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Blyde River Canyon

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The Blyde River Canyon is a famous nature reserve, popular with tourists visiting the Kruger National Park and its surroundings.

Understand[edit]

Map of the escarpment and canyon

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon worldwide, after the Grand Canyon (USA) and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia.

Get in[edit]

It is situated along the Panorama Route and easily accessible from the west of the Kruger National Park and the towns of Sabie and Nelspruit.

If you come from Johannesburg, treat yourself with a drive through Belfast, Dullstroom, Lydenburg and Pilgrim's Rest en route to Graskop. If possible, spend the night in one of the hotels, lodges, or campsites on the escarpment and devote a day to exploring the whole Panorama Route.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

The Three Rondavels.
Bourkes Luck Potholes

The canyon itself. There are waterfalls (Berlin and Lisbon), the Pinnacle, God's Window, Wonderview, Bourkes Luck Potholes (with a fascinating display of the wildlife and geology of the canyon) and several viewpoints, the best-known is the Three Rondavels/Three Sisters.

  • Bourkes Luck Potholes - Named after a miner called Tom Bourke, who found a bit of gold here, but never got rich as the gold seam was located a short distance to the south of his claim. The potholes and rock formations are carved from the rock by water action at the confluence of the Blyde and Treue rivers. You may also see some local birds.

Do[edit]

There are hiking trails in the nature reserve and horse riding is a possibility, but most people seem to drive through it on their way to or from game reserves like Kruger National Park.

Drive the panorama route to see all the geological features such as God's Window, the Pinnacle and the many waterfalls.

  • Viva Safaris, Hoedspruit, Limpopo, +27 71 842 5547, e-mail: . Accredited safari tour operator offering tours to the Kruger National Park and surrounds including scenic highlights of Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondawels.

Buy[edit]

Many locals sell artwork here, ranging from those famous wooden giraffes to knobbly paper made from elephant dung. Prices are higher at more frequented sites and lower at spots off the main stream.

Eat[edit]

Pancakes, savoury or sweet, in Graskop or Pilgrim's Rest.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • Blyde Canyon, A Forever Resort (21 km from the R36 on the R532), +27 86 122-6966, e-mail: . Cold swimming pool, convenience store, hiking trails, horse rides, Kadisi Bar, Kadisi Restaurant, liquor store, petrol station, putt-putt, tennis courts (floodlit), trampolines, volleyball. Low season 1 May 2017-31 Aug 2017 rates from: double R865, twin R1000, quad R1190, campsite R170 plus R70/person. High season/peak season rates up to 50% more. Conservation fee of R5 per person per night not included..
  • Kwa Thabeng Bush Lodge, +27 12 811-0134, e-mail: . Self-catering bush camp near Hoedspruit that can sleep up to 8 adults near the Blyde River Canyon mouth. Explore the Blyde River Canyon, the Panorama Route and the Kruger National Park from here. From R165pp.
  • Otter's Den, +27 15 795-5488, e-mail: . The accommodations are simple and charming and it is like being in a treehouse on the river. The food and service were excellent, and to get to the property guests walk across a suspension bridge over the Blyde River. From Sep 2010 you can sleep there only if you book a hot air balloon flight. From R590pp.
  • Wildlife Encounters, Hoedspruit (7 km after Hoedspruit airport on left hand side), +27 83 382-5098. Twin bedded wooden rooms with private ablutions on game farm. Horse rides, open vehicle safaris, cycling and microlighting over the bush. R350 doubke.

Go next[edit]

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