Blyde River Canyon on the The Panorama Route
, is the third largest in the world and one of South Africa's scenic wonders.
The scenery of the 25 000 ha reserve is unsurpassed, its vegetation both varied and lush and the rich selection of bird life includes a breeding colony of the rare bald ibis.
The Blyde River Canyon can be reached from Graskop
via R532. The Canyon starts at Bourke's Luck Potholes and ends at the Three Rondavels.
From many well-positioned vantage points one has a view of the 33 km long gorge. Accommodation is available at Forever Resorts Blyde Canyon
A public road runs along the long western boundary and there is easy access to beauty spots like The Pinnacle, God's Window with its kloof-framed view of the Lowveld, Bourke's Luck, and a lookout point pointing on The Three Rondavels.
These are unusually shaped hillocks that are also visible from the Aventura Blydepoort Resort, a short distance to the north. Anyone wanting to explore the upper level more carefully should take to the trails from this resort.
Where the swift-flowing Blyde River is joined by the Ohrigstad River from the west engineers built an unobtrusive dam wall in a bottleneck below the confluence to form the Blyde Dam.
Wildlife in the canyon area is as varied as the habitats. There are mountain reedbuck on the escarpment, dassies on the canyon walls, hippo and crocodile in the Blyde Dam, and impala, kudu, blue wildebeest, waterbuck and zebra on the Lowveld plain near the canyon's mouth.
At Bourke's Luck a network of pathways and footbridges allows visitors to explore the potholes (some of which are 6 m deep) at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur rivers.
The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. The bizarre swirl holes developed when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris.
Another attraction at Bourke's Luck is the visitors' centre, which has numerous interesting displays.
A 180 m circular trail, accessible to the physically disabled, starts at the visitors' centre and has as its main theme the lichens found in the area.