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IIf you’re in the Blyde River Canyon area on the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga, then don’t miss the Berlin Falls. Shaped like a huge white candle, the falls flow through a natural sluice before cascading down into a deep pool. It’s a great place for a swim followed by a picnic.
When you think South Africa, you almost certainly think big game, Kruger National Park, Cape Town and the Winelands. But there’s a surprise in store for you if you are on the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga's Blyde River Canyon – the Berlin Falls.
The Berlin Falls are among a cluster of Sabie waterfalls comprising the Horseshoe, Lone Creek and Bridal Veil Falls, the Mac Mac Falls and Mpumalanga’s highest waterfall: the 90m Lisbon Falls.
Start your waterfall tour in Sabie and work your way round the other falls before you finally reach the Berlin Falls, not far from the spectacular viewpoints of God’s Window. The falls plunge into a deep dark green hole surrounded by rugged red cliffs, some 80m below the observation platform on which you’ll stand.
You’ll quickly see why the falls are likened to a candle. The water pours through a natural sluice in the rock, plunges straight down for a few meters (this is the candle wick), then widens into a broad torrent which falls in a straight line down to the pool (the candle itself).
Why the Berlin falls; it’s not an African name? The answer lies with the European miners who came to try their luck here in the heady days of the gold rush. They named the individual falls after towns and places in their home countries – hence the Lisbon Falls, named by the Portuguese miners, and the Berlin Falls nostalgically named by the German diggers.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Mpumalanga Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)13 759 5300/1
How to get here
The Berlin Falls are situated north of Graskop, which is on the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga.
Best time to visit
Mpumalanga experiences summer rain which could make viewing a bit difficult. Try aim for a clear day and head to the falls after any morning fog has cleared.
Things to do
Attractions on the Panorama Route include God's Window, the Blyde River Canyon and Bourke's Luck Potholes.
Self-drive is the best option. Then put on your walking shoes and follow some lovely forest trails.
What will it cost?
Access to the waterfall is free.
Length of stay
You'll only need a couple of hours for a visit to the Berlin Falls and that includes picnic time. If you plan to do walking trails then stay in the area longer.
Where to stay
Accommodation is available at the nearby towns of Graskop and Sabie. Or turn back the pages of history and stay in one of the historic establishments of Pilgrim's Rest.
What to pack
Hat, camera, binoculars, sunscreen and a picnic.
What to eat
This part of the world is famous for its pancakes. After your picnic try Harrie's Pancakes in Graskop.
Buy some local craft, including soap stone and malachite sculptures, and support the local craftsmen and women.