An exciting new development at Graskop Gorge Lift Co has brought a new element of fun to this iconic Mpumalanga tourism destination.
The Swing Café provides a laid-back chill zone that invites guests to kick-back and relax. Situated alongside the main building, it offers that South African staple – grilled chicken in peri-peri, barbeque or lemon and herb, which is served with a choice of simple yet delicious sides, including pap and sauce, spicy rice, chips, salads and fresh bread. Craft beer, margarita and strawberry daiquiri on tap and alcopops are available, as well as milkshakes, soft drinks, soft serves and hot drinks, including expertly brewed local coffee.
“The idea is quick food and hassle-free beverages, served in an informal social setting,” says manager Yvonne Oliver.
There’s a variety of outdoor seating options, some undercover, including comfy lounge corners and a granite bar perched on the edge of the deck that gives diners an unforgettable view of the Motitsi waterfall and escarpment.
“The Swing Café complements the more traditional Lift Café, which offers a full menu of food made to order and an extensive drinks list. Excitingly, the Swing Café has longer operating hours to enable visitors to enjoy a sundowner, with last orders at around 6pm. Both have stunning views, though,” says Oupa Pilane, one of the three directors and founders of the development.
“It is our intention to provide a memorable experience for our visitors and to prove to the world that the Panorama Route is not merely a pretty drive on the way to the Kruger National Park but instead a destination in its own right,” says director James Sheard.
The Adventure Hub is the latest in a number of projects undertaken over the past few months to provide an even better experience for visitors. At the beginning of December, a new double zipline course was opened. The course starts from the top of a 5m tower, with 360° views. Participants ride a 120m-long zipline to the northern side of the gorge before walking a short distance along a scenic platform and zipping back along a second zipline of equal length.
In addition, new walkways and decks have been created, particularly around the Big Swing, which now boasts a new launch platform from which thrill-seeking jumpers plummet 70m down into the gorge.
The Big Swing, one of the world’s highest cable gorge swings, was acquired by the Graskop Gorge Lift Co in 2019. “We have now completely overhauled the Big Swing, modernising the systems and aesthetically aligned it with the newer buildings on the southern side of the Gorge,” says director Campbell Scott.
Additional interpretation boards with wonderful information and images about the environment and its inhabitants have been designed and erected, including one at the start of the Fairyland hiking trail. It explains the value of the high-altitude montane grasslands.
The viewing lift remains the primary attraction at Graskop Gorge Lift Co, which opened in December 2017 and has done much to revitalise tourism in the area. The lift travels 51m down into a valuable Afromontane forest, where a 600m circular trail enables visitors to explore the diverse habitat.
Another firm favourite is the 52m-long suspension bridge that links the northern and southern sides of the gorge and which was opened in August 2019.
The facility has a large curio trading market and indoor craft and curio shop.