Kruger National Park | Blyde River Canyon | Three Rondawels | Bourkes Luck | Gods Window | Pilgrims Rest | Dullstroom | Pretoria

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Tamboti to Pretoria

Via Blyde River Canyon
Distance 496 km
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Once past Swadini, we started to see the mountains on our left getting ever closer.

The drive through the J. G. Strijdom Tunnel and the Abel Erasmus Pass is spectacular with sheer gold and moss green mountains piled up against the sides of the pass. ...
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Posted on 30 May 2008 by Linx

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Linx Trip Reports: From Pretoria to Skukuza Camp | Olifants Camp | Tamboti Camp | Blydepoortl | Back to Kruger

Tamboti to Pretoria via the Blyde River Canyon

Orpen Gate to the Canyon This routes takes you past Klaserie, Hoedspruit, through the J.G. Strijdom Tunnel and the Abel Erasmus Pass. Take the R40 towards Graskop to enter the Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon The 25 km long Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and is the only true canyon in South Africa. It was formed by the Blyde River (River of Joy) cutting its way through the quartzite and dolomite mountains of the eastern rim of the Drakensberg escarpment.

More than 700m below the 370ha Blyde River Dam is visible towards the lower end of the canyon at the confluence of the Blyde and Ohrigstad Rivers. The Blyde Canyon nature reserve, which covers an an area of approximately 27 000ha, is internationally renowned for its natural splendour.

The Three Rondawels are seen along the R532 road past the Forever Resort Blydepoort, 41km north of Graskop. The parking area is about 3km from the R532. The three Rondawels (round thatched-roofed huts) are giant peaks of quartzite and shale with their sheer rock walls towering more than 700m above the surrounding landscape. These peaks are from left to right, Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto, named after the three most troublesome wives of Chief Maripe Mashile, who stands to their right (the flat-topped peak, Mapjaneng).

Lowveld View This viewpoint is about 5kms from the Three Rondawels towards Bourke's Luck Potholes. It offers stunning views of the Blyde River Canyon, the Blyde Dam and the Lowveld beyond.

Bourke's Luck Potholes are a natural water feature marking the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River, caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. The Potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Bourke, who staked a claim nearby. The visitors' centre details some of the interesting natural and socio-historic features and is the starting point of the 700m walk to the potholes. The area is wheelchair accessible and there is a touch trail for the visually impaired. There is an entrance fee to the Potholes

Berlin Falls are situated past the Potholes towards Graskop on your right. About 2km from the main road, turn left, pay the small entrance fee and park at the parking area. A short walk takes you to vantage points overlooking the 45m high Berlin Falls. Support the craft vendors from the local community.

God's Window so named for the panoramic view of the Lowveld (and in the distance the Kruger National Park and Mozambique) more than 900m below, is 9km north of Graskop on the R534 road. From the parking area there is a steep footpath along the edge of the escarpment leading to the actual view site. the nature reserve offers many sunbirds feasting on the nectar of the aloes are in bloom. Most of the viewpoints are wheelchair accessible.

Pilgrim's Rest is a flourishing village complete with sturdy brick houses, "sink" houses, church, shops, canteens, a newspaper and the renowned Royal Hotel. The village is a "living museum" dating back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold on the farm named Ponieskrantz.

Robbers Pass Over the Joubert Bridge in downtown Pilgrim's Rest, follow the R533 road to the top of Robbers Pass (12km from the village). This road, now an easy-going tarred highway, follows the same route that the stage coaches and transport wagons traveled to and from Pilgrim's Rest. Not only does the road to Robbers Pass offer some breathtaking views, it is also steeped in history.

Lydenburg is situated at the foothills of the Long Tom Pass on the Highveld escarpment of Mpumalanga, Lydenburg is a town steeped in history, visit the Voortrekker school and NG Church, both National Monuments.

Dullstroom is 2097m above sea level and is one of the highest towns in South Africa. It has a sub-alpine climate, and is well known for its cool, often misty atmosphere, lending it an air of the Scottish Highlands. With its moderate climate, crisp mountain air, and scenic beauty, Dullstroom lends itself perfectly to trout fishing.

From Dullstroom follow the R540 through Belfast and onto the N4 to Pretoria (About a two hour drive.

Read our first hand experience of this part of the trip at the top left corner of this page.