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Those who drive from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park enjoy a variety of landscapes and scenery along the way. The most beautiful stretch of this drive is known as the Panorama route. On the edge where the Hoogveld of Gauteng makes way for an open plain, high cliffs tower over green valleys with beautiful waterfalls and impressive rock formations.
There is a reason why this road is known as the Panorama route. The biggest attractions along the way are not the mountain bike trails or ziplines but the views. The most spectacular vistas can easily be seen in one day. Although there is no official start or end point, most people typically begin the drive at the town of Graskop and end the route at a lodge in Kruger National Park.
Near Graskop the ground seems to vanish and makes room for a sweeping African panorama: God’s Window. The view stretches over a prehistoric landscape towards Kruger National Park, devoid of any human intervention as far as the eye can see. The walking trail that leads to the viewpoint is overrun with native plants, ferns, trees and flowers. This ‘divine’ viewpoint is at its most beautiful just before sunset: it is worth heading to Graskop the night before you start the route.
Stop at Bourke’s Luck Potholes and take a short walk to admire a unique landscape. At the site where the Blyde and Treur rivers flow together, the roaring water has carved out huge potholes in the rocks. The surrounding landscape features fairytale bridges and waterfalls. The location is named after the gold digger Tom Bourke, who came here during the gold rush hoping to strike it rich. The only treasure he found was this beautiful nature region.
The ‘drie rondavels’ are round rock formations that resemble the traditional round African huts. However these huts would have been fit for giants as they tower 700 meters above the Blyde River Canyon. The pointy ‘roofs’ are covered in grass and bushes. Only the canyon itself can steal the limelight: this is one of the greenest and largest gorges in the world, around 700 metres deep. Peer into the depth of the canyon and you may spot some grey dots in the glistening water of the Blyde River: those are hippos.