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  • Thursday, 26 October 2017
  • Linda Chivell

The Graskop Gorge tourism node is underway and is set to be completed by December 2017. The project, which aims to bring in a 51m glass elevator that will transport people up and down the gorge, will also bring a much-needed ease of access to the gorge.

Graskop elevator 1

While the project that is worth in excess of R40 million is predominantly privately funded, the National Empowerment Fund has a stake in the project.

The project which began earlier this year will also bring a restaurant and bar that will have magnificent views for patrons, but also positive spin-offs for local businesses who will also benefit from the development of the elevator.

The development is being done by the Graskop Gorge Lift Company.

Situated one kilometre out of Graskop, at the Graskop Gorge, on the R533 towards Hazyview, the Panorama Route development is a first for Africa.

The team that has been tasked with bringing the development to life has reported however some challenges with the terrain they need to work on.

Earthbound Timber Designs has been charged with building the walkways and doing the decking both on the plateau where the retail offering and restaurant will be located, and at the bottom of the gorge, where environmental trails will encourage visitors to learn more about the escarpment’s afro-montane forest.

Although the central attraction will be a glass elevator that will transport people 51 metres up and down the gorge, it was essential that a staircase also be available as an alternative means of entering and exiting the gorge.

Earthbound Timber’s Vincent Cant says replacing the old staircase that had fallen into disrepair tested their ingenuity.

“It involved 125 linear metres and a drop of roughly 70 metres with an average of between 40 and 60 degrees,” he says. While the work was challenging, he adds that the weather was kind to them and the local workforce professional.

“We have worked on similar projects but not ones as intense as this,” says Vincent. 

Graskop elevator 2

By mid-July, the wooden walkway on the Northern side of the Gorge, where the Big Swing operates, had been completed and work on the staircase was finished. The stairway descends from the head of the gorge to the base of the waterfall.

“Work on the main, elevated broad-walk at the bottom of the gorge has subsequently commenced. This will be 500m long and will include two suspension bridge crossings,” says developer Campbell Scott.

“The walkways will allow visitors to explore the unique forest environment, waterfall and stream and will be enhanced by a number of interpretation displays which will give context to this unique ecosystem.”

Lift installers move mountains!

Work is also underway on the lift shaft. A specialised mobile crane is being used by Quality Steel for the shaft assembly, which should be completed in mid-August. Thereafter, Otis Elevator Company will begin the lift installation.

In June, the lift base was constructed. This involved around 160 tons of concrete being poured down a specially-created pipe system that ran down the cliff face.

The lift shaft weighs 88 tons and is 60m in length, with a total travel distance of 51m, which is around 16 storeys. It is being assembled in 2.5m sections, which are bolted one on top of the other.

The glass elevator will offer a 360-degree view of the gorge, waterfall, trees, birds and sky. The centre will incorporate a restaurant, bar and shops at the top of the gorge, a children’s play area and lookout points.

A much-needed tourism boost for the Kruger Lowveld.

Source: IOL Travel


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**COMPETITION TIME** We are very excited to announce that we are giving away a stay for two at our guesthouse in the heart of Panorama What you need to do: 1. LIKE our page 2. TAG the person you would take with you on your 1-night stay at Ramasibi Guest Services 3. SHARE this post on your own timeline 4. Comment on this post "DONE" Winner announced on Friday, the 26th of January 2018. What you’re in for: We want to make your one night’s stay at Ramasibi a special one. On arrival, you will be met with a bottle of wine as well as a cheese platter. Competition Details: The competition will run until the 26th of January 2018 and the winners will be notified via Facebook. The prize is valid until 26th of January 2019, is subject to availability and for 1- night stay on a weekend – Friday or Saturday. Terms and conditions apply
22 Jan 2018 - 14:10
Laura Koschade Hello travelers! I would love to visit SA and explore as much as I can, but I don't yet know the best way to get around. Do people usually rent a car if they're staying for a while and want to explore a wide area? And is that safe for a solo traveler? It seems like that option would be pretty pricey, and I've heard that the area can be dangerous. I would love some feedback! 😊 Thank you and have a fabulous day! 🐘
22 Jan 2018 - 12:19
Gaby Pijpers I always travel alone in SA and the bus is the cheapest way, i can recommend intercape bus and city to city but please avoid johannesburg busstation! You also have the bazbus but that one is very expensive. 22 Jan 2018 - 13:30
Linda Chivell Renaissance garbage men!
Renaissance garbage men!
22 Jan 2018 - 11:16
Linda Chivell Consider making your overnight stay part of an unique breakaway adventure! Visit Paardeplaats Nature Retreat where the hosts are part of the experience! #hiking #birding #glasselevator #adventure
Kickstart your 2018 SABucket list at Paardeplaats Nature Retreat. Situated at the foot of the LongTomPass on the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga Province, only 3 hours from O R Tambo airport and 90 minutes from #KrugerNationalPark, we offer a convenient getaway for both the spontaneous city dweller and larger groups looking for a unique nature experience . Visit our website for more details:
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