Hiking the Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga
Did you know?
Blyde River Canyon is where the super-continent Gondwanaland broke apart 200-million years ago.
The Blyde River is a major waterway running through Mpumalanga. Largely responsible for creating the many fascinating geological rock formations in the area, it's also the predominant feature of the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world and the only green canyon on earth.
The area is a popular hiking destination not only because of its breathtaking scenic beauty, but also because of the wealth of biodiversity it supports.
Surrounding the canyon is the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, home to more than 1 000 floral species, including some found nowhere else on Earth. One of the last remaining true afro-montane forests in South Africa, it also boasts prolific birdlife and forest fauna.
It's against this backdrop that the Blyde River Canyon trail is set. Totalling 60km, the hike is a five-day trail, but can be split into shorter excursions, from one to three days, or even a half-day, to cater for all ages and fitness levels.
The trail takes in the canyon itself, the Blyde River and the wetlands surrounding the Blyde Dam, and numerous waterfalls, lookout points and bridges. These hikes are particularly good for bird watchers, although there are spots along the trail offering abseiling and rock climbing for the more adventurous hiker.
The Blyde River is a popular white water rafting site and there are numerous operators providing day and overnight rafting expeditions. Rapids range from Grade One level, ideal for youngsters and beginners, to raging Grade Four rapids that will see even the pros breaking out in a sweat.
There are several other beautiful hikes and walks in the area, especially around the towns of Graskop and Sabie. Make sure you also take time out to see the amazing geological features known as Bourke's Luck Potholes and the spectacular God's Window.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mpumalanga Tourism Information
Tel: +27 (0) 13 759 5300/1