Exploring the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga, which translates to “the place where the sun rises” in Swati, is a province in South Africa known for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscapes. One of the most popular tourist destinations in this province is the Panorama Route, a scenic road that winds through the majestic Drakensberg Mountains and offers stunning views of canyons, waterfalls, and lush forests. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the Panorama Route and all the must-see attractions it has to offer.

1. The History of the Panorama Route
The Panorama Route was first established in the late 1800s as a trade route between the towns of Lydenburg and Delagoa Bay (now known as Maputo). It was later used as a transport route for gold mining activities in the area. In the 1920s, the road was upgraded and became a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Mpumalanga. Today, the Panorama Route is a well-maintained road that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

2. God’s Window
One of the most iconic stops on the Panorama Route is God’s Window, a viewpoint situated 1,727 meters above sea level. It offers a panoramic view of the Lowveld and the Blyde River Canyon, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the Panorama Route. It is believed that the name God’s Window was given to this viewpoint because of the breathtaking views that make you feel like you are looking out of a window in the heavens. On a clear day, you can see as far as Mozambique from this viewpoint.

3. The Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon, also known as the Motlatse Canyon, is the third-largest canyon in the world and the largest “green” canyon due to its lush vegetation. This natural wonder is 26 kilometers long and 800 meters deep, offering visitors a truly unforgettable sightseeing experience. One of the highlights of the canyon is the Three Rondavels, three round rock formations that resemble traditional African huts. Another popular attraction is the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a series of cylindrical rock formations formed by the constant swirling of water.

4. Waterfalls
The Panorama Route is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in South Africa. The most famous of these is the Lisbon Falls, which has a drop of 94 meters and is the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga. The Berlin Falls and the Mac Mac Falls are also worth a visit, offering visitors the opportunity to swim in the natural pools at the base of the falls. The Mac Mac Falls also has a rich history, as it was the site of a gold rush in the 1870s.

5. The Endangered Species Centre
For animal lovers, a visit to the Endangered Species Centre is a must. This center is dedicated to the conservation and breeding of endangered species, such as the cheetah, African wild dog, and vultures. Visitors can take a guided tour and learn about the importance of these animals and the efforts being made to protect them. The center also has a cheetah run, where visitors can watch these magnificent creatures reach top speeds.

6. Cultural Experiences
In addition to its natural wonders, the Panorama Route also offers visitors a chance to experience the rich culture and traditions of the local communities. The Shangana Cultural Village is a popular stop, where visitors can learn about the Shangaan people and their way of life. The village also offers traditional dance performances, craft demonstrations, and an opportunity to taste traditional food.

7. Accommodation Options
The Panorama Route has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. From luxury lodges to budget-friendly European backpacking routes guesthouses, there is something for everyone. For a unique experience, you can also stay in a traditional rondavel (round hut) in one of the many cultural villages along the route. Camping and self-catering options are also available for those who prefer a more adventurous approach.

In conclusion, the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and cultural diversity of South Africa. With its breathtaking views, rich history, and diverse attractions, it is no wonder that this route is a popular choice among tourists. So, if you are planning a trip to South Africa, make sure to add the Panorama Route to your itinerary for an unforgettable experience.