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SSouth Africa’s Panorama Route has long been described as one of the most scenic self-drive routes in the world due to its stunning waterfalls, mountains and peaks. The route incorporates a few of South Africa’s iconic natural sites and is centered around the Blyde River Canyon, the word’s third largest canyon. Located in the north east province of Mpumalanga, the Panorama Route can be completed in a day and is the perfect pre- or post-safari meander.
The towns of Graskop, Hazyview, Sabie and White River is ideally where you would base yourself and start and end your day of exploration. These towns are dotted with characterful B&Bs and guesthouses.
Let’s have a look at a few of the highlights and landmarks of the route:
TThe Blyde River Canyon is the highlight of the Panorama Route. The canyon is 26kms long and is situated between the Drakensberg Mountain and Blyde River and can be admired from various viewpoints along the route.
GGod’s Window is the ultimate viewpoint of the Panorama Route and the name signifies the beautiful views you experience from the escarpment over the lowveld and across the Blyde River Canyon. The best views of the beautiful valleys, waterfalls and green foliage create the most picturesque moments on a clear day and are situated a short hike from the entrance point. On very clear days, you might even be able to see as far as Mozambique!
TThis area of South Africa is waterfall central and the likes of Mac Mac Falls, Lisbon Falls and Berlin Falls are dotted along the route. Mac Mac Falls’ entrance has a local curio stall where you can buy local artefacts and souvenirs. Once you make your way through the stalls you arrive at the twin waterfalls which feed into a rock pool below. Those brave enough can take a dip in the rock pool or continue on to Lisbon Falls and Berlin Falls.
Another highlight is the Pinnacle Rock which is a rick formation erupting 30m into the sky. There are various paths you could walk through and each offers a unique view of the rock formation at different levels.
TThe Three Rondavels (formally known as the Three Sisters) are three rock formations which offer the some of the best views over the Blydepoort Dam. The lookout point from here is one of the best in the entire country and the peaks are named due to its striking resemblance to rondavel houses (a hut-like dwelling) found in the local area.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes, situated 35kms from the town of Graskop, evolved due to water erosion which took place for thousands of years at the meeting point of Treur River and the Blyde River. This resulted in cylinder-like rock sculptures and are unique in their entirety, especially if admired from the viewing point above.
Pilgrims Rest was most known as a bartering base during South Africa’s gold rush in the 1800s. This museum town has hung onto its character and still has the charm of a bygone era. Many buildings have been pristinely reserved to this day.
CCheck out our Panorama, Kruger & Johannesburg itinerary here