Blyde River Canyon and Panorama Route
Trip Start Oct 08, 2008
17Trip End Oct 25, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We have the GPS. We have the food. We have the cameras. What did we forget? Oh yea, a couple of people. Not too bad, we'll have the process down soon. Anyway, groaning and moaning we piled into the van and off we went, this being our first daylight foray into daylight sightseeing.
And sightseeing it was. Madison Avenue advertising executives could not have named this route any batter. Panoramas, views, sights, beauty and Mother Nature showing the best she had to offer in South Africa.
The route was well marked by signage but with all the heads swiveling around we did miss a few. We went from low veldt to mountains in a very short time. The roads, all two lanes, were exceptional and they did pass through some small towns. We stopped often to take in the beauty and record it to film, well, digital storage actually. With seven people and 11 cameras the staccato sound of shutters was funny. Yes, we will be posting photos.
One of the first stops was a quaint b&b set on the edge of a deep valley. I would judge it to be at least 2oo feet. They swimming pool sat right on the cliff giving the impression of an endless pool. Sitting on the pool edge was not for the faint-hearted. They also had bungee jumping and zip lines across to the other side, probably 300 feet away. Being the sensible adult in the group, I jumped on it. What a view. I did record everything on video and when I figure out how to post it I will.
On we went. Next stop scheduled was the Pinnacles. True to the name it was high and rugged. More photos more ohhs and ahhhs.
Next was God's Window. The parking is rather limited and there are very nice local wares for sale in the lot. Now we saw photos and read reports but we were NOT ready for what we did see. This was truly a window to Nature. The photos cannot do it justice. There was a slight haze in the air but visibility was well over twenty miles. Above the Window is a rainforest trail. It is steep and rocky but the view at the top is well worth the considerable effort to get there. Because of the trail condition I met few people. Unfortunately though, I did see three "gentlemen" more than slightly inebriated trying to jump from boulder to boulder wearing flip-flops. Not good and, lo and behold, one slid down the bolder when his "hiking shoe, as he called it, fell apart. Not much damage but he did leave his blood, sweat and tears there.
Just beyond God's Window is another area aptly called Wonder View. True to its name, it is. There is a small, almost invisible trail running along the cliff edge well worth the walk. The saying "you can almost see forever" fits this location well.
On to Lisbon and Berlin Falls. Since we were in the beginning of summer it was still rather dry. The falls had some water but not a lot of volume. Regardless, they were beautiful. One note here, the falls are pretty much unspoiled. Access does cost and is well worth the money to maintain the security and the parking. As at God's Window there are local wares for sale. We stopped and had a picnic lunch at Lisbon Falls and just communed with nature. Funny how we all talk, laugh and joke but here the silence was deafening. Just look at the scenery.
Next on our travel was Bourke's Luck Potholes. We had heard a lot about this feature and here we were to see it for ourselves. The actual location is at the headwaters of the Blyde River where the Treur River empties into it. Originally found by a gold digger, Tom Burke, he had better luck naming the area than finding gold. The entrance is well marked and there is a minimal fee. Parking is good with crafts and a refreshment stand. The walk to the actual site starts at the parking lot but turns to well worn rock surface. Not well marked people drift all over. There are some steel walks and bridges and cement steps. Actually walking aimlessly allows you to explore all areas. The primary name sake though, is the potholes. Water, over millennia, has worn circular patterns in the surface. We could not have done a better job. The shapes and color varied constantly.
By this point it was well after 4 PM and we were beat plus we still had a couple of hour drive back. We did cut the drive short. Still, what we had seen could never be forgotten. Pile back into the van, curl up and snooze. All except the driver and co-pilot, I hope.
We did get back safely, more or less, ate dinner and decided we were going to do some detective work. We were going to find the source of the hippo dung. Asking for volunteers I received a look like "We know you're crazy but are you asking us to be as crazy?" Soooo, My wife, Yo and Amy decided they needed to go to make sure I didn't do something really dumb.
Now it doesn't take a genius to figure out where hippo dung comes from, I am proof of that. We wanted to see the hippo. Armed with the cameras and a video camera with low light capability off we went to go where no man (with any brains) has traveled before. We had already spotted likely exits from the Sabi River and we know from the research we had done what to look for and when discretion became the better part of valor, meaning when to vacate the area expeditiously. We slowly and quietly walked to the area and low and behold we saw a juvenile hippo having dinner on the grass. He was small (?) and maybe three foot at the shoulder. We tried to take some photos but even with the iso push to max, they were way too dark. Every time we snapped though the hippo's ears twitched and taking that as a hint we stopped.
After 15 minutes or so we started back tracking and we had a chance meeting with another hippo. This one was definitely not young as the head was about 2 feet between the ears. Luckily we were passed the river entrance and close to our exit. We froze until he/she passed and we back-pedaled out of there, quickly.
Now this was exciting, dumb but exciting.