If you’re a thrill-seeker or simply love skywalks, you’ll soon need to add another trip to your bucket list. This skywalk will be at “God’s Window” in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
Earlier this month, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency officially broke ground on what will be called God’s Window Skywalk in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The skywalk, projected to be finished in 2023, will offer visitors a 360-degree view while they are standing above a nearly 3,000-foot drop.
“Located at the zenith of Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route, God’s Window offers visitors a panoramic view of the Lowveld more than 900 meters down into a lush indigenous forest-clad ravine,” the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency explained. “On a clear day, you can see as far as the Indian Ocean and Maputo, Mozambique.”
An Iconic Vista
Mpumalanga, which means “Place where the sun rises” in the Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Zulu languages, is a province in eastern South Africa. Its bordering neighbors include Mozambique and Swaziland.
Part of Kruger National Park is within Mpumalanga, as is Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. Unlike those canyons, Blyde River Canyon is what’s known as a “green canyon” because it is filled with subtropical foliage.
Winding along the canyon, the Panorama Route is a scenic road that passes several towns, numerous waterfalls, and makes its way through a number of mountain passes. Along the way, there are many landmarks, including the God’s Window overlook.
An Engineering Feat
The God’s Window Skywalk will be a cantilevered glass walkway suspended off the edge of the cliff, much like the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The walkway, which will offer a 360-degree view, will extend 40 feet from the edge of the cliff and will be about 15 feet wide.
In addition to the skywalk itself, the attraction will also feature a sky bridge, a sky swing, a zero-gravity room, and a conference and meeting facility. The plan, the tourism agency explains, is for most of the activities to be run by local youths from the area.
To give a sense of perspective, the God’s Window Skywalk will extend out over a 3,000-foot drop. The Grand Canyon Skywalk only extends over an 800-foot drop.
An Economic Boost
The skywalk is expected to significantly boost Mpumalanga’s tourism industry. Additionally, while the construction phase of the project is expected to create more than 300 jobs, operating the skywalk should create another 100 jobs. The community will also gain a share of the revenue from concessions.
“The God’s Window Skywalk project is an extraordinary example of how our Province can utilize its resources such as its natural beauty, scenic landscapes, well-managed national parks, culture, the arts, and what is referred to as the “creative economy,” to create a better life for our people,” Premier Mtshweni-Tsipane said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Jerry Mabena, CEO of Motsamayi Tourism Group, said that as COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to rise in other countries, the group expects the numbers of both local and international visitors to steadily climb at South African tourism spots.
“Our desire is to see this beautiful project acting as an instrument to put the area back into its place as a world-class tourism destination,” Mabena said. “We believe this project will energize the area and create new jobs and support other attractions in the area.”
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