Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Mpumalanga > Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon is a famous nature reserve, popular with tourists visiting the Kruger National Park and its surroundings. The reserve protects the Blyde River Canyon, including sections of the Ohrigstad and Blyde Rivers and the geological formations around Bourke's Luck Potholes, where the Treur River tumbles into the Blyde below. Southwards of the canyon, the reserve follows the escarpment, to include the Devil's and God's Window, the latter a popular viewpoint to the lowveld at the reserve's southern extremity.
The Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons worldwide.
- Tourist information, Hall's Gateway on the N4 National Highway, Mbombela, ☏ , .
As of April 2021, gate entry for adults (children under 12 and pensioners):
- Three Rondawels R25 (R15)
- God’s Window R15 (R10)
- Potholes R55 (R20)
- Pinnacle R15 (R10)
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.
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.
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, ☏ , email@example.com. Accredited safari tour operator offering tours to the Kruger National Park and surrounds including scenic highlights of Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondawels.
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.
- Blyde Canyon, A Forever Resort (21 km from the R36 on the R532), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☏ , email@example.com. 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, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 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), ☏ . Twin bedded wooden rooms with private ablutions on game farm. Horse rides, open vehicle safaris, cycling and microlighting over the bush. R350 doubke.