Graskop - Mpumalanga - South Africa:

Like many towns in the area, Graskop originated as a gold mining camp in the 1880’s. Graskop (grassy hill) is on the edge of the Mpumalanga Drakensberg escarpment, with spectacular views of the lowveld and the Kruger National Park, almost 1000 metres below.

Graskop is a good place to take a break while you travel the panorama route, as there are several tempting bakeries and aromatic coffee shops where you can stop and have a bite eat. The gold mining days are long gone and Graskop now has a thriving timber industry. The plantations are some of the largest man made forests in the world and you cannot fail to notice endless rows of pine and eucalyptus trees as you cruise the hills and valleys of this beautiful area.

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A Graskop lodge
Graskop Lodge
Typical Graskop accommodation.
Bush Accommodation!

Graskop is centrally situated on the Mpumalanga Escarpment at the start of the Panorama Route. It's a perfect place to base yourself to explore the area. Graskop is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, streams, tree ferns and hiking trails. A short scenic drive takes you to Bourkes Luck Potholes and the Blyde River Canyon.

Just like other towns in Mpumalanga farming was the important occupation in Graskop as well. When gold mines were discovered in Pilgrims Rest, it became necessary for having an access through rail transport, Since Graskop was the nearest settlement available, a railway station was opened here in 1914 paving way for a blossoming growth era for Graskop.

The first modern records relating to the town of Graskop date back to 1843, with the arrival of the Voortrekkers in the area. They were searching for a route to the coast, to what is known today as Maputo in Mozambique. In the 1850s, the farm Graskop (so named because of the vast tracts of grassveld and absence of trees in the area) was owned by one Abel Erasmus, who leaves his name on a pass over the Escarpment

In 1910 the building of a railway spur from Nelspruit through the farm Sabie and onto the farm Graskop had begun. The line was completed in June 1914, and Graskop was declared a town later in that year. By 1918 the town would have a church, a store, and a primary school. Because of the high rainfall, vegetable and fruit farming were not viable in the area. The vegetation was also not well suited to cattle farming, and the town remained a railway town for some time.

It was only in the late 1920's, during the depression, that government of the time decided to plant trees in the area and Graskop developed into a timber town.

By 1945 the town had a population of approximately 650 people. A town hall had been built and both a golf course and horse racing track established.

Graskop has always attracted a constant flow of tourists. In the early days and despite the gravel roads, many of which became virtually impassable during the rainy season, the unspoilt splendour of the region has been a consistent drawcard. In the middle of the century, the Bourkes Luck Potholes - already a prominent attraction - was spanned by swing bridges; a trip to the Three Rondavels was an overnight affair.

Today Graskop has fifteen accommodation choices, ten restaurants and a huge variety of curios shops. Our selection of hotels is here. These combine with the centrality of the town in the region to make Graskop the "Gateway" to the Panorama Route.

Graskop Weather Forecast

The Pinnacle, God’s Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Berlin Falls and the three Rondawels view point are some great attractions close to Graskop. No wonder why it is the most attractive place for tourists in Mpumalanga.

 


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