Graskop, Mpumalanga, South Africa
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Graskop is situated below the Berg Mountain. Graskop is a superb place to base to stay if you wish to explore the surrounding countryside, which has some fantastic natural scenery and attractions. Graskop is a place of great history, dating back to 1873, when Trichardt passed through with the great trek in search of better lands in the North. In 1843 Andries Potgieter attempted to locate a more southerly course from Pretoria to Lourenco Marques - now known as Mozambique , but the one that his party took turned out to be almost impassable.
The trek stopped at the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment from which there was no possible way down. A search group were sent to find a route, and as a result discovered an animal track which allowed access to the Lowveld. The search group who found the new route were delayed on the way back to the main party, and the original group left the where had been waiting. When the search group caught up with the main group on the banks of another river, they named this new river the Blyde River meaning "river of joy"
Sir Percy Fitzpatrick spent some time in the area during the latter part of the 19th century, and makes reference to the area in his famous book "Jock of the Bushveld". "Paradise Camp" and "Baboons and Tigers" contain these references. Similar to other Mpumalanga towns; farming was the main economy in Graskop. When gold was discovered in Pilgrims Rest , Graskop became an essential access town because of its railway line passing through the area. Since Graskop was the nearest settlement to the line, a railway station was opened in 1914, opening up Graskop as a area with huge potential. By 1918 the town had a church, a shop, and a school. Because of the high precipitation, vegetable and fruit farming were not viable in the area. The vegetation was also not well suited to cattle farming, because of this the town remained a railway town up until the 1920's, when the government decided to plant trees in the surrounding area, thus Graskop developed into a timber centre.