South Africa has many beautiful destinations. One of the big attractions in the Mpumalanga area is the Panorama Route. Here you will twist and turn around the beautiful mountainscapes and scenery while exploring the many stop-offs that include waterfalls, hiking trails, and many other fun activities. The entire route only takes about 90 minutes if you were to drive straight through, but that would take all the fun away!
From the many sights to see, I would suggest giving yourself a full day or two to see everything that you want to see.
We stayed at the wonderful Merry Pebbles Resort in Sabie (See our post here), and traveled up the route from there. Below is a list we put together of must see attractions while touring the Pano Route so you know what to expect with this adventurous trip!
Just a short drive from the center of Sabie sits these two falls nestled back in the forest. It’s a short and easy 5 minute hike with tall rock cliffs right off the trail and plenty of foliage surrounding the path. Don’t be fooled by the smaller waterfall closer to the start of the trail – keep hiking through the trail, you’ll wont want to miss the twins just up the stream.
Lone Creek Falls
In the same general area as Horseshoe falls, Lone Creek falls is another must see. Its towering cliffside and long falling waterfall is marvelous! It’s also a short 5ish minute hike to the bottom through a dense and beautiful forest. Once you arrive, you will step on to a small pebble beach that surrounds the pool of water just beneath the falls. This is a perfect place to lay out a blanket for a picnic or just relax for a while.
This little town takes you back to the old’n days! Its was the second established community in South Africa and most all of its buildings and past memorabilia remain in tact for us to step back in time! We spent the whole morning here and loved every minute of it! See our full review about Pilgrim’s Rest HERE!
The Lisbon is another magnificent and large waterfall just off the main road of the panorama route. You get a great viewpoint of the falls and mountain range from right behind the parking lot. There are also trails that run down the side of the mountain for additional perspectives.
Just past Lisbon is the Berlin Falls. Both are viewed from just past the parking lot on the other side of the curio stalls and have similar viewpoints. If you had to pick between the two due to short timeframe, I’d suggest seeing the Lisbon Falls!
The Pinnacle Rock
I love the variety of terrain and views on this route! The Pinnacle Rock obviously gets its name from its towering slim rock structure in-between the mountains. This can be viewed just a short walk away from the parking lot and is well worth the stop.
There’s a reason its called God’s Window. When you reach the lookout, you will be amazed by how much you can see. The view makes you feel like you are on top of the world looking down. To see this stunning view, you will have to hike up a few sets of stairs, concrete walking paths, a couple wood bridges, and through a lush forrest path. The tiring hike up to the view is completely worth it, though!
Bourke’s Luck Potholes
Bourke’s Luck Potholes is part of the Blyde River Nature Reserve and a wonderful place to visit. The entrance fee is a little more than the surrounding attractions, but you could easily spend the whole day here if you wanted to.
The walking paths take you over the deep divides in a few different sections where you can admire the creativity of nature. You can also hang out by the rivers rocky rapids and dip your feet in here and there to cool off on those hot sunny days.
Eat at Potluck Boskombuis
If you are hungry and in the area of the Potholes, there is an amazing off the grid restaurant in the bush just about 10 minutes before you reach the town. This is a MUST in my opinion, because the experience is unlike any restaurant you have been to. See our full review on Potluck Boskombuis HERE.
The Three Rondavels
The Panorama Route saves the best for last for sure. At the end of the stretch you will find yourself driving through the most amazing views of the trip with the Blyde River Canyon. The most popular stop here is the Three Rondavels, and trust me when I say it will just about take your breath away when you overlook this beauty. You’d think you would need to climb a treturous mountain for two days full of exhaustion and pain to reach something so magnificent. But lucky, its only another short 5 min walk over concreted paths from the parking lot 🙂
These are only a few of the great things to see and do while traveling down the Panorama Route. As you can see, there’s no lack of beauty and it’s an adventure that everyone in the Mpumalanga area should embark on if they have a chance.