The Panorama Route

Last updated: Jul 25, 2014

This popular scenic route along the Mpumalanga escarpment is where you will find glorious sights such as the Blyde River Canyon (the third largest canyon in the world), God's Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke's Luck Potholes. Other scenic wonders along and near to this route include the Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Mac Mac Falls and the historic mining town of Pilgrim's Rest. The fanciful town of Sabie is also found nearby.

The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in the whole of South Africa and leads through the rocky mountain range of the magnificent Northern Drakensberg. It is situated mostly along on the R532 and the town of Graskop is found nearest to it. Graskop is a small forestry town, has an altitude of 1400m above sea level, has high rainfall and is often foggy in the summer months. This lovely town is famous for its yummy pancake bars and fascinating curio shops.

One of the grand sights you'll come across while enjoying this route is the Three Rondavels, named after Chief Maripi Mashile's three wives: Magabolie, Magoladikwe and Maseroto, these three astonishing peaks resemble rondavels (a rounded traditional dwelling with a slightly pointed roof).

Once known as 'The Chief and his three wives' this is a picturesque sight that is definitely worth a visit. The lookout point to view the peaks offers sweeping vistas towards the northern edges of the Drakensberg.

Next on the list is God's Window which is said to be one of the most charming viewpoints in South Africa and from here you will be able to see spectacular canyons, rock formations and waterfalls. It forms part of a 250km long stretch of breath-taking cliffs. There is a R10.00 entrance fee to access the viewpoint and there are stalls and toilet facilities available.

Up next is Blyde River Canyon which is guaranteed to take your breath away. It is approximately 25km in length and on average 750m deep. It is often said that this is the largest 'green canyon' in the world due to its abundant subtropical vegetation. Interesting fact - This area dates back to about 200 million years ago.

The next wonder is Bourke's Luck Potholes which actually marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon, this natural water feature came about due to swirling whirlpools which have caused cylindrical potholes to form into the bedrock of the river over many many years. The potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Burke.

Besides all of these wonders there is also a wide range of exciting activities to enjoy along the route which include white river rafting, bungee jumping, gold panning and hiking.

This area is home to a large variety of plant life, birdlife and wildlife. You may come across klipspringer, dassies, grey rhebuck, oribi, kudu, bushbuck, bushpig, monkeys, bushbabies, chacma baboons and black-backed jackals.

The best time to visit here is during the winter months as the views are exceptional and more reliable then, than in the cloudy summer months. The best way to get around here is by car and in some areas by foot.

There is a wide range of accommodation options available in Graskop and surrounds if you wish to stay overnight. Options in Graskop include Le Gallerie Luxury Accommodation, Mogodi Lodge and many more. Options in Sabie include Gunyatoo Trout Farm and Guest Lodge as well as the Lone Creek River Lodge or you can 'travel back in time' and stay at The Royal Hotel in Pilgrim's Rest. A few accommodation options in Hazyview include Dreamfields Guesthouse, Kruger Park Lodge and Sabaan Holiday Resort.

While in this area, a visit to the Kruger National Park is recommended.