Beginner’s Guide to the Panorama Route
The Panorama Route is a scenic road in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. It starts at the foot of the Long Tom Pass near Lyndenberg and ends where Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve rises into the Drakensberg Mountains. The route is centred around the Blyde River Canyon – the third largest canyon in the world and one of the largest forested areas in South Africa. Here’s our helpful beginner’s Panorama Route guide.
Where to stay
It’s best to base yourself in Graskop, Hazyview or White River. From any of these destinations, you can easily do day trips and the entire Panorama Route is on your doorstep. The Phabeni Gate to Kruger National Park is also just a ten minute drive from Hazyview.
Perry’s Bridge Hollow in Hazyview was recently named in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Traveller’s Choice Hotels in South Africa. Our rooms are spacious and stylish, overlooking lush subtropical gardens and sparkling swimming pools.
The atmosphere is family-friendly, laid-back and relaxed and guests enjoy access to our on-site restaurant, Kuka Cafe.
Where to first?
The little town of Graskop is considered the gateway to the Panorama Route and will likely be your first stop along the Panorama Route.
Graskop’s history can be traced back to 1837 and today it operates mostly as a tourist destination. The town is close to natural landmarks such as God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Pit Stops along the Panorama Route
Graskop Gorge Glass Lift
The Graskop Gorge glass lift was officially opened in August 2018. It is the latest and most innovative tourism development in Mpumalanga, offering a look into the heart of the region’s forested wonderlands.
The lift offers an almost 360 degree view of the gorge as you descend 51m down a cliff face. Once you’ve descended, an extensive network of elevated walkways, suspension bridges and interactive exhibits leads you along a forest trail.
The trail offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural and pristine environment of the Afromontane forest of Mpumalanga.
The Big Swing
If you’re interested in white knuckle adventures, the Big Swing is a 68m freefall at 180km/h in under 3 seconds on one of the world’s highest Cable Gorge Swings.
If the Big Swing doesn’t provide enough adrenaline, you can also fly across the gorge on a 135m High-wire “Foefie Slide” and view the breathtaking Graskop Falls from the air.
Perhaps what the Panorama Route is most known for is its stunning waterfalls. Most of these waterfalls fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial parks boards. They are open to the public, and many are associated with hiking trails.
There are at least three notable waterfalls to be seen between Graskop and Blyde River Canyon – namely, Berlin Falls, Lisbon Falls and Mac Mac Falls.
The Mac Mac Falls are particularly picturesque and there are shady picnic tables and grassy lawns to spread out and enjoy a picnic.
The Famous Trio
An experience of the Panorama Route isn’t truly complete unless you encounter three famous viewing spots – The Pinnacle Rock, God’s Window and Three Rondavels. Making your way north from Graskop, you’ll pass all three.
Pinnacle Rock offers jarring views of towering quartzite rock formations and sprawling forests below. On a clear day you can see for miles.
God’s Window is the part of Blyde River Canyon that people come to see from all around the world. There are several viewing points that offer endless views of sky, mountains and green landscapes.
For many, the Three Rondavels is the final stop on a tour of the Panorama Route. The ‘rondavels’ are three well known gigantic peaks of quartzite and shale.
They tower more than 700m above the surrounding landscape and were interestingly named after the three troublesome wives of Chief Maripi Mashile – Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto. .
If you’re visiting Mpumalanga, the Panorama Route should definitely be added to your South African travel bucket list. For more accommodation, information or recommendations please contact our friendly reservations team at Perry’s Bridge Hollow!