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The Blyde River Canyon

Scenic beauty par excellence

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve offers incredible views and is also part of the popular Panorama Route.

The spectacularly scenic Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga cuts through the Drakensberg Mountains. It offers rare natural attractions, fauna and flora.

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is situated in Mpumalanga and, with viewing points like God’s Window, offers some of the most spectacular views in South Africa. Activities range from hiking and swimming to scenic drives. Natural wonders like the water-eroded Bourke’s Luck Potholes will amaze even the jaded tourist.

The 29 000 ha Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in South Africa cuts through the Drakensberg Mountain Range. It offers a stunning view of the Klein Drakensberg Escarpment and stretches along the Blyde River Canyon, which offers spectacular views from points like God's Window and Wonder View of the 800 meter drop into the riverbed. For this reason the area is also part of the Panorama Route.

The environment varies from high mistlands to the drier and warmer lowveld around the Blyde River Dam. The Blyde River Canyon reserve is situated in Mpumalanga and encompasses the Blyde River Canyon - the third deepest canyon in the world and the largest in South Africa. It stretches for 50km along the edge of the African escarpment and looks out eastwards to the Three Rondavels or Three Sisters, three massive spirals of dolomite that rise from the far wall of the canyon. A single quartzite column - aptly named Pinnacle - rises from the wooded canyon, offering more spectacular vistas.

The Bourke's Luck Potholes, where the Blyde River, or river of joy, and Treur River, or river of sorrow, meet, also offer a unique geological phenomenon. Water erosion over millennia has carved cylindrical sculptures from the canyon's red and yellow rocks interspersed with rock pools populated with fish. The nature reserve offers more than 1 000 species off flora, of which nearly 20 species of cycad are endangered, and several beautiful waterfalls.

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga offers a wide range of fauna and flora due to its varying altitudes, extreme climate and diverse soil conditions. Animal life ranges from dassies and Klipspringers in rocky areas, rare Oribi, Grey Rhebuck, rodents and birds on the grasslands and Kudu and bushpig in the more lush growth around the Blyde River's beds. All five of South Africa's primates inhabit the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and crocodiles, hippopotami, waterbirds and otters are found in the wetlands of the Swandini Dam and the Blyde River.

Situated along the Panorama Route and easily accessible from the west of the Kruger National Park and the towns of Sabie and Nelspruit.

Abseiling is best in winter, from June to the end of August, but the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is spectacular throughout the year.

Pack sturdy boots, cameras and binoculars, as well as swimming gear, sunscreen and hats. A sense of adventure will also stand you in good stead.

Organised tours of the Blyde River Canyon Hiking Trail, God's Window, 3 Rondavels, The Pinnacle, Bourke's Luck Potholes, visitor's centre and the Blyde Dam are available.

Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency
Tel: +27 (13) 759 5300
www.mpumalanga.com
Email: info@mtpa.co.za

Scenic views at Blyde River Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest in the world and has been renamed the Molatse River Canyon.

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

The spectacularly scenic Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga cuts through the Drakensberg Mountains. It offers rare natural attractions, fauna and flora.