Mpumalanga; Panorama Route, Blyde River Canyon & Nothern Drakensberg :
The edge of the berg – no more hauntingly beautiful landscape exists in all Africa than the eastern escarpment of Mpumalanga, ‘the place of the rising sun’. Situated on the north-east border of South Africa, bounded by Swaziland and Mozambique, Mpumalanga is a land of contrasts. Highveld grasslands dominate the western border with Gauteng, moving eastwards through bushveld to the Greater Drakensberg.
Escarpment overlooking the lowveld and the Kruger National Park. The wildlife, birds and plant life are truly representative of Africa. The scenery is majestic and endless. Here you will find the true Africa where peace reigns in the stillness of an African sunset. At dark, you will thrill to the sounds of the wild. The people of Mpumalanga wait to welcome you with African warmth to their land.
The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in South Africa. It leads through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg. Here, in the north-eastern part of the Great Escarpment, the inland plateau declines abruptly and steeply and opens up fantastic views of the plains of the Lowveld a thousand metres below. This view is most reliable in the dry winter months. At other times the spectacle is often impaired, since the escarpment is a barrier for the clouds coming from the east, rising at this point and bringing a lot of rain.
The most spectacular stretch is the Blyde River Canyon, third largest Canyon in the world, which can be reached from Graskop via R532. Just a few kilometres north a small loop road leads to “God’s Window”, from where you will enjoy a wonderful view on the Lowveld. The Canyon starts at “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and ends at the “Three Rondavels”. From many well-positioned vantage points one has a view of the 33 km long gorge. The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. The bizarre swirl holes developed when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris
Bourkes’ Luck Potholes:This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. The Potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Burke, who staked a claim nearby. Although his claim did not produce a single ounce of gold, he correctly predicted that large gold deposits would be found in the area. The Potholes are located 35km north of Graskop town on the R532 road. The informative visitors centre details some of the interesting natural and socio-historic features and is the starting point of the 700m walk to the potholes.
In the area of the “Greater Panorama Route” between Lydenburg, Ohrigstad and Hazyview provide numerous scenic attractions and pretty historic towns like Pilgrim’s Rest and Sabie, which are well worth a visit.