Why is it a must that you must visit Panorama Route?
Tumelo Waga Dibakwane
THE PANORAMA route is the collective name given for the region in Mpumalanga where world renowned sights such as the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes can be seen in one place. These magnificent sights are found along the road branching off the R532 from Graskop. This road takes visitors on a scenic loop past sights such as God’s Window and the Three Rondavels. The road also offers many vantage points from which to take in the panoramic views of the 33 kilometer gorge.
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world. The Bourke’s Luck Potholes are a number of intriguing holes that have been created by erosion of the rock by the swirling river. The Pinnacle is a single column of dolomite rock rising distinctively out of the gorge. Aside from enjoying scenic drives in the area there are also companies that offer the experience of a romantic hot-air balloon ride. Here visitors can gaze down as the wonders of the Panorama Route unfold below.
History of the Blyde River Canyon
The anciensuper continent Gondwanaland broke apart approximately 200 Million years ago, tearing Madagascar and Antarctica away from Africa due to the weight of the vast shallow sea that stretched westwards towards Pretoria. This ancient sea left behind layer upon layer of dolomite and sandstone becoming sediment over millions of years. What was once a deep trench under the sea became a canyon on land. Blyde means ‘glad’ or ‘happy’ in Dutch, named by the Voortrekkers in 1844, when Hendrik Potgieter and others returned safely from Delagoa Bay.
Blyde River Canyon is a natural phenomena and the largest Green Canyon in the world, stretching over 26kms and over 800 meters deep. It is part of the northern parts of the Drakensberg Escarpment.
- The Three Rondavels have many names like the Three Sisters and The Chief and his Three Wives, a name given by the indigenous people who were living in that area.
- Another treasure in the area is the Kadishi Tufa Waterfalls, which are the second highest Tufa waterfalls in the world. The Kadishi Tufa Waterfalls are known as the ‘weeping face of nature’ due to the waterfall personifying a ‘weeping’ face.
The exciting thing about the Blyde River Canyon is that you can experience its beauty on land, water and in the air. You can walk to various viewpoints, take a boat trip or you can fly over the Blyde River Canyon in a Microlight or in a Hot Air Balloon.
The best time to visit the area is during the winter months when the view is unimpaired by the clouds building up from the east in summer. The area is also home to a delightful array of wild-, bird- and plant life.
For adrenaline junkies the Panorama Route also offers a wide range of activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, gold panning and hiking