Panorama Route tours & holiday packages
Escarpment of the Rising Sun
The towering escarpment that divides the breezy grassland of the highveld from the sweltering bush country of the lowveld is studded with scenic outlooks and pretty waterfalls.
A popular add-on to a safari in the nearby Kruger National Park, the aptly named Panorama Route is a loose circuit of viewpoints and other attractions associated with the scenic escarpment region of Mpumalanga ("Place of the Rising Sun"). The centrepiece of the route, the magnificent 25-kilometre-long, 1.4-kilometre-deep Blyde River Canyon, hemmed in by red sandstone cliffs and forested slopes, lies only 50 kilometres west of Kruger. The canyon is protected in a 270-square-kilometre nature reserve that offers some excellent day-hiking opportunities through a lush evergreen forest inhabited by vervet and samango monkeys, along with colourful forest birds such as Knysna turaco and Narina trogon. Particularly enjoyable is the short trail to the cycad and fern-clad Kadishi Falls, which flows over impressive tufa (calcium carbonate) formations reminiscent of stalagmites.
Three Rondawels ranks among the most stunning viewpoints in South Africa, with the river running ribbon-like almost a kilometre below and the trio of spectacular rocks for which it is named on the opposite horizon. Not to be missed!
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The canyon is overlooked by several viewpoints, including the sensational Three Rondawels, named after a trio of massive rock outcrops that recall traditional thatched rondavels (roundhouses). Another spectacular viewpoint is God’s Window, which lies on the edge of the escarpment and offers views across the expansive lowveld of Kruger.
Situated at a river confluence at the southern end of the Blyde River Canyon, the cylindrical Bourke’s Luck Potholes were created entirely by water erosion and can be explored along a network of paths and footbridges. Of several spectacular waterfalls in the region, the Lisbon Falls has the tallest single drop waterfall in the region, plunging in two streams over a 90-metre stone amphitheater. The Mac-Mac and Berlin Falls are also worth a diversion.
The urban highlight of the Panorama Route, Pilgrim’s Rest mushroomed into life in 1873 following the discovery of what was then the largest known deposit of alluvial gold in southern Africa. After mining ceased operation in 1971, the village was restored as a living museum evoking the Victorian gold rush era.
Panorama Route Map
Panorama Route's location on Google Maps