The Panorama Route stretches along the remarkable Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, and is perhaps one of the most picturesque and sought-after travel destinations in the whole of South Africa. The spectacular Panorama Route is most well-known for its cultural heritage and vivid landscapes. It offers a wide selection of thrilling activities for travellers, and boasts some of the finest adrenalin-filled adventures, as well as some more tranquil options.
The Panorama Route runs through the rocky mountain range of the northern Drakensberg, where the inland plateau suddenly drops and steeply opens up breathtaking vistas of the Lowveld plains, up to 1000 metres below. This region is very likely the most photographed, painted and admired region in the country.
One of the main highlights of the area is the Blyde River Canyon Reserve, which has an incredible range of animal and bird life, as well as some of the finest views in South Africa. The Canyon is the third biggest of its kind in the world. Other highlights include the marvellous waterfalls in Graskopand Sabie, the Echo Caves, Mapulane and Swazi, trails left behind by the Voortrekkers in areas such as Lyndenberg and Ohrigstad, ancient footprints left by indigenous folks of Africa and the Gold Rush territory, and Pilgrim’s Rest.
On the Abel Erasmus Pass, visitors have the chance to spot one of the rarest birds in the world, known as the ‘Taita Falcoln’. The presence of these spectacular birds in South Africa was only discovered in the 1990s. When visiting the Panorama Route, be sure to partake in exciting activities such as white water rafting, hot air ballooning, bungee jumping, or even rock climbing. If you would prefer something more relaxed, try out the wonderful bird watching, game viewing, trout fishing, or mountain biking available, or just spend time admiring the picturesque marvels of the area.
The small town of Graskop is the gateway to the Panorama Route. It is a fantastic area in which to set up base. Splendid landmarks with beautiful names such as ‘God’s Window’, ‘Wonder View’, ‘the Pinnacle’, ‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’ and ‘the Three Rondavels’ await visits from travellers; one awe-inspiring view after another. The tremendous Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls and Mac Mac Falls are also just a short ride away. Half an hour away from Graskop lies the gold rush town of Pilgrim’s Rest, giving you the opportunity to relive the 1873 gold rush in the surroundings of unbeatable splendour. Here, you could also try your hand at gold panning, just as the settlers did more than a century back!
Though the visual elements tend to dominate the Panorama Route, expect all of your senses to be indulged. The abundance of fauna and flora that the area supports is fantastic. Mammals you might happen to spot along the Route include klipspringer, dassies, grey rhebuck, oribi, kudu, bushbuck, bushpig, a variety of monkey species, bushbabies, chacma baboons and black-backed jackals. The birdlife is also incredibly rich, with regal and majestic eagles spotting the skies.
At the Ohrigstad Dam Reserve, you are able to fish for yellowtail or carp on peaceful waters surrounding by scenic mountains – a perfect haven from busy crowds during peak season. From the top of Mount Anderson you can gaze down to the biggest man-made forest in South Africa, and the town of Sabie which contains the largest sawmill in the country. With so much to do and so many incredibly beautiful sights to see, the Panorama Route is most definitely a must-see when visiting South Africa.