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Situated in the Drakensberg escarpment region of eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa, the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is one of the most beautiful and exotic nature reserves in the world. Featuring a panoramic view and famous for its scenic waterfalls, it incorporates beautiful lush greenery that simply astounds the onlooker. Blessed with rich and unique biodiversity, the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is home to some of the most distinct species of birds, animals and vegetation on Earth.

Best time to visit Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Best time to visit Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

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It is advisable to avoid the July holidays as things tend to get a little busy during that time. Considering the weather, the best time to visit the nature reserve is from March to Mid-June and from August to November. During this time the place has an average temperature and humidity making it ideal for visitors to thoroughly enjoy their vacation.

How to reach Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Natural Beauty

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The fastest way to get to the canyon is by air. Take a flight to Johannesburg International Airport, and from there take a connecting flight to Nelspruit. Upon reaching to Nelspruit, enjoy the onward journey via road. You can rent a car, taking the self-drive route or hire a taxi. You can also opt for the Baz Bus Tour which takes you to the reserve via the tarred road, the Panorama Route. The route is one of country’s most beautiful and scenic routes that lets you explore the Mpumalanga highlands. Enjoy the incredible view of grasslands, rugged mountains, and breathtaking natural beauty.

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7 Must-visit Places in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

There is nothing that you can skip visiting in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. Visiting each one of these spectacular places will let you experience the most beautiful works of nature. Some of the attractions in this region are listed here:

1. Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

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Third largest in the world and second deepest canyon in Africa, the river is also known as the “river of joy”. The canyon is famous for its rich flora and fauna and lucky visitors can even spot a pair of Taita Falcons, one of the rarest bird species in the world. The 800 meters high winding valley has provided backpackers and hiking enthusiasts a trekking path.

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2. Pinnacle Rock

Pinnacle Rock view

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A view as good as God’s Window but minus the crowd, this is the ultimate place to find solace. The rock looks similar to a high rise 30-metre needle kissing the sky. As you look down, you will be awestruck by the view of the valley that runs for kilometers. The trekking path will take you through lush green forest to reach a point from where you can gaze and marvel at nature’s beauty.

3. Panorama Route

Panorama Route view

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The best way to discover the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, this route is famous for its beautiful and picturesque landscapes and Mpumalanga highlands. The route has been made famous due to its proximity to the Kruger National Park.

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4. Lisbon Falls & Berlin Falls

Waterfall view

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Blyde River Canyon is blessed with some of the most beautiful waterfalls, among which these two stand as the most prominent ones. Flowing from a sky kissing height, situated among lush greenery, these waterfalls will simply take your breath away.

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5. Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

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The potholes are situated near the reserve’s western boundary and have resulted from water erosion. With walkways & bridges for visitors, these are famous for their strange cylindrical structures and hold many great spots to take pictures. The smooth red and yellow rocks are simply a great sight to behold and contrast with the dark pools. They are named after the gold digger, Tom Burke, who however didn’t find any gold. The popularity of these potholes has led to an increasing number of hiking trails in this area. These natural rock sculptures have been recognized as country’s most amazing geological formations.

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6. Three Rondavels

Three Rondavels

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Mushrooming from the wall of Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels are the famous three towers of dolomite rock. The locals call the Three Rondavels as the Chief and his Three Wives, where the flat-top peak is the chief. The three wives in descending order are Maseroto, Mogalakwe, and Magabolle. The view from here is simply breathtaking. Make sure to hike early.

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7. God’s Window

God’s Window

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One of the most famous viewpoints in the nature reserve, this a highlight along the Panorama Route. One of the most scenic points, the view definitely stands up to its name. On a clear day, one is able to see the famous Kruger National Park towards the Lebombo Mountains. The Lowveld Viewpoint is also a great spot and offers picturesque beauty similar to that of God’s Window.

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Top 4 Accomodations in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Surrounded by picturesque natural beauty, quaint villages and a beautiful canyon, the nature reserve is a heaven to stay, relax and rejuvenate. There are a number of accommodation options ranging from lodges to exotic resorts, there is a place for every traveler and budget:

1. Blyde River Canyon Lodge

Blyde River Canyon Lodge

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This 4-star lodge comprises of beautiful luxury bedrooms with the best amenities to make your vacations relaxing and refreshing. Featuring elegantly decorated rooms, the lodge also offers swimming pool and gardens with barbecue area. The lodge also has an 80-hectare botanical reserve, rich in wildlife, situated right at the entrance of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The frequent visitors to this lodge include Zebras.

2. Blyde River Wilderness Lodge

Blyde River Wilderness Lodge

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Situated on the banks of the Blyde River, the resort is set in a private reserve with lush Jackalberry and Fig Trees. Staying options include luxury rooms, standard rondavels and spacious self-catering rondavels including self-catering cottages.

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3. Bona Intaba Game Lodge

Bona Intaba Game Lodge

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Again spoiling the traveler with choices, here is another private reserve lodge within the Blyde River Canyon. The accommodation capacity is although limited to only four en-suite African theme bedrooms. The major attraction here is a unique waterhole area that gives guests a chance to observe the regular occurrence of giraffe and zebra. A safari-style lap can also be spotted and guests can also enjoy bonfire in evenings.

4. Umvangati House


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Located right in the heart of the Blyde River Canyon, the house offers you beautiful views of mountains. Go for a private suite and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on the deck. This house is always in high demand by travelers owing to its location and hospitality. A nature lover’s paradise, home to exotic animals, filled with fun and adventurous activities, it’s the perfect place to get in touch with peace and serenity.

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The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve has something for everyone. This nature’s wonderland lets you indulge in a plethora of activities. Right from hiking, horse riding and white water rafting to hot-air ballooning, fly-fishing and biking, you can experience it all. You’ll wonder how you survived so long without a visit to this scenic place. Once in a lifetime, you must tour this nature reserve on your trip to South Africa and learn about the world’s most beautiful natural wonders.

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Category: National Parks, South Africa

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