The Blyde River Canyon is a famous site with tourists visiting the Kruger National Park and its surroundings.
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.
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/camp sites 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 along the panorama route to see all the geological features such as God's Window, the Pinnacle and the many waterfalls.
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.
Pancakes, savoury or sweet, in Graskop or Pilgrim's Rest.
- Aventura Blyde Canyon, (21km from the R36 on the R532), ☎ +27 (0)13 769-8005 (email@example.com), .
- Kwa Thabeng Bush Lodge, ☎ +27 (0)12 811-0134 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Self catering bush camp near Hoedspruit with room for 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 (0)15 795-5488 (email@example.com), . 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 (7km after Hoedspruit airport on left hand side), ☎ + 27(0)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 DBB.