The day after it opened, friends invited me to join them in going down the new Graskop Gorge Lift and what was on offer turned out to be far more than I had expected. This is truly a world-class attraction, giving visitors easy access to part of our natural resources which they would otherwise not experience.
I arrived to find an extensive, well laid-out parking area where I was quickly directed to an empty space although it was nearly full on the day. You enter an airy and spacious building with a large restaurant and interesting shops and exhibits. There is a viewing platform around the part of the building facing the gorge and the first thing that caught my attention was screams from those on the deck – only to discover that the people were watching a Big Swing jumper and screaming along with them.
When it came to going down in the lift, which is one of only two in the world, there were no queues at either the ticket desk or to enter the lift. The 51m ride down into the gorge can best be described as smooth and is probably faster than it feels – because it is over before you can fully take in the spectacular view of the gorge and the waterfall. However, once you reach the bottom the real treat awaits as you walk along a 600m walkway, including steps and suspension bridges. The riverine wonderland has been excellently preserved while being interspersed with sculptures which fit charmingly into the surrounds. There are strategically placed information boards with interesting facts about the nature around you – about birds, trees, butterflies and even the feared bees and spiders. After I had said goodbye to my friends, I wanted to go down again, as the ticket allows you to ride up and down as many times as you like on the day. Unfortunately, after getting caught up in a conversation, my time had run out.
What crossed my mind was that this novel attraction will enable many visitors, with either time constraints or physical limitations, to experience the beauty of the face and the floor of the gorge. It is truly an adventurous experience, which even older folk like me can enjoy.