South Africa – The Panoramic Route

Its been a while since my last South Africa post, I thought I would give you all a break! One thing that amazed me most about South Africa was it’s ever changing landscape, there is just so much to see that its impossible to do it all in one trip. Leaving our lodge on the edge of Kruger we travelled to Hazyview which is further south but still on the edge of Kruger and used by many people as their base for safaris. We used Hazyview and our lovely hotel, the Hippo Hollow as a base to explore the region and of course the world famous Panoramic route.

We had been blessed up to this point with great weather, however that all changed the morning we were due to head out onto the Panoramic Route – the heavens opened and it didn’t look like it was going to stop!!

As we left Hazyview behind and wound our way around the hills and climbed higher, even through the rain soaked windows we could see the amazing scenery outside – deep valleys, thick forests and stunning waterfalls, we were a long way from the flat savannahs we had experienced while on safari. On a clear sunny day this would have been a photographers paradise.

Our first stop was Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world. As we stepped out of the bus to make the short walk to the viewing areas it suddenly stopped raining, we couldn’t believe it! As you approach the viewing areas the sheer vastness of the canyon becomes apparent, its beautiful. You feel like you are not in the modern world but this is the landscape for some prehistoric era. This was certainly the place to just sit on a rock and take in the majesty of your surroundings.

Panoramic of Blyde River Canyon - the rain stopped just long enough to get a couple of photos in

Panoramic of Blyde River Canyon – the rain stopped just long enough to get a couple of photos in

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

This is of course the ideal place for great photos, and we ladies did not hesitate to get some posed photos in while the sun was trying to come out.

Selfies at Blyde River Canyon, of course!

Selfies at Blyde River Canyon, of course!

Now of course the Canyon is stunning but it’s not the only stopping spot on the Panoramic Route. Our next call was Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Now I had no idea what we were going to see when I heard the name, to me potholes are the things in the road that cause all sorts of trouble! However when you see these potholes you are in awe of the sheer power that water has to shape rock. The power of the river has over centuries formed amazing rock formations and pools in the striking red rock.

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Now I would have loved to have filled this blog with fabulous panoramic views of the valleys and scenery we passed but unfortunately the rain came back and the rest of my photos are pretty grey and miserable.  The weather got so bad that we had to skip Gods Window! The Panoramic Route is definitely worth a visit as it gives you a whole different view on the country but also lets you delve into its history and see what life was like back during the days of the prospectors and gold rush.

The chance to go on an elephant ride - amazing!

The chance to go on an elephant ride – amazing!

While we were in Hazyview we got the opportunity to go on an elephant experience with Elephant Whispers. I have had the amazing chance to ride elephants and play with them before but in Asia, so the chance to get up close to an African elephant was a definite must. We spent about an hour learning about the elephants, getting to feed them, touch them ( the back of their ears are SO warm and soft!), it was truly unique. After that we went for a short ride, not the best I have done, but the first timers loved it.

Standing between an elephants legs.... not in the least bit scary!

Standing between an elephants legs…. not in the least bit scary!

One thing that we all enjoyed was the Boma Dinner that our hotel put on. We had an amazing traditional dance show which was so high energy, I don’t know how they kept going for so long! I know it’s quite a ‘tourist’ thing to do, but it was really fun!

Boma Dinner - traditional South African dancing and music- the energy these dancers have is amazing!

Boma Dinner – traditional South African dancing and music- the energy these dancers have is amazing!

Panoramic Route - South Africa

Fabulous dancing!

It’s such a shame we had such terrible weather the day we were due to drive the Panoramic Route but we still got to see some of it and it did not disappoint. Spectacular scenery that just made me further fall in love with South Africa. Having Hazyview as a base was great as we got to further explore and enjoy a bit of the culture. We were here for three nights which was enough time as we had already done our safari. Next and final stop on the adventure was Cape Town!

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