A view from God’s Win­dow

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

Faint-hearted tourists will just stay away. The ad­ven­tur­ous ones, how­ever, will be en­thralled by the adren­a­line-pump­ing stroll over a planned glass sky­walk hang­ing from a cliff to get the per­fect view of God’s Win­dow in Mpumalanga. The cur­rent view­points at the pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion are al­ready dizzy­ing to those who fear heights, and this sky­walk, on which they will see 700m be­low their feet, will prob­a­bly not be the best place for them.

God’s Win­dow is deemed one of the most scenic points in Blyde River Canyon Na­ture Re­serve, where plung­ing cliffs make for sev­eral spec­tac­u­lar spots. On a clear day one can see across the Kruger Na­tional Park to as far as the Le­bombo Moun­tains on the bor­der be­tween South Africa and Mozam­bique.

This is where the Mpumalanga govern­ment plans to build an R84 mil­lion can­tilevered glass walk­way. Ex­pected to be 5m wide, the walk­way will pro­trude 12m from a cliff and hang in the air, pro­vid­ing dare­devil tourists with the ideal place in the prov­ince to get their kicks.

How­ever, it may not ri­val the horse­shoe-shaped glass floor walk­way in Chongqing, southwest China, which ex­tends 26.67m from the edge of a cliff. Yuan­d­uan, which means “at the end of the clouds”, is con­sid­ered the long­est can­tilever bridge in the world, beat­ing Ari­zona’s Grand Canyon Sky­walk in the US by 5m.

The Mpumalanga sky­walk will have a 700m drop, which is higher than the Grand Canyon Sky­walk, which stands at be­tween 150m and 280m, and the Zhangji­a­jie Glass Bridge, also in China, which is 260m at its high­est point.

Tourists who dare to saunter across the planned sky­walk will be re­warded with a 360° view of breath­tak­ing scenery at the world’s third-big­gest river canyon.

Xolani Mthethwa, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency head of tourism, said the paras­tatal had ap­pointed a trans­ac­tion ad­viser to kick-start the project and it had been reg­is­tered with the trea­sury de­part­ment.

“A com­pre­hen­sive fea­si­bil­ity study which will in­clude up­dated fig­ures per­tain­ing to fi­nan­cial model, fu­ture rev­enue, spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the project de­sign and fore­cast of vis­i­tor num­bers will soon be com­pleted and will be sub­mit­ted to Trea­sury by end of June 2017,” Mthethwa ex­plained.

There­after, the process to ap­point a com­pany to build this tourism fa­cil­ity will be­gin. The project is ex­pected to cre­ate 114 di­rect jobs and 77 in­di­rect ones. Plans in­clude a restau­rant and a cu­rio shop to be built on site.

Mthethwa said the ap­pointed com­pany would also be tasked

Will you be mak­ing a trip to Mpumalanga to try out the sky­walk once it opens to the pub­lic?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word SKY­WALK. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50 with en­sur­ing a safe de­sign.

The de­part­ment be­lieves that the sky­walk will be an exciting ad­di­tion to the many tourists at­trac­tions on of­fer in Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route, in­clud­ing the prov­ince’s cas­cad­ing wa­ter­falls and moun­tain gorges. Tourists of­ten visit the his­toric gold min­ing town of Pil­grim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Pot­holes, the Three Ron­dav­els and Mac Mac Falls.

The Grand Canyon Sky­walk is a U-shaped can­tilever bridge with an el­e­va­tion, and was opened to the pub­lic on March 28 2007.

The Zhangji­a­jie Glass Bridge is con­sid­ered the most ter­ri­fy­ing, long­est and tallest glass-bot­tomed bridge in the world. It mea­sures 530m in length and 6m in breadth. It was opened to the pub­lic on Au­gust 20 2016.

The bridge spans the canyon be­tween two moun­tain cliffs in Zhangji­a­jie Na­tional For­est Park in China’s cen­tral Hu­nan prov­ince. It was de­signed to carry up to 8 000 vis­i­tors at a time.

IN THE AIR The God’s Win­dow Sky­walk will be an exciting ad­di­tion to Mpumalanga tourism

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.