One of South Africa's most scenic areas, the Panorama Route refers to the escarpment in Mpumalanga Province, where the Drakensberg mountains separate the Highveld from the Lowveld to the east. Studded with numerous waterfalls, spectacular viewpoints and geographical phenomena and a breathtaking canyon, it's easy to see why it's such a popular tourist destination.

Highlights
  • Blyde River Canyon
  • Bourke's Luck Potholes
  • God's Window
  • Three Rondavels
  • Mac Mac Falls
  • Berlin Falls
  • Lisbon Falls
  • Historical Pilgrim's Rest
  • The Pinnacle
  • Graskop Gorge Lift

The Panorama Route encompasses several scenic and picturesque villages, the most central of which is Graskop Village with its landmark Harrie's Pancakes and curio shop. It's also very accessible from other towns like Sabie, Hazyview, White River, Nelspruit and Hoedspruit.

The route passes an abundance of rivers, waterfalls, natural rock formations, viewpoints with endless vistas and the famous Blyde River Canyon.

Although it is possible to get a quick overview of the area in one day, we recommend you plan two or three nights en route so you can fully enjoy all the sights and attractions the Panorama Route has to offer.

Tell us about your preferences and we'll gladly recommend overnight accommodation as well as guided or self-drive options.

These are some of our favourites:

Graskop Gorge Lift

A recent addition to the Panorama Route, the Graskop Gorge Lift is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

A glass-fronted lift takes you some 50 m down a sheer cliff face to the valley floor in the forest below. Once there, you can explore further via a network of suspension bridges and walkways along forest trails and across mountain streams.

There are a few shops, craft markets and a restaurant and bar at the top.

Pilgrim's Rest

Central and well-known, this famous little town is a living museum and dates back to the pioneering days of the Gold Rush of the 19th Century. It's like stepping back in time.

There are numerous museums housed in corrugated iron houses, the infamous Robbers Pass, the ubiquitous Royal Hotel, the authentic recreation of the Digging Site just outside the town, the Church Bar, old newspaper offices and an assortment of tea rooms, stores and diners for you to discover.

Blyde River Canyon

This is the world's greenest canyon, third in size only to the Grand Canyon of America and the Fish River Canyon of Namibia.

The best place to view the canyon is from the Lowveld View site. At 1,219 m, it offers a breathtaking view over the Blyde River Canyon with its assorted rock formations like The Three Rondavels and forested valleys.

Looking down, you'll see the Blyde River snaking its way across the canyon floor to the wide expanse of the Blydepoort Dam.

Blyde River Canyon Helicopter Ride

Blyde River Canyon Helicopter Ride

(Image: Blyde River Canyon Lodge - South Africa)

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Over millennia, swirling whirlpools between the confluence of the Treur (meaning sad) and Blyde (meaning happy) Rivers have carved out a series of fascinating potholes in the underlying rockface.

A popular tourist spot, you can explore the area on foot or via sturdy overhead bridges overlooking the potholes below. There's a good information centre, picnic area and many local crafts on offer.

God's Window

Probably the most well-known of the viewpoints in the area, God's Window is perched on the edge of the escarpment with infinite views of the Lowveld below. On a clear day, you can see forever. Or, at least, all the way to Mozambique over 200 km away.

The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle is a freestanding rock monolith rising up from the thick surrounding bush like a sentinel. There are two viewpoints, each giving you different aspects of this geographical phenomenon.

The Pinnacle Panorama Route South Africa

The Pinnacle

(Image: Marie's Suedafrika Reisebericht)

Mac Mac Falls

A walkway past local curio stalls leads you to the lookout over these twin waterfalls which plummet 70 metres to the rock pool below. The noise is thunderous and can be heard at some distance.

The Mac Mac Pools are a few meters away from the lookout spot and they are ideal for a shady picnic stop and a refreshing dip in the bracing mountain waters.

Other waterfalls worth a visit include the Lisbon Falls (92 m and the area's highest) and the Berlin Falls (42 m).

The Echo Caves

These are just outside Ohrigstad. Said to be amongst the oldest caves in the world, they are a historical monument. It is said that the local people used one of the cave's stalactites as a drum to warn of approaching enemies. The caves extend for about 40 km and the sound travelled surprising distances, hence the name.

Other activities

  • Hiking trails
  • MTB bike trails
  • River rafting and boat cruises
  • Art galleries
  • Craft markets
  • Farm stores
  • Wine and craft beer shops
  • Assorted restaurants and dining options
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Helicopter trips
  • Long Tom Toboggan
  • Shangaan cultural village
  • Elephant interactions
  • Reptile parks
  • Animal rehabilitation centres

Please contact us and we'll gladly suggest an itinerary to suit your time, interests and budget.

Chestnut Country Lodge
Chestnut Country Lodge feature

Chestnut Country Lodge is located in the beautiful farming district of Kiepersol, 10 km from Hazyview in Mpumalanga and ideally situated for exploring the magnificent Panorama Route. The lodge is set in the heart of 50 hectares of pristine indigenous bushland and offers spacious and comfortable accommodation for 26 guests.

Casterbridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Casterbridge Hollow Entrance

Casterbridge Hollow boutique hotel is set on a former sweet mango farm and is Mpumalanga’s first “green hotel”, built from simple local materials with artwork sourced from local artists and artisans. It's superbly located - a 15-minute drive from KMIA (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport) and with easy access to both Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route - and an ideal base from which to explore this picturesque region.

Hippo Hollow Country Estate
Hippo Hollow Restaurant

Hippo Hollow Country Estate is conveniently located outside the town of Hazyview and only ten minutes drive away from the world-famous Kruger National Park. Nestled amongst lush indigenous gardens, this Lowveld retreat on the banks of the Sabie River will leave you feeling totally refreshed and relaxed. Hippo Hollow offers en-suite hotel rooms as well as self-catering chalets.

Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Perry's Bridge Hollow, Aerial View

Set in beautiful grounds and enjoying the shade of baobab, fig and acacia trees of the Colonial-style Perry’s Bridge Trading Post Centre, Perry’s Bridge Hollow is an elegant boutique hotel minutes away from the world-famous Kruger National Park and within a short drive to the Panorama Route and its many attractions in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province.

Pilgrim's Rest

A national monument, the village of Pilgrim's Rest is living testament to the early gold rush days in South Africa that shaped so much of the country's identity.

God's Window

Almost 2,000 m above sea level, the panoramic views over the Blyde River Canyon and the Lowveld from God's Window are spectacular. On a clear day, you might even be able to spot boats in Mozambique's Maputo Harbour.

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Casterbridge Hollow Entrance
Casterbridge Hollow

Casterbridge Hollow boutique hotel is set on a former sweet mango farm and is Mpumalanga’s first “green hotel”, built from simple local materials with artwork sourced from local artists and artisans. It's superbly located - a 15-minute drive from KMIA (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport) and with easy access to both Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route - and an ideal base from which to explore this picturesque region.

Hippo Hollow Restaurant
Hippo Hollow Country Estate

Hippo Hollow Country Estate is conveniently located outside the town of Hazyview and only ten minutes drive away from the world-famous Kruger National Park. Nestled amongst lush indigenous gardens, this Lowveld retreat on the banks of the Sabie River will leave you feeling totally refreshed and relaxed. Hippo Hollow offers en-suite hotel rooms as well as self-catering chalets.

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