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BBlyde River Canyon nature reserve in Mpumalanga, South Africa, forms part of the Greater Drakensberg escarpment and features on the scenic Panorama Route.
Incorporating the third largest canyon in the world and impressive lush scenery, Blyde River Canyon Reserve offers visitors a breathtaking experience. This Nature Reserve is near the world-famous Kruger National Park and covers 29 000 hectares, stretching from the misty highlands down to the hotter and drier Lowveld at the Blyde Dam.
TThe 29 000 hectare Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is carved out of nearly 2.5km of red sandstone and is one of South Africa's most remarkable geological features. Also known as the Motlatse Canyon, it is the third largest canyon on Earth and is situated below the confluence of the Blyde (“joy”) and Treur (“sorrow”) rivers.
This Mpumalanga nature reserve stretches for 60km, from just north of the little town of Graskop up to the Abel Erasmus Pass. It is what outstanding road trips are made of, and offers stunning views of the escarpment from legendary viewpoints such as God's Window, where, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Kruger National Park and Mozambique.
OOther natural attractions include Bourke's Luck Potholes, where water erosion over millennia has carved cylindrical sculptures from the canyon's red and yellow rocks, which are interspersed with rock pools; the Three Rondavels, or Three Sisters, which are three massive spirals of dolomite that rise from the far wall of the canyon; and a single quartzite column, aptly named the Pinnacle that rises from the wooded canyon, offering more spectacular vistas. These unique geological features are all easily accessible on tarred roads from the picturesque Graskop village.
Accommodation is ample and includes private lodges and guesthouses. The activities are endless and great for the whole family—hiking, horseback riding, white-water rafting, kloofing, hot air ballooning, fly-fishing, biking, tours and boat trips on the Blyde Dam—you’ll find it all here.
You'll find more than 1000 species of flora in the reserve, including several species of endangered cycads, and in spring, carpets of wildflowers. Try to visit at least one of the several beautiful waterfalls nearby. Bird and animal life are abundant. Spot Verreaux's eagle, the rare bald ibis, which nests on the cliff ledges, and all five species of South African primates including vervet and samango monkeys, chacma baboons and both species of bushbaby. Plan your trip to this magnificent part of South Africa today!