Blyde River Canyon

This is one of South Africa's scenic wonders, the Blyde River Canyon. It is the third largest in the world after the Grand Canyon in America and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, but this depends heavily on one's definition of a canyon. By any definition it is one of the largest canyons on earth, unquestionably being the largest 'green canyon' due to its lush subtropical foliage. It has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet and is recognised as one of the great wonders of nature on the African continent. The canyon starts at Bourke's Luck Potholes and ends at the Three Rondavels.


The Blyde River Canyon is some 16 miles (26 kilometers) in length and is, on average around 2500 feet (800m) deep.

The Dam itself, when full, is at an altitude of 665m (2 182feet). The Canyon consists mostly of red sandstone, with the highest point being Mariepskop, which is 6 378 feet above sea level (1 944m) whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 1 840 feet (+- 560m) above sea level. This means that by comparison the Canyon is over 4 500 feet (about 1 400m) deep. 

At 200meters (660 ft), the Kadishi Tufa waterfall is the second tallest tufa waterfall on earth. A tufa waterfall is formed when water running over dolomite rock absorbs calcium, and deposits rock formations more rapidly than they erode the surrounding rock. In the case of the Kadishi Tufa fall, the formation that has been produced strikingly resembles a face which is crying profusely, and is thus sometimes known as 'the weeping face of nature'

Possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon is that of the “three Rondavels”, huge, round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people of Africa.

This canyon is part of the famous Panorama route which starts in the town of Graskop, and includes Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a number of waterfalls, the Pinnacle and God’s Window.

Wildlife in the canyon area is as varied as the habitats. There is mountain reedbuck on the escarpment, dassies on the canyon walls, hippo and crocodile in the Blyde Dam, and impala, kudu, blue wildebeest, waterbuck and zebra on the Lowveld plain near the canyon's mouth. The large diversity of wildlife includes numerous fish, and every primate species that may be seen in South Africa (including both Greater and Lesser Bush Babies, Vervet Monkeys and Samango Monkeys).

There are a large number of raptors, which   include species such as the Cape Vulture, Black Eagle, Crowned Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Gymnogene, Jackal Buzzard, White backed Vulture, Bald Ibis, and so we with the diversity of birdlife the list is endless.

The much scarce and sought after Narina Trogan, an endangered species can be found in this area as can the nearly extinct Tahita Falcon.

There are numerous lookout points available along the length of the canyon.


For more information please feel free to contact us at we can facilitate your arrangements, and take you on Guided Tour of Mpumalanga and the Blyde River Canyon.   

Transfers to and from your B & B, Guesthouse, Lodge or Hotel, should you not be staying with us at "Ebubeleni", can be arranged.


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Bourke's Luck Potholes Cheetah Breeding Project Echo Caves God's Window Graskop Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre Mpumalanga Province Panorama Route Panorama Waterfalls Pilgrim's Rest Shangana Cultural Village Three Rondavels
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