The Three Rondavels
Did you know?
The Three Rondavels are at the beginning (or end) of the spectacular Blyde River Canyon drive.
Once known as the Three Sisters, the geological formations known today as The Three Rondavels, are one of the many natural highlights along Mpumalanga's Panorama Route.
South Africans know the rondavel as a traditional beehive-shaped hut built and used over centuries by indigenous people as their homes. If you've been or plan to go to the Kruger National Park, you'll know that some camp accommodation is in rondavels.
The Three Rondavels are spectacular peaks which look exactly like rondavels – round and fat, rising to a peaked top, but much, much higher than any traditional dwelling. In fact, when you stand on the viewpoint, 1 380m above sea level with the Blyde River Canyon below, you'll still be looking up at those 3 distinctive peaks which tower 700m above the surrounding countryside.
These 3 geological formations were also once known as 'The Chief and his 3 wives'. The flat-topped peak was named Mapjaneng after a legendary chief who defeated invading Swazis in a great battle. His 3 reputedly troublesome wives gave their names to the 3 pointed peaks – Magabolie, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.
How were these magnificent mountains formed? Apparently erosion wore away the soft underlying stone, leaving exposed slate and quartzite that shape these dramatic rock formations.
Be surefooted at the viewpoint, especially as there's no rail, and then just drink in the dramatic view with the canyon and the Blyde River dam way below you. Expect spectacular African sunsets if you're there as the sun goes down.
Don’t miss other natural wonders on the Panorama Route such as Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window, aptly named for its spectacular views.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mpumalanga Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0) 13 759 5300/01
Fax: +27 (0) 13 755 3928