The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Graskop


One of the streets in Graskop with many tourist facilities

Photo © Johan van Zyl


Established during the Gold Rush of the 19th century, Graskop has now become one of South Africa’s popular tourist hubs. Settled amongst Mpumalanga’s timber plantations, the small town of Graskop is home to 4 000 people and boasts numerous curio shops, eateries, pubs coffee shops and eateries which brings this small town to life.

Although Graskop is a very popular stop for travellers heading to the Kruger National Park or travelling along the Panorama Route, this town was put on the map for very a different reason. Graskop is known for its pancakes. No one really knows what makes their pancakes taste so good and it is unlikely that the local residents will give up their secrets any time soon.

If you are looking for something to do to get your blood pumping, then believe it or not Graskop is the place to go. The Big Swing, as you can imagine, is pretty intimidating. You can either choose to zip line across the Graskop Gorge or the swing across it. If you are thinking of doing the swing, just keep in mind that involves a 68m freefall before you actually start swinging.

If you prefer to spending some time indoors and emerging yourself into the arts then a trip to the Graskop Art Company must be on the top of your to-do list. This shop and studio specializes in all things ceramics from miniature models to all kinds of pottery. Not only can you admire these works of art, but you can also try your hand at it and learn some tips from the artists who created them. Grant Bosman and Vincent Khosa who create all these wonderful finds offer lessons to locals and visitors alike, allowing everyone to engage their creative side.

Graskop and its surrounding areas are known for their spectacular views so it would be a lost opportunity to not take the time to see all that this magnificent landscape has to offer. The Panorama Route takes you through the rolling hills, vast canyons and tumbling waterfalls. Some of the places all travellers need to take the time to visit is Wonder View, God’s Window and The Pinnacle which can be found on the R534 loop while Lisbon Falls and Berlin Falls can be found off the main Graskop R534 road. You are able to gaze upon the view from a special observation deck or if you are feeling more adventurous, there is a path that descends alongside the 90m high Lisbon Falls which leads you to the splash pool below where you are able to take a dip. The 70km Panorama Route makes the perfect road trip and visitors are encouraged to make a day of it and to try and see as many places, if not all, as they can.

The Fanie Botha Hiking Trail stretches over 50km from its starting point in Graskop to Sabie. The hike lasts between 2 to 5 nights depending on how far you are able to walk. This ambitious hike is doable and a truly extraordinary way to experience Graskop’s natural beauty. There is also the Kruger’s Gold Hike, which takes you down into the Graskop Gorge and up the other side. This one is only lasts between 1 to 2 hours.

Castle Bed and Breakfast

Above - The much spoken of Castle Bed and Breakfast establishment in Graskop

Photo © Johan van Zyl

The Big Swing

Above - The Big Swing on the edge of town

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Pub on the outskirts of Graskop

Above - The pub on the opposite side of the kloof from where you can watch when people do the big jump for the swing

Photo © Johan van Zyl

References and further reading

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Published: 1987 - Page: 126

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 60

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 1995 - Page: 185

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 252

go! - Issue 141 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 22

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 136

Mooiloop! The Book - Author: SABC 2 - Published: 2016 - Page: 146

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 315

Country Life - Issue 218 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 30

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Published: 2014 - Page: 149

Book of the Road - 4th edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2019 - Page: 120


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