Our students are so lucky to work in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, with views of the stunning sandstone cliffs every single day. Each day the escarpment takes on a completely different façade as the sun hits the cliffs and picks out the variety of colours.
Down at the bottom is one thing, but the view from the top is something else. We endeavour to take all our Afri-Campus students on a day trip through the “Panorama Route”. Here, we take in some of the stunning sights of the Blyde River Canyon from the top. The views over the rugged mountains are truly breath-taking.
Blyde’s Best Bits
Our first stop is the “The Three Rondavels” which offers possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon. Huge round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels stand some 700m above the surrounding landscape. These peaks are named after the three most troublesome wives of Chief Maripi Mashile, Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.
Bourke’s Luck potholes are named after a gold digger, Tom Burke, who staked a claim nearby. Unfortunately for him, his claim did not produce a single ounce of gold. He did however, correctly predict that large gold deposits would be found in the area. Through countless years swirling whirlpools have caused waterborne sand and rock to erode huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.
God’s Window is a scenic vantage point that the guide books cannot prepare you for. The majestic cliffs plunge down 700m. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see over the famous Kruger National Park towards the Lebombo Mountains on South Africa’s border with Mozambique.
Additional attractions include the many waterfalls on the route; Lisbon, Berlin and Mac Mac are equally as beautiful. The Pinnacle Rock, a tower-like freestanding quartzite buttress also cannot be missed. She rises 30 m above the dense indigenous forest is a natural beauty and evokes a sense of wonderment.
For the thrill seekers
For those feeling brave, there is the opportunity to do “The Big Swing”. Experience the adrenaline of a 68 metre free-fall at 180 km/h in under 3 seconds on one of the world’s highest cable gorge swings! It is not for the feint hearted but a whole lot of fun for the thrill seekers. Wisely, we tend to take the students to this before lunch.
Graskop Town is an absolute must. Lunch at the world famous Harrie’s Pancakes is always welcome after a long morning of sight-seeing and taking in the Blyde’s scenic splendour. Street vendors sell the most delicious macadamia nuts and there is a huge choice of biltong (dried meat, a little like beef jerky). On a recent trip, students and I discovered Graskop’s “love bites” biltong – biltong drenched in a fiery peri-peri sauce. It was a little bit of a life changer for me and my spice junky palate. It’s worth the trip back, just for that!
Blyde means ‘happy’ in Dutch, a name derived from the early voortrekkers. Blyde certainly is an enchanting and happy must-do for Afri-Campus students. Each excursion through the rugged Drakensberg is never disappointing.
Join us for a ‘happy’ day trip along the Panorama Route.