Kruger National Park canyon

Beautiful Panorama Route in South Africa

February 19, 2015

Are you planning a visit to the Kruger National Park? If so, take a day off from wildlife viewing and enjoy a superb scenic tour of the Lowveld, to reveal some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. While you are in the vicinity of the Kruger National Park, take the opportunity to visit the Panorama Route for some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country, encompassing mountains, waterfalls, extraordinary rock formations and beautiful canyon.

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Blyde River Canyon winds through the landscape for 25km, reaching around 750m deep in places.

The Panorama Route, which usually starts in the pleasant little Lowveld town of Graskop (meaning grassy hill), will thrill you with one stunning view after the next. From Graskop the route first takes you into the Blyde River Canyon Reserve, where you will make your way along the cliff tops, 800m above the Blyde River Canyon. The Canyon winds through the landscape for 25km, reaching around 750m deep in places and the 3rd largest canyon in the world.

Bourke Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Pothole, South Africa
Bourke’s Luck Potholes are deeply gouged circular rock pools, the result of centuries of swirling waters at the spot where the Blyde and Treur Rivers meet.

Along the route there are several points of interest including the amazing Bourke’s Luck Potholes, which are deeply gouged circular rock pools, the result of centuries of swirling waters at the spot where the Blyde and Treur Rivers meet. This phenomenon has been responsible for an incredible, other-worldly landscape of deep depressions and resistant outcrops of harder rock. The waters have revealed the multiple layers of coloured rock that make up the sandstone and the beautiful formations are coloured in amber, taupe, ochre and brown and will appear different according to the time of day, the light and the water levels at their feet.

You can view these amazing potholes from several vantage points and bridges, so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and your camera. The potholes are named after a prospector, Tom Bourke, who had hoped to find gold in the area, but had to be content with the magnificent landscape instead.

God’s Window

God's Window, South Africa
One of the best viewpoints along the Panorama Route is called God’s Window.

One of the best viewpoints along the Panorama Route is called God’s Window, which will give you an indication of the amazing view you can expect. You reach this viewpoint you walk a short distance through thick, indigenous forest, often shrouded in mist. From here you can see all the way across the low-lying landscape and the Kruger National Park to distant Mozambique. Although it is the visual impact of the landscape that will strike you first, there is also some brilliant flora and fauna to observe and you may catch a glimpse of Grey Rheduck, Oribi, Kudu, Bushbuck, Klipspringer, Monkeys and even the odd Black-backed Jackal. Bird watching is also particularly good around the Canyon area.

Many Waterfalls

Lisbon Falls in Mpumalanga
Several beautiful waterfalls to discover along the route, including the highest waterfalls of Mpumalanga, Lisbon Falls.

There are several beautiful waterfalls to discover along the route, including the Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls and the Mac Mac Falls, the latter being one of the most impressive, at 70m. Interestingly, these falls are named after the many Scottish prospectors who came to the area in the 1870’s, hoping to make their fortune. The whole area is great to hike and you can make your way 2km downstream to swim in the lovely Mac Mac Pools.

Pilgrim’s Rest Town

Pilgrim’s Rest Town, South Africa
This entire little town, Pilgrim’s Rest, is protected as a heritage site.

Most tours along the Panorama route will also include a visit to the gold-rush town of Pilgrim’s Rest. This entire little town is protected as a heritage site and is beautifully preserved to reflect its heyday in the 1870’s. You can even try your hand and panning for gold while you are there.

Enjoy scenic view of Panorama Route

Although you can drive yourself, it is a much better option to go on an organized tour so that you can leave the driving to someone else and concentrate on the incredible vistas unfolding around every bend in the road!

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