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.