The next part of our journey started with a drive to our new accommodation in Graskop. We actually missed the turning the first time around (thinking my gps was talking rubbish), then decided to drive into the town and have a look before we went back and settled in- we were earlier than expected-.
It was a quaint bed sit with an en-suite bathroom which had a tub.It was quite small, but at the same time it was cozy and it did have a heater. http://www.wildforestinn.com/ The landlady, Jackie- I think it was, was sweet and welcoming; she had even made us scones (though because of the mix of Jam and cheese Martin was not impressed).
In comparison to where we had just stayed it was a bit of a let down- for the both of us I think it came down to the bedding. It was old, worn sheets and the lack of an actual duvet etc. However, it was clean, we were warm enough and we were out most of the time anyway, that it really didn’t matter so much.
After checking in, we headed back into Graskop and then out again (just) to get to God’s Window. God’s Window is one the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve’s most spectacular viewpoints, with breathtaking views. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the top (up some stairs, along a wooden bridge, over some tree trunks), but once you get to the top, its all worth it. There were a lot of people walking up on the day we went unfortunately, and a lot of Dutch people, but we still got our view, albeit momentarily until the next swarm came in. This is definitely a must to go and visit.
We headed back into town for some lunch- savory pancakes: biltong, cheese and avocado for me, chicken livers (gross!) for Martin; then found a Portuguese spot where we would go for dinner a little later. Then back to the cottage for some wine, snuggles and a movie.
Borke’s Luck Potholes
I think is one of my favourite site seeing bits of the trip (the moving bridge I could have done without, however). Borke’s Luck Potholes is a natural water feature at the start of Blyde River Canyon. With centuries of river activity, whirlpools and particles of sank and rock eroding the sandstone bedrock, these amazing cylindrical ‘potholes’ have formed. They are spectacular. 100% you must visit them. The site is located about 35 kms from Graskop and the Canyon itself runs for a stretch of about 33km’s. The site is named after Tom Bourke, who had hoped to find gold there….He didn’t…
On our way back to Johannesburg, our last major stop was Pilgrim’s rest- the most historical town in the area. The whole town was been declared as a National Monument back in 1986. It’s located on the panorama route in Mpumalanga province; and sadly it’s apparently a lot more run down than it used to be. The town attracts a lot of visitors due to his history of the gold rush days; in 1873 it was the second of the gold fields and brought a rush of people in. It was Alex Patterson, however who named it ‘Pilgrims Rest’ after he discovered alluvial gold on the farm named Ponieskrantz.
Interesting fact: At the graveyard at Pilgrim’s Rest, all bodies are laid facing the same direction, apart from one. Robber’s Grave. It is laid perpendicular to the rest, not facing the rising sun, and has a simple cross and the words of “Robbers Grave”. The point of this I suppose was to keep disrespecting him after death.