Reaching the window to paradise on horseback


Silence engulfs the hills. It’s broken only by the patter of horses moving through the rocky plains. High above cliffs and ravines, God’s Window is known for its panoramic views of Mpumalanga. But to be below in the valley is an entirely different experience. Grant Lawson has led trails on horseback through the secluded landscape for years. Away from crowds of tourists above, there are no cars or roads in sight. “This place can be likened to paradise itself,” Lawson says.

A renowned attraction of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, God’s Window is arguably better experienced on the ground than from above. Coming here on horseback, Lawson connects with nature on a deeper level. “The peacefulness is overwhelming,” he says. “Sometimes it can be so silent when I’m out there on a horse, it’s deafening.” Nearly 900 metres below the peaks, cantering between primal rocks and past flowing streams, Lawson is tethered to the surrounding beauty. On his daily rides, he moves through the landscape without a trace. “We don’t frighten other animals, we don’t cause soil erosion,” he says.

Just over an hour outside of Nelspruit, these unblemished paths along the northern Drakensberg escarpment show that while we can admire nature from afar, it’s more fulfilling to be a part of it. Lawson understands this perfectly. “It has everything to offer,” he says. “It brings a lot of peace and calm to my soul.” The view from above is spectacular, but down below is where the magic begins.