Updated: Jun 28, 2019
By far the most breath-taking landscapes I ever had the chance set my eyes upon. The Panorama Route stretches between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park. Hang on to your seats, because this is going to be the most scenic ride of your life.
We had the chance to do this trip in both orders: Leaving from Joburg towards the Kruger, and leaving Phalaborwa to reach Joburg.
The 3rd biggest canyon in the world
Following the Grand Canyon (USA) and the Fish Canyon (Namibia), the Blyde River Canyon is the 3rd biggest Canyon in the whole world. And, by far the biggest green canyon!
Do not miss out on the beautiful boat dam tours. Spend an hour on the dam watching for hippos, crocodiles, monkeys and birds. Also, be amazed by the Gorilla / or / Skull Cave on the cliff!
Mother Nature at its best
Beside the incredible waterfalls, you will encounter three main stops between Graskop and the Dam:
Three Rondavels: unique rock formations taking their name from the local huts.
Bourke Luck Potholes: historical place where the first pilgrims had many adventures. The two main local rivers meet at this point to form vortex and slowly over centuries dig the famous potholes.
Echo Caves: Quite a distance from the main road, we actually never had the chance to visit these as I only spotted this site recently. But as a cave lover, I am surely visiting it the next time.
On the Panorama Route you will encounter several waterfall, each being very unique. Do not neglect one based on its height. They all deserve a quick stop ;)
BridalVeils Falls (146m)
MacMac Falls (65m)
Lisbon Falls (94m)
Berlin Falls (80m)
Where to sleep
North of the Route:
On our first trip we stayed at the Swadini Forever Resort. As usual, campings is South Africa are absolutely gorgeous with great facilities and amazing staff. They offer several activities (including the dam boat ride) at the reception.
South of the Route:
If you rather want to stay near Graskop, I advise you to stay at the Graskop Hotel. The staff is adorable and does everything to make you feel at home. Huge comfortable leather sofas you can sink in with a glass of amarula in your hand, at the corner of a dramatic fireplace. Their breakfast buffet is a big plus!
Where to eat
For a scenic sunset diner, head to the Graskop Gorges Lift. It is touristy. But hey, what a view!
For a quick snack, you will find everything you need at the Bourke Luck Potholes.
For the best pancakes of your life, head to Harry's Pancakes. Famous all over the country.
How to travel
Best way is to rent a car and take on this one-of-a-kind road trip. South Africa roads are absolutely great and this way, you can stop whenever you wish to.
If you really do not want to bother yourself driving, I saw some organised guided tours on viator and getyourguide.