Travel & Outdoor
The Big Pour at Graskop Gorge
The big pour in mid-June was a concrete milestone reached by the developers of the Graskop Gorge glass elevator tourism centre.
Whoever came up with the name God’s Window knew a thing or two about beauty. So heavenly is the scenery in this of the Lowveld, that we’re always looking for innovative ways to share the magic.
The latest is the most ground-breaking yet. A 51-metre glass elevator is being constructed down the road from God’s Window. Situated one kilometre out of Graskop, at the Graskop Gorge, on the R533 towards Hazyview, the development will offer yet another amazing tourism experience on the Lowveld’s legendary Panaroma Route.
The glass elevator will be the main attraction at the Graskop Gorge adventure centre, which will cost in excess of R40 million to construct. It is also the first development of its kind in Africa.
Visitors will be transported to the bottom of the Graskop Gorge, into a pristine forest environment. As the glass cubicle descends down the cliff wall, the saying, ‘Life’s a journey, not a destination’ will be given new meaning. The glass elevator will offer 360 degree views of the gorge, waterfall, trees, birds and sky.
Domestic and international visitors, as well as Mpumalanga residents, can expect a memorable outing, with enough to keep all family members entertained for a good few hours. The centre will incorporate a restaurant, bar and shops at the top of the gorge, with a children’s play area and look-out points.
The site handover took place on March 29, 2017 and the ground was broken in April. The centre will open for business in the last quarter of this year.
Constructing the 51m viewing lift on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route is an engineering first for South Africa and work is progressing well. It is estimated that the tourism node will be open in time for the festive season.
Moving along nicely
On Saturday, June 17, the big pour – of some 60 cubic metres or 160 tons of concrete – saw work start on the first section of the lift base. The second section was completed a few days later.
“The concrete mixture had to be specifically formulated to maintain its consistency, and not separate during the 60m drop from the top of the cliff into the foundation,” says Campbell Scott, one of the developers.
Enza Construction designed a simple but effective pipe system that ran down the cliff and into which the concrete was poured.
“Nine cement trucks from the Lafarge South Africa lined up to offload one after the other. The whole process took several hours to complete and all in all, was a success,” says Scott.
Once completed, the lift will transport visitors to the bottom of the gorge and into a wonderland of unspoilt beauty, where elevated walkways and suspension bridges will allow visitors to explore the rivers and forest while learning more about their surroundings thanks to informative interpretation boards.
Situated one kilometre out of Graskop on the R533 towards Hazyview, the development will have a restaurant and bar with breath-taking views, a kiddies play area, shops and a specially-designed area for local craftspeople – a memorable, interactive experience and a must for tour groups.
For further information, contact James Sheard on 083 708 6106, Oupa Pilane on 082 371 8413, Campbell Scott on 082 330 9997 or join @GraskopGorgeLiftCompany on Facebook or visit the website at www.graskopgorgeliftcompany.co.za