By the time the second world war started, GRASKOP had a population of 700 people. The town hall had been built and there was a golf course as well as a horse racing track, both of which there is no trace today. The one thing that never changed was the constant stream of tourists who were entranced by the region. Although it was as rough as it could come on the gravel roads of 30 years ago, many people came and were overwhelmed by the splendour which abounded, despite the fact that the roads were virtually impassable in the rainy season and so dust filled during the dry winter months that one had to keep one's distance from the vehicle in front.
At that time the Bourkes Luck Portholes - already a prominent tourist attraction - was spanned by swing bridges and a trip to the Three Rondavels viewpoint was an overnight affair. Many residents of the region are the offspring of men who found that they could - or would - not exist outside the "encircling comfort of these hills". This "encircling comfort of the hills" attracts many hundreds of thousands of people to the Greater Escarpment Tourist region each year, and a large proportion of these persons are returnees.
Click on the activities:
Mac Mac Summit 4x4 Route
Panorama Adventure Routes
Blyderiver Canyon Nature Reserve
Situated along the Mpumalanga Drakensberg Escarpment, the reserve covers a area of 22 664 hectares extending from the Pinnacle and Gods Window in the south to beyond the mighty Marieps Kop in the north, where the Blyde River Canyon ends at Swadini. The reserve is administered by the Mpumalanga Parks board and is known primarily for the outstanding natural beauty of the canyon as well as the numerous endemic and endangered fauna and flora species present.
This attraction stretches from Graskop to just south of Hoedspruit, a town in the Northern Province - a distance of more than 80km
This 30m high quartzite "needle" rises dramatically out of the fern clad ravine, created by the Ngwaritsane River, over countless millennia. To the right, and below, the viewing plateau from which can be seen only the topmost of eight waterfalls which take the river down approximately 450m in a series of alternating falls and cascades.
This attraction is approximately 10km outside the town Graskop.
The Three Rondawels
Moving from south to north, the majesty of this second largest canyon in the world opens up for your delight. Firstly one becomes aware of the natural phenomenon which gives this viewpoint its name. But, long before written history the indigenous peoples had their own names for these features. The THREE RONDAWELS were known as 'The Chief and his three wives'. The flat-topped peak to the right is named MAPJANENG - the 'Chief' (named in honour of a Mapulana chief named Maripe Mashile who routed invading Swazis at a great battle whose name has lived on as 'Moholoholo' or in translation 'The very great one') whilst the three wives - in descending order from right to left - are named MASEROTO, MOGOLADIKWE, and MAGABOLLE. Behind them all towering in isolated and massive splendour is the 1944m high peak named MARIEPSKOP - also named after Maripe Mashile - which forms the southern portal of the canyon mouth. To the north of MAGABOLLE the magnificent, almost arrogant, jutting profile of the SWADINI BUTTRESS forms the northern portal of the canyon mouth whilst offering a superb example of the powerful effect of wind and water on raw rock interspersed with layers of shale. Pointing roughly north-easterly and virtually surrounded by the waters of the lake formed by the dam wall, is the mountain named THABANENG (the mountain with the shadow that moves) by the indigenous peoples and - surprise, surprise ! - THE SUNDIAL by the white peoples. Of interest is the fact that the viewpoints hover around 1380m whilst the level of the dam when full, is 665m.
This attraction is located approximately 30km north of Graskop
The Bourkes Luck Potholes
This natural feature marks the beginning of the Blyderiver Canyon. Through countless aeons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River falls into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. The informative Visitors Centre details some of the interesting natural and socio-historic features and is the starting point of the 700m walk to the potholes.
The Berlin Falls
This national monument is 45m high and came into being when, over many aeons, the softer rock was gradually worn away by the relentless flow of the river. These falls are located just north of Graskop.
The Lisbon Falls
At 92m the Lisbon Falls are the highest in the area. The river separates into three streams as it plunges into the pool below. These falls are located just north of Graskop.