Blyde River Canyon, South Africa – Visiting The Land That Time Forget

The Blyde River Canyon is a stunning nature reserve in Mpumalanga, South Africa. This spectacular canyon, also known as the Motlatse Canyon Provincial Nature Reserve, is located in the Greater Drakensberg escarpment and contains some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes.

At 26km long, the Blyde River Canyon is the 3rd largest in the world and is home to a lovely selection of lodges, guesthouses, waterfalls and panoramic views. While you’re staying there you can take part in a whole range of activities including hiking, white water rafting, hot air ballooning, fishing, biking and much more besides! Alternatively, you can just relax by the pool, enjoy the best of the local bushfood cuisine and sip drinks from the bar in one of the lodges.

The word ‘Blyde’ comes from Dutch, and actually means ‘happy’ – so the river is literally called the ‘Happy River’ or the ‘River of Joy’! The ideal getaway for families, solo travelers and honeymooning couples, there’s nowhere on Earth that compares to the amazing wild African beauty that you’ll find in the Blyde River Canyon.

How Do You Get To The Blyde River Canyon?

The easiest way to reach the remote Blyde River Canyon is to take an international flight to Johannesburg International Airport. The flight to Johannesburg takes 15 hours from New York City and about 11 hours from London.

Once you land in Johannesburg, you need to take a connecting flight to Nelspruit. From Nelspruit, you can drive the rest of the way to your accommodation in the Blyde River Canyon. Alternatively, if you don’t want to drive yourself, you can hire a taxi or join a bus tour to take you on the last leg of your journey.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Blyde River Canyon?

The ideal time to visit the Blyde River Canyon is between early March and mid-June or between late August and the start of November. During these months the humidity levels are relatively low, the temperatures are not too hot and there aren’t so many tourists around.

As a visitor to Blyde River Canyon, you should try to avoid holidays in July because not only can the area become a little overcrowded with tourists but prices are higher and the temperatures and humidity can get a little uncomfortable.

What Is There To Do In The Blyde River Canyon?

The Panorama Route.

The Panorama route is a scenic drive that takes you through some of the Blyde River Canyon’s best vistas and landmarks. You can either arrange a local tour to take you along the route or you can pack a picnic and drive yourself.

Along the Panorama Route, you’ll see numerous waterfalls crashing down into the canyon as you drive through one of the largest forested areas in South Africa. You can drive the entire length of the Blyde River Canyon to take on the Panorama Route as well as stop by local towns, including Sabie and Graskop.

The Lisbon Falls.

Located near the town of Graskop, the Lisbon Falls cascade down into the Blyde River from a heartstopping height of 94 meters! This is the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga and is a must-see during your time in this sanctuary of unrivaled natural beauty. The Lisbon Falls are on the Panorama Route so you can stop off along the way as you enjoy the drive or alternatively, you can take a local tour.

Join A Blyde River Safari.

One of the best ways to explore the area is to join a boat safari on the Blyde River. These lovely boat tours take you along the Blyde River Dam and past some of the most famous landmarks, including the Three Rondavels.

During the boat safari, you’ll be able to marvel at the numerous rock formations from the water level as your guide explains the geological and historical origins of the sites. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of freshwater crocodiles basking in the sun as well as other species of birds and insects that live nowhere else in the world!

Pinnacle Rock.

This remarkable lookout point is a 30-meter high rock formation that rises out of the canyon and affords you a complete panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Looking down after you’ve ascended the Pinnacle Rock will allow you to see for kilometers in each direction. So, whatever you do, don’t forget your camera when you visit Pinnacle Rock during your time in the Blyde River Canyon!

Have Lunch At The Kadishi Restaurant in Blyde Canyon.

If you’d like to have lunch with unforgettable views across the canyon, then Kadishi Restaurant is head and shoulders above its competition. With fantastic a la carte and buffet options on offer, the restaurant specializes in African and International barbecued cuisine.

The friendly waiting staff and the unbelievable views from the outdoor seating area make this one of the region’s favorite restaurants. Located just outside of Graskop, it’s easy to reach from anywhere in the Blyde River Canyon.

The Best Place To Stay In Blyde River Canyon.

The Blyde River Canyon Lodge.

This beautiful hidden gem is situated beside the waters of the Blyde River and has views of the famous Drakensberg Mountains. The lodge offers a truly magical African Bush experience with opportunities to go hot air ballooning, hiking, fishing and white water rafting!

The lodge has a gorgeous honeymoon suite, 6 twin and en suite rooms as well as free Wifi, Satellite TV and a refreshing outdoor swimming pool to relax in. The perfect place to base yourself during your explorations of the Blyde River Canyon, the lodge is run by experienced staff who will always go the extra mile to make sure that you get to do everything you planned to during your holiday.

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