The Panorama Route is a great stop-over point enroute to Kruger National Park from Johannesburg. But it is also well worth a visit in its own right. Here, the high plateau of the inland falls some 700 meters into the lowveld below. In places, there is a sheer drop and in other places rivers and streams have created stunning formations that tumble down the mountainside.
The most popular places to visit are:
BLYDE RIVER CANYON / THREE RONDAVELS
Blyde River Canyon is considered the 3rd largest canyon in the world (after Grand Canyon and Fish River Canyon). It differs from its cousins though, in that it is a green canyon that is lush with vegetation. The viewpoint by the Three Rondavels offers fabulous views, and you can get very close to the edge (sometimes a little too close - take care as many places are unfenced). There's also a small market and toilet facilities here. Entrance fee is R25 per person.
BOURKE'S LUCK POTHOLES
Where the rivers Blyde and Treur join, the swirling water has dug deep holes into the soft sandstone. There are bridges high over these multicoloured potholes, and also and area where you can cool off in small waterfalls. There is a market, small cafe and toilets at the site. Entrance fee R55 per person.
This is a viewpoint of the sheer drop into the lowveld, where on a clear day you can see all the way to Kruger National Park. If you have the energy, walk up the path towards the top where you will discover a magical tempered rainforest. It's a short hike (about 20 minutes one way), and well worth the effort! Entrance fee R15 per person. If you just want to see the view (and not hike to rain forest), continue to Wonder View a little further along the road, where you don't need to pay an entrance fee.
While most people see the Panorama Route as a nice distraction along the long drive to Kruger National Park, there is plenty to do here to warrant a one or two-night stay, especially if you are the outdoorsy type. There are plenty of hiking trails, rivers and waterfalls to discover, fly-fishing and horse riding, absailing and a Big Swing (like bungee, only you don't go head first). The newest addition is the Gorge Lift: a glass elevator that takes you on a ride some 50 meters down (and back up) the mountainside. There are plenty of cozy b&b's, nice hotels and self catering options in the area: contact us to find your perfect place!