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GRASKOP CULTURAL HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The presence of prehistoric man is confirmed by discoveries of stone implements from the Middle Stone Age, 50 to 100 thousand years ago.

Remains of stonewalls belonging to an extensive settlement in the Kadishi Valley probably date back to the Iron Age between the 7th and 19th centuries.

Monochromatic rock paintings indicate that the earliest Bushmen also lived in the Canyon. A number of battles between local Mapulana and invading Swazi Impi’s form part of the early history of the area. The final battle took place around Mariepskop, named after the Chief who led the Mapulana’s to victory around the mountain.

Commandant AH Potgieter led a reconnaissance expedition from Potchefstroom in 1840 to investigate the possibility of a trade route to Delagoa Bay. This party renamed the Treur and Blyde rivers. The discovery of God at Pilgrims Rest in the 1870’s caused an influx of diggers to populate the nearby mountains and valleys. Bourke’s Luck was named after Tom Bourke who recognized the god potential of the area. He became involved in the mining enterprise, which owned the property, but never found a personal fortune.

The Belvedere hydroelectric power station situated at the confluence of the Belvedere stream and the Blyde River, was the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere at the time of its installation in 1910. It operated until 1972.

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