Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon Reserve – Franklin Group

Day 2 -The Panorama route (en-route to Kruger)

Franklin University Group Tour

This morning we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast before departing for Hazyview and Kruger National Park. On the way to Kruger we traveled along the Panorama Route, stopping at selected view points along the way.

The Panorama route is a well-known tourist attraction and features landmarks such as the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, Bourke`s Luck Potholes, Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls and the Pinnacle. There are also some super pubs and restaurants along the Panorama Route.

We did not have time to travel the entire Panorama Route  – you will need more than a day for that – we made stops at Blyde River and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The Blyde River Canyon Reserve is situated against the Northern Drakensberg escarpment and includes natural wonders such as the canyon, God’s window and Pinnacle Rock.

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and second biggest in Africa. While it is difficult to compare canyons around the world, it may be the largest “green canyon”. It is about 25 km in length and about 750 meters deep. The highest point of the canyon, known as Mariepskop is 1,944 meters above sea level and the lowest point is less than 561 meters.

God’s Window is a prime viewing site along the Canyon and offers a panoramic view of the Canyon as well as the lowveld and bushveld. Here you experience the beauty of lush vegetation, majestic cliffs, hills and forests and reserves that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Just a little bit to the right of the Blyde River Canyon is the Three Rondavels. These are three round, grass-covered mountain tops. They are named after the 19th century chief Maripi’s three wives. The viewpoint provides spectacular views of the canyon and the Three Rondavels.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes is also a truly magnificent landmark. The potholes are a result of decades of water swirling where the Treur river meets the Blyde river. This has caused major water erosion over the years and resulted in rock sculptures that will take your breath away.

During our tour of the Panorama Route the group stopped  at some of the many waterfalls known as the Sabie Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Mac Mac Falls. We also stopped at God’s Window which is named so because of the amazing 180° view of the Lowveld.

Lunch time along the Panorama Route – Potluck Bush Kitchen

That was it for the eyes, now to fill the tummies. Just after Bourke’s Luck Potholes, next to the Blyde River sits a restaurant called Potluck. This is no ordinary restaurant. They don’t have any electricity! All food is made on an open fire. And to keep the drinks cold on a hot summer day, they have a solar panel with a battery which powers a fridge. When visiting this little gem, always  remember to bring cash as there is no electricity, thus no card machine.

The locals refer to this little gem as a “boskombuis” which translated means “bush kitchen.” It is truly one of the best stops you can make when traveling the Panorama Route.  It is a bit like living off the grid and the atmosphere is laid back and chilled. Guests are welcomed at the unpresuming boma entrance and escorted to the dining area. Traditional South African food is prepared over a log fire next to a massive boulder. In front of the dining area flows part of the Treur river which as an appeal and charm of its own. Excellent food, relaxed ambiance, magnificent views and great company – who could ask for more?

Kruger Adventure Lodge – Hazyview

After our scenic experiences along the Panorama Route, we continued our road trip towards Hazyview where we checked in at Kruger Adventure Lodge. 

Continue to Days 3 and 4 – Kruger National Park and Hazyview

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