The Panorama Route
It's been REALLY REALLY long since I last wrote, so I must say a belated Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! My New Year's resolution should probably be to write more blog posts... In any case, at the end of 2014, my husband and I finally went on our honeymoon to South Africa! Towards the beginning of our trip, we took a drive along the gorgeous Panorama Route just west of Kruger National Park.
We stayed at the highly regarded Khaya Ndlovu Manor House, which is located on a private game reserve in Hoedspruit, and the most coincidental thing happened! Over a year ago, Andrew and I met someone from Germany, Alan, through a mutual friend of ours. And when we first walked into Khaya Ndlovu, we see Alan and his partner sitting at the table having breakfast! And since they had a rental car, they invited us to go on a drive with them the next day along the Panorama Route.
We drove along the Blyde River Canyon, which has dramatic views no matter which direction you look! Our first stop was the Three Rondavels, which are three formations in the canyon, but unfortunately, it was extremely foggy that day, so we could barely make out what was below us... I'm sure it looks gorgeous on a sunny day!
But if you look closely, you can see the gorgeous, colorful layers of the canyon and the lush flora that cover the rock formations.
Our next stop at Bourke's Luck Potholes was MUCH more rewarding! The colors were so vibrant, and the storm clouds rolling out (or perhaps rolling in) really made a dramatic backdrop!
Make sure you look down because that's where the potholes are! They are created by underwater vortices at the junction of the Blyde River and the Treur River. Once you see them, you will be awe that a formation like this formed on its own!
You can walk farther than the potholes, but make sure you watch your step! It gets pretty rocky.
The mini waterfalls are a stunning landscape! Had there not been other tourists, this would have been a wonderful place to just sit, relax and perhaps have a picnic!
After our stop at Bourke's Luck Potholes, we had to skip God's Window, another famous site on the Panorama Route, because the fog and rain clouds rolled in again... So we kept driving...
Word on the street was that we could skip the waterfalls except for Mac Mac Falls. So we stopped there and took a 5 minute hike (it felt longer considering the muddy, slippery rocks) to see the waterfall, which was beautiful! It certainly was a rewarding final stop on our day trip!
- In South Africa, the driver sits on the right side of the car and drives on the left side of the road.
- Make sure you can drive stick shift really well - the roads are extremely windy and go through the mountains with steep drop-offs!
- Go on the Panorama Route on a clear day - you will see much more than we did!
- Bring along some sandwiches and drinks for a picnic!
- At some stops, you will need to pay a small fee to enter, but most fees are pretty negligible. The only place where you need to pay a more "substantial" fee is at Bourke's Luck Potholes (40 Rand, or ~3.5 USD, per person I believe), but the sweeping views are absolutely worth it!