Part I of this post can be found here.
This was meant to be a relaxed holiday so we were in no hurry to wake up early. There was no rush to cover ALL the sights mentioned on the things-to-see list either. We just wanted to drive along the scenic route and see a few of the main attractions. So after a long and restful night, we finally headed out at 10am and drove towards what is known as God’s Window. God’s Window is actually a vantage point that offers some amazing views of the lowveld, the Blyde River Canyon and some sheer cliffs. Its a bit of a climb to the highest viewing point but there are several look-out points enroute as well. There is also a small rain forest just before the top and is well worth a visit. The road that goes towards God’s Window is actually a scenic loop, with several viewing areas clearly marked off the road. Each point provides views of the Canyon from different angles.
The other end of the loop leads back to Graskop and since we had had a very light breakfast, we stopped over at Abe’ at the Glasshouse – one of the three places that was pet friendly. The owner was a very chatty and chirpy old man who also doubled up as the waiter. The place advertised its food as home cooked and that’s exactly what it was. Simple, delectable South Africa meals. After the previous days fiasco, no wonder this place is rated number one!
Next on the list was Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Located at the confluence of two rivers, Treur (river of sorrow) and Blyde (river of joy), Bourke’s Luck Potholes is an amazing geological phenomena. As a result of the swirling whirlpools that occur at the confluence, sand and rocks carried by the rivers have eroded the river’s bedrock, creating large cylindrical potholes! The very size and beauty of this natural wonder left us speechless. Interestingly, these potholes are named after an unsuccessful gold prospector who was one of the firsts to realise the gold potential of this area. He never did strike gold but his legacy lives on.
Since this was the only place Mia was not allowed in, we had to keep her in the car and take turns to walk down to the potholes. Having spent a good two hours here, we hurriedly made our way to the Three Rondavels, which means ’round hut like dwellings’ in South Africa. These are actually three mountain peaks which are round and flat! Its a nice place to sit and soak in the surrounding natural beauty.
It was almost sunset when we left the Three Rondavels and headed back. We had decided to eat out and so after briefly resting at the lodge and unsuccessfully trying to call a few pubs/restaurants, we drove into Graskop, to try our luck. The main street was almost empty at 7pm, with only a few diners at Abe’s while the rest of the cafes were closed. Desirous of trying a new place, we carried on, off the main street towards the quieter side, hoping to find a restaurant. And surprisingly we did! God’s Window Restaurant seemed open for business and were happy to let us sit outside. It was going to be a little chilly but never mind – anything for the dog! Nothing spectacular in terms of food, but at least there was food!
A little cold, but satiated, we drove back to spend our last night at the lovely chalet. Next morning, prior to leaving for Joburg, we had a little adventure outing planned. Everyone – minus Mia and me – were going to go quad biking to the Lisbon falls! The owner of the Lodge also runs an adventure sports company, offering various other activities as well.
While the rest of the gang went quad biking, Mia and I had an adventure of our own. There were several hiking trails around the lodge, and we just followed one that led to a small stream. But before we could reach the stream, Mia heard the quad bikes, (which were also taking the same trail), and bounded off towards them, with me hot on her heels. After a manic few minutes of running and scrambling on the gravel road, I finally managed to get hold of her. By that time, all the others had also stopped their bikes and were waiting for me to catch up. Mia was duely reprimanded and leashed and we headed off back, leaving the rest to carry on. This time, we made it to the stream and Mia was ecstatic. She had recently discovered her love for water! I let her have her fun as I knew she would soon be stuck in the car for at least five hours.
But before we headed back to Joburg, there was one last place that we absolutely had to stop at – Harrie’s Pancakes. Graskop is dotted with pancake places, making it kinda like a pancake haven and Harrie’s was supposed to be the best. So it wouldn’t be right to leave without trying a few! Having tried both savoury and sweet ones, we were finally ready to end our holiday, but not without a tinge of sadness.