The Panorama Route | Mpumalanga Self Drive | Part 2
Part 2 of our Self Drive through the Panorama Route is where you will really discover how this route got its name. Endless landscapes unique to Mpumalanga provide sightseeing opportunities that will definitely take your breath away!
A good place to start Part 2 of our Self Drive Panorama Route would be from Graskop. Head out on the R532 from Graskop for about 6km before turning left onto a dirt road towards Lisbon Falls.
At a towering 92 metres high, the Lisbon Falls is the highest waterfall in the region. The spectacular scenery that characterises the Panorama Route is once more on full show here, with three sparkling waterfalls tumbling into the Lisbon River, which flows through a lovely green valley towards a mountainous backdrop.
Entrance Fee: R10 per car
Drive back to the tar road and turn left, heading north again. After 2km, turn left and drive another 2 kilometres, past the Berlin Sawmill, to find the falls.
A vantage point overlooks this beautiful 45 metre waterfall which cascades into a dark pool flanked by impressive ochre cliffs.
Entrance Fee: R10 per car
Another 25km north along the R532, Panorama-Routers will turn right to enter the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, where they will find the peculiar but striking natural phenomena that are the Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Over millions of years, the churning whirlpools at the juncture between the Treur and Blyde rivers have carved out a fascinating array of large potholes in the bedrock.
Sturdy bridges allow visitors to walk right above these unique marvels of nature as the river persistently continues to swirl and grind away at the rock twenty metres below.
The Potholes were named after Tom Bourke, a gold-digger who staked a claim nearby, and signal the start of the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world.
A large picnic site and an informative visitor’s centre are also situated here. Watch out for the monkeys as they have been known to jump into cars!
Entrance: R25 per person plus R5 per car.
You will continue driving north, with the scenery now dominated by natural grassland and shrub. The turn off to the Lowveld View site is situated 5km down the road.
The vantage point is 1219m high and offers a glorious view over the Blyde River Canyon, with its magnificent assortment of rocky peaks and deep valleys filled with dense indigenous forest. The Blyde River can be seen snaking through the canyon until it enters the pristine Blydepoort Dam. This large blue body of water sparkles like a sapphire contrasting against the lush greenery surrounding it.
It will now be late afternoon, so, if the day is clear, soft orange sunlight should make for superb photographic opportunities.
Entrance: R10 per car
Drive another 4.6km north to find this well known attraction. Mother Nature has once again truly outdone herself: the three massive rock edifices standing with silent grandeur in front of the viewing site and the splendour of the Blyde River Canyon spreading out in all directions makes for a mesmerizing sight.
Entrance: R5 per car
You may well be pressed for time at this point, so you should probably call it quits for the day, perhaps settling down for the night at the beautiful Forever Blydepoort Nature Reserve Resort close by or at one of the many lodges or B & B’s around Sabie or Graskop. Or for those who live in Nelspruit or White River, head all the way home after a thoroughly entertaining day trip.
Too much to do to fit into one day?
The truth is that there is still a healthy abundance of attractions in the area, some of these include:
The Khamai Reptile Park, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, The Kruger National Park and the Tsakani Silk Farm (to name but a few) are all in close proximity to The Three Rondawels, so you won’t regret turning your self drive day trip into a thoroughly enjoyable weekend away with family or friends.
This area is truly one of the loveliest regions in the country and no brochure or photograph can do justice to its awe-inspiring beauty: it has to be seen to be appreciated.
Text by Dale Hes