Mpumalanga Game and Nature ReservesThe Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon Reserve extends along the Blyde River Canyon's winding path, which at every turn offers more and more impressive views over sheer edges dropping 800m into the riverbed.
The fresh mountain scenery and panoramic views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment are quite spectacular and give the area its name of 'Panorama Route'. Viewpoints are named for the spectacle they offer, and God's Window and Wonder View hint at the magnitude of the scenery.
The 'Pinnacle' is a single quartzite column rising out of the deep wooded canyon and the ‘Three Rondavels' (also called 'Three Sisters’) are three huge spirals of dolomite rock rising out of the far wall of the Blyde River canyon. Their domed heads are iced in green and their sides are stained with fiery orange lichen. From the 'Three Rondavels' you can see the extensive Swadini Dam in the far distance, which marks the end of the reserve.
At the meeting point of the Blyde River (river of joy) and the Treur River (river of sorrow) water erosion has created one of the most phenomenal geological phenomenon in South Africa. The ‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’ have taken thousands of years to form strange cylindrical sculptures carved by swirling water. The smooth red and yellow rocks contrast with the dark pools.
The geology and climate of this high rainfall plateau results in masses of waterfalls, beautiful to look at and many of which you can visit. Others are hidden deep within some of the largest man-made forestry plantations in the world, with row upon row of pine and eucalyptus trees.
The rich and varied plant life is influenced by extreme climate, a range of altitudes and various soil conditions. This variety of plant life supports an equally rich and varied fauna. klipspringer and dassies find food and shelter in rocky areas. The grassland supports grey rhebuck and the rare oribi as well as rodents, reptiles, seed-eating birds and plenty of insects. Kudu prefer the cover of wooded bushveld and bushbuck and bushpig move amongst the luxuriant growth on the riverbanks.
All five of South Africa's primates can be see in the The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The somango monkey, nocturnal greater and lesser bushbabies, chacma baboons and vervet monkeys are all present.
Hippopotamus and crocodile live in and around the rivers and wetlands of Swadini Dam, as do waterbirds and otters. Almost every type of habitat that attracts birds is found in the The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and all three South African species of Loerie can be found in the reserve.
To view a detailed Map indicating landmarks and location of attractions in and around the Blyde River Canyon, see: Blyde River Canyon Map. To find out what to do in the area see Things to Do in Blyde River Canyon.
Popular Activities at the Blyde River Canyon
Mountain Magic Helicopter Flight
Where? Departs from Hazyview
This is an exhilarating one-hour flight offered by Regent Exclusive Safaris that swoops over deep and mysterious gorges, through lush valleys bursting with vegetation and colour. The Jetranger will linger above roaring rivers and cascading waterfalls...
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Blyderivierspoort Hiking Trail
Where? Departs from Graskop
The Blyde River Canyon Trail, or Blyderivierspoort Hiking Trail, wends its way through the third largest canyon in the world, and arguably one of the most beautiful. The Blyde River Canyon outshines every other landmark in the country, bar Table...
More info and contact details: Blyderivierspoort Hiking Trail
Flight over Blyde River Canyon
Where? From Lion Sands Reserve
Take a helicopter flight from the exclusive Lion Sands Private Game Reserve to the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga. This must be the most spectacular way of viewing the northern Drakensberg, which is host to some of South Africa's most well known...
More info and contact details: Helicopter flight over Blyde River Canyon