A magnificent body of water snakes through the world’s largest green canyon. Carving into the Drakensberg escarpment, the Blyde River boasts unusual natural formations all around. An array of indigenous subtropical flora and wildlife thrives in this dynamic ecosystem, located a little less than three hours away from the town of Nelspruit. From proud mountains to wondrous waterfalls, the 25-kilometre gorge grows in beauty by the day.
The most iconic feature of the Blyde River Canyon are the Three Rondavels, eroded mountains that resemble the shape of local huts. Some of the peaks here tower at 800 metres. While these immense contours heighten the thrill, the land beside the river beckons with a character of its own.
Just a few metres away from the Three Rondavels View Point is the Kadishi Tufa Waterfall. Its calcium-rich streams create deposits faster than it carves out the rock, forming a landmark reminiscent of a person in tears. Here, hippos and crocodiles glide through the water while zebra, kudu, and wildebeest occasionally sip from it. Catch a glimpse of them with a boat cruise from Blyde Canyon Adventure Centre or hike the trail to this marvel, beginning just outside chalet 64 at Blyde Canyon, A Forever Resort.
Further south, at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers, the rapids have sculpted out pools in the multi-hued stone. Known as Bourke’s Rock Potholes, this formation is a spectacle of otherworldly appeal. Bridges above them create avenues for visitors to view this pivotal stop along the Panorama Route. Linger a while at the Thaba Tsweni Lodge nearby, as tour guide Wendel Hough captivates you with his knowledge of the land.
The beauty of Mpumalanga is apparent everywhere you look. But at Blyde River Canyon, it culminates in striking landscapes, legendary natural structures, and an abundance of life.