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Panorama Route

The Panorama Route along the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga Province is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in South Africa. The route leads through the beautiful rugged mountains of the Northern Drakensberg. This dramatic landscape with its great heights and deep valleys offers spectacular views and makes for great photos. Perhaps you think you will be able to make already a small representation of the views that you have from here over the beautiful scenery. But the reality will surpass everything. It is an area with places enjoyable like Pilgrim's Rest, Hazyview, Graskop and Ohrigstad just to name a few. There are plenty of adventure activities; you can visit caves, learn more about the time of the miners and the time of the pioneers. But mostly it's the place to let overwhelm you with all the natural beauty that reveals itself to you here.

The spectacular Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and has a totally different look to the Fish River Canyon in Namibia and the Grand Canyon in America. Here the Canyon is filled with lush vegetation and there are also many wild animals. This is therefore the largest woodland and lush green canyon in the world. The winding road along the Canyon offers a fascinating spectacle at every turn; often with amazing views as you look over the side about 800 meters down and see the river. The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve has lots of wonderful vantage points. North of Graskop you have God's Window which offers great views of the Lowveld. At the beginning of the Canyon you will find Bourke's Luck Potholes and end the Three Rondavels. From different vantage points, you have a view of the 33-kilometer gorge. An area created by wind erosion and the confluence of the Mourning and the Blyde River. The rivers here have moved tons of rock to and along the Lowveld to the Indian Ocean.

The landscape of the 25 000-hectare nature reserve, the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is unique, the flora is lush and varied, something that causes different animals also feel at home here. Here you can find the colony of the rare bald ibis, but also dassies, reedbuck, impala, kudu, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra. The Samango monkeys, bush babies, baboons and vervet monkeys meander through this beautiful area. Around the rivers and dams, you will find waterfowl, otters, hippopotamuses and crocodiles. At the Abel Erasmus Pass birdwatchers should certainly just follow the signs for 'Place of Birds', because here you have the opportunity to see the Taita Falcon and a pair has settled here as one of the world's rarest bird. Other highlights during the Panorama route are the many beautiful waterfalls in Graskop and Sabie.

About 8 kilometres from Graskop you have the Lisbon Falls. This waterfall with its 92-meter-long water a nearly round shape shaped rock is the highest waterfall in the Panorama route. And after the Lone Creek falls also the most beautiful. The name originated when the plantations were the names were formed here of European capitals. It is possible to climb to the first platform of rocks where a few rock pools lay. Please note that the rocks are slippery and therefore stay far enough from the edge. You are strongly advised not to go over the waterfall, because years ago, a tourist was taken by the flow down here. 10 kilometres from Graskop are the Berlin Falls, which is only six kilometres from Lisbon Falls so little efforts to also admire this equally close. You can also go to God's Window which is also 10 kilometres away from here. The waterfall is spectacular because the water here goes through the rock; beginning as a strong jet but spreads out in a wide range to 45 meters lower disappearing into a lake.

15 kilometres of Graskop are the twin Mac Mac Falls with a height of 65 meters; they are the second highest waterfalls on the Panorama route. Since 1983, these waterfalls were declared a national monument. The waterfall is named after the Scots because they were mainly those who were looking for gold here. There is a steep path leading to a viewing platform above the falls. This waterfall originally had only one power but the miners created a second when they somewhat too enthusiastically worked with dynamite. Whether it has ever resulted in finding more gold we will never know unfortunately. Close by you will find a plaque along the way that Sir Percy Fitzpatrick followed with his faithful dog his Staffordshire terrier, Jock; very well known by all the stories and later the book Jock of the Bushveld. About 3 kilometres away are the Mac Mac Pools, interrupted by shaped swimming spots by nature due to low cement walls. You can take a nice fresh cool dip here after a hot day of traveling the Panorama Route. It is also a popular picnic spot, and from here you can see the beautiful 3 kilometre long route; Secretary Bird walk.

17 km from Graskop lay Forest Falls this is the only waterfall that is wider than it is high. If you want to visit this waterfall you will have to walk about 7 kilometres from the parking, a permit is required and available at the Mac Mac Forest Retreat. In Sabie Sabie Falls, these can be reached by a short walk. From the viewpoint you can see the waterfall falling approximately 73 meters down and somewhere down there you can still see the remains of an old power plant that once provided the power for Sabie. The Bridal Veil Falls depicting a bridal veil lie about 6 km from Sabie. It is a challenging walk of about 750 meters through native forests leading you to the 70 meter high waterfall.

Horseshoe Falls is located about 12 km outside Sabie and the waterfall takes the shape of a shoe. On the same road you will pass the Lone Creek Falls, the stunning 68 meter waterfall has been declared a national monument and accessed by a 200 meter long walk through a native forest before reaching the foot of the waterfall. The most beautiful scenery in this beautiful setting in the dry winter months, at other times of the year there can be a pretty cloud or fog. Please note that you are prompted almost at all stops a small amount of parking / entrance fee (5 - 30 ZAR). You will often also see souvenir stalls, picnic areas and restrooms.

The Echo Caves are about 25 km from Ohrigstad where powerful African tribes once lived like the Pedi, Mapulane and Swazis. The caves were discovered in the twenties and are now a Historical Monument. With beautiful rooms of up to 60 meters high, well worth a visit. The name was created by the sound of the drums that did an ultrasound and was used as a warning of impending doom. Some tunnels are about 40 km and the sound spread itself therefore easily over a long distance. There is a special route for the more adventurous visitor ... mind you; this is not for people who suffer from claustrophobia! A little further you will find the Museum of Man where foreign objects found are exhibited in these caves. Bushman Rock Shelter and The Shoe are also just steps away, and now you're there ...

Here on the Panorama route, you can take a number of adrenaline-pumping activities; foefie slide, bungee jumping and abseiling, white water rafting, ballooning, 4x4 driving trails, mountain or quad biking, helicopter flights and take rock climbing. But also go back in time and start looking for gold ... Very relaxed it is to spot wildlife, go trout fishing, hiking, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, bird watching or just sit at one of the many rock pools. You can visit a Shangana Cultural Village, a coffee farm or silk farm and also close is the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and a reptile park.