehabilitate and create new trails along the part of the Jock of the Bushveld hiking trail known as Fairyland, because of its scenery and several sandstone formations eroded into fanciful shapes. Fairyland comprises open grassland and a small indigenous forest.
Additional upgrades will see the viewing lift fitted with an air-conditioner and glass doors; while the road leading to the Graskop Gorge Lift Co. entrance will be reworked to allow for increased traffic. New perimeter fencing will also be installed.
Inside the property, a casual outdoor food area will be created to complement the Life Café, which serves sit-down meals.
“We are working hard to uplift the Panorama Route’s tourism experience and will continue to work with various stakeholders to increase the region’s visitor numbers. We trust that by creating an adventure hub that entices people to spend more time in the area, we will indirectly benefit the nearby tourist towns,” says James Sheard, another director, and owner of nearby Misty Mountain and the Long Tom Toboggan.
The Panorama Route is great as a stopover to the Kruger Park but with its magnificence and many world-famous attractions, it should be a destination in its own right, concludes Sheard.