Matibiti/Moromela/Leroro

The hills around the Bourke’s Luck Potholes run the length of the Blyde River Canyon and offer majestic views over the canyon and up into the mountains of Mariepskop and beyond. The region is not only home to the third largest canyon in the world but also to a proud people, descendants of the great Pedi chieftain Sekhukhune, and to the warriors of many famous skirmishes with rival clans as well as the Voortrekkers. Their uncommon appreciation of the beauty of their lands leaves the region studded with attractive villages and houses where many an ancient tradition still rules the day.

Top attractions

The Blyde River Canyon is known as the largest 'green canyon' in the world. Photo courtesy of Laurie Cohen

The Three Rondavels resemble the beehive-shaped huts built by the indigenous people of South Africa. Photo courtesy of Natalie Tapson

  • Vaalhoek Road – This gravel road follows the Blyde River as it meanders down the valley that runs from Pilgrim’s Rest to Bourke’s Luck. Watch out for the pylons which once brought power from Belvedere Power Station to Pilgrim’s Rest, giving it electric streetlights before London had them!
  • The Blyde River Canyon, at 26km long and 760m deep, is the world’s largest green canyon, lush with subtropical foliage and brimming with wildlife including all of South Africa’s primate species and an endemic Protea species (Blyde River Protea Protea laetans).
  • The Kadishi Waterfall, at 200m, is the second largest tufa waterfall on earth and due to its appearance, is known as The Weeping Face of Nature
  • The Belvedere Hike is a four- or five-hour steep climb down into the canyon to the old Belvidere Hydro-electric power station, and then back up again. A reasonable level of fitness is required but the trail is magnificently remote and rugged with rare eagle sightings, baboons and numerous lizards and snakes
  • The Three Rondavels is perhaps the most impressive spot from which to ponder the beauty and majesty of the canyon. With a glorious view to the north over the Swadini Dam and a clear view south down the canyon itself, suddenly everything falls into perspective
  • The Fanie Botha Trail is made up of a number of sections which allow it to be divided into anything from a two- to a five-day overnight trail. Superb scenery, excellent birdlife and some interesting and rare mammals such as klipspringer, rhebuck and oribi can be found on this trail
  • The Bourke’s Luck Potholes are most unusual cylindrical formations caused by the rivers’ swirling in the rocks where the Blyde and Treur Rivers converge. It is a dramatic and popular scene and worthy of a couple of hours of wandering!

Did you know?

The timber plantations in and around Pilgrim’s Rest were originally intended only for the supporting and blocking off of pit stopes in the gold mines. Soon the timber was more profitable than the gold and the timber industry became - and remains - the region’s biggest employer.

For more information

Panorama Information: +27 (0)13 767 1377

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