Just like those who live in towns at the seaside seldom visit the beach, people all over are less inclined to visit the tourist attractions which are right on their doorstep. Intra-provincial travel is allowed which provides residents in the Lowveld with the ideal opportunity to explore the scenic Panorama Route. At the same time, you can support those whose livelihoods depend on tourism, the one sector which is still heavily affected by the COVID-19 regulations.
The economies of Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest, in particular, are almost completely dependent on tourism. A large number of people in these towns, whether they run formal businesses or are crafters and informal traders, still have no or very minimal income. For many of them, even now, it isn’t viable to open as there are so few visitors.
However, in Graskop, there are enough open restaurants for you to enjoy a meal while on your day trip and there are some open shops where you can browse for unique handmade products. While in the area you can view natural attractions such as Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window and the magnificent waterfalls.
You can also experience the thrill of the Graskop Gorge Lift and the Big Swing, or walk the Jock Trail for which maps are available at the information centre.
Pilgrim’s Rest is opening for visitors over weekends. This includes the museums where entry is currently free. You can visit the village museums and take a tour of the open-air diggings museum and Alanglade House. You have a selection of three restaurants where you can wash down your meal with non-alcoholic beer or wine. Other shops are opening gradually and you can already buy homemade preserves at one of them and have photos taken dressed up in vintage clothing at another. The scenic golf course is open seven days a week for play.
A plus of visiting during this time is that everything is very safe. The air is fresh, there are no crowds, and businesses take care that all the required hygiene protocols are in place. So get in your car on a Saturday or Sunday, enjoy a scenic drive, and discover the attractions on your doorstep.
Caption: The nursery at Alanglade House Museum