South Africa – Panorama Route
Today we journey along the Panorama Route, making a stop at the beautiful Blyde River Canyon and the incredible Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
The Panoramic Route found in Mpumalanga follows the rim of the Blyde River Canyon and encompasses some awe-inspiring views of the majestic Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Pothole and the Pinnacle. Blyde River Canyon is the third biggest canyon in the world and acquired its name in 1840, with ‘blyde’ meaning ‘joyful’, from the Voortrekkers who passed through en route to Lorenzo Marques, which is now famously known as Mozambique. It is one of the most magnificent canyons in all of Africa, with cliffs towering up to 800 metres high. Perhaps the finest view in the entirety of the Blyde River Canyon is that of the Three Rondavels – three enormous rock spirals jutting out of the distant wall of the canyon. Their summits look like the rounded roofs of huts, which is where they got their name. They are each individually named too, one after each of the Swazi Chief Maripi’s wives. From lowest to highest, they are named Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maserote.
Where the Blyde and Treur Rivers join, water erosion has created one of the most incredible geological spectacles in the country, known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Over many, many years, bizarre cylindrical granite sculptures that have been formed by swirling water have created a sequence of dark pools which contrast dramatically with the streaked white and yellow lichen-covered rocks. Continuing along the road and following the Treur River south, we will pass more viewpoints, including Wonder View, the awesome God’s Window and the Pinnacle.
Johannesburg, or the City of Gold, is the biggest and most populated South African city and is the second biggest city in all of Africa (after Cairo). Gold was discovered in the mineral-rich Witwaterstrand in 1886 by George Harrison, an Australian prospector. This find began a massive gold rush as fortune-hunters flocked to the region from all parts of the world. A large labour force of contract workers quickly sprung to work in the mines, and within the span of just three years, Johannesburg transformed into South Africa’s biggest settlement. This city is now the economic and financial centre of the country and though mining no longer takes place within the bounds of the city, the headquarters of majority of mining businesses can be located here. Johannesburg is also renowned as the world’s biggest man-made forest, with more than ten million trees planted throughout the massive city.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Timbavati Safari Lodge
Route: Johannesburg to Timbavati +/- 520 km
Travel Time: +/- 9-10 including Panorama Route (long day)
Included Highlights: South African Dinner and Traditional Dancing, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window