If you’ve never seen the Blyde River Canyon in person (South African or not) it’s time to put it on your bucket list! I mean it, go grab a pen and add this to your list right now and if you don’t have a bucket list then add it to your mental list or whatever list you got going on (I know every adventurer has one).
I always liked to think that I already had all of the most beautiful spots in South Africa on my list and although this includes places I’ve been to like Silvermine – and Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, it also includes places I’ve never been to like Hogsback and Coffee Bay.
However, to my shock the Blyde River Canyon (and surrounding areas) wasn’t on that list. Why? Because I didn’t even know a place like that existed in South Africa!
And I know I’m not the only one, so if you’re reading this and your palms are getting all sweaty and your heartbeat is racing a little bit because all of a sudden you realize there’s a beautiful place right here in South Africa that you’ve never seen, don’t fear, because I’m about to tell you how you can experience all of this in just one day.
Stop 1: Pilgrim’s Rest
Our first stop was in the small town, Pilgrim’s Rest. This town is very small and very similar to Dullstroom. If you like antiques and craft shops then I would recommend a stop in this town. However, we only stopped for a quick drink before heading for the first waterfall, the Mac Mac Falls.
Stop 2: Mac Mac Falls
There’s an easy, short trail that you follow in order to reach the viewpoint where you have a beautiful view of this waterfall. When you’ve reached this viewpoint and you see the waterfall, you will want to stay there for a few moments too long but you’ve got to keep in mind that you have a few stops ahead of you and time is the most precious thing. (If you only have one stop per day then you, my friend, can stay here for as long as you want). This beautiful waterfall and the sound of the water falling, for what seems to be forever, is really mesmerizing. So, obviously after the first stop, the Mac Mac Falls was on top of my most-beautiful-things-seen-on-July-22nd list. (I told you we’ve all got some sort of list going on!)
Height: 65 m
Entrance: R10 for the car
Hours: 8am -5pm
Stop 3: Graskop
Graskop was our lunch stop. Unfortunately it breaks my heart to say this but this isn’t a place I will recommend. The service at Harry’s pancakes was terrible and the food wasn’t great either. However, I want to believe with all my heart that we were the only ones who had an unpleasant experience and that the rest of the customers were as satisfied as can be.
Stop 4: God’s Window
Now this is a stop I would do every time I’m in the area. God’s Window provides spectacular views of the Lowveld area and the magical part of this place is when you’re standing at one of the viewpoints, overlooking kilometers of the Lowveld, you understand why it’s called God’s Window. It’s absolutely amazing and there are several paths leading to different viewpoints, giving you a panorama view of the Lowveld. Definitely give yourself enough time to truly appreciate this place and turn down every path and experience each viewpoint because not one is the same and not one is better than the other. They’re just all amazing and this place is amazing and you need to go experience this amazing-ness!
Entrance: R10 pp
Hours: Open 24 hours
Stop 5: Berlin Falls
Yeow, now this is a waterfall I can look at every day, all day. This majestic waterfall falls into a dam which is a shade between turquoise and emerald green. The same colour as some of those beautiful lakes in Canada! I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, I was running up and down the viewpoint trying to find a hiking path or just some sort of trail because I needed to get down there. My excitement was uncontainable and although I couldn’t find the trail, Google says that there is a hiking trail all the way to the waterfall where you can eventually finish your hike with a lovely picnic. So, let’s put on our explorers hats and go find this trail! Also, the Berlin Falls took first place over the Mac Mac Falls on my most-beautiful-things-seen-on-July-22nd list.
Height: 80 m
Entrance: R10 for the car
Hours: 8am – 5pm
Stop 6: Bourke’s Luck Potholes
I’m not going to lie; when I first saw the word “Potholes” I didn’t get too excited. I mean, I live in South Africa, I see them all the time so I didn’t understand why these have a special name. That was only until I saw what Bourke’s Luck Potholes actually looked like. WOW! That was truly an incredible sighting. I’ve never seen something like this before and just the thought that the water level was that high many years ago blew my mind. Listening to my dad comparing it to when he was younger also made me realize that in a couple of years from now it will also look completely different. Isn’t that amazing? Every day something small changes and although right now we might not be able to see the difference, one day we will look at it and see something completely different. I think that’s pretty cool! (Also, there’s a really amazing story about the Treur River and Blyde River meeting here and where the names come from. So if you wanna know this story, swing me a message!)
Address: Blyde River Nature Reserve
Entrance: R50 pp
Hours: 7am – 5pm
Stop 7: Blyde River Canyon
Wow! Wow! Wow! This place is the most magical, majestic, beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than ending the day off with this view. I was in awe, almost started crying because how else do you cope with something that looks so supernatural?
Although this was the last stop for the day, I would highly recommend that you stay the night in the Forever Resorts, Blyde Canyon. My ONLY reason for this is because there are several hiking trails only accessible from within the Resort.
The Tufa waterfall on the Kadisi Trail is a must-see! An easy, 2 kilometers and you’re at the waterfall! However, the hidden gem in my eyes is the Leopard Trail which provides beautiful scenes of the Blyde Canyon from a different angle. My brother and I were chasing the sunrise. We were running up and down, trying to find the perfect spot so that we could watch the sun rise over the Blyde River Canyon. Oh and we did! The sunrise that morning was definitely one of the most beautiful moments in my life.
The Blyde River Canyon is 25 km in length and on average 750 m deep.
Stay wild, stay free