Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga

by Jane Sophia
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga

What can you see in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa.

Know about the beautiful Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in South Africa, what to see there and how to reach this top natural attraction. In addition, know about the places to stay around the Blyde River Canyon nature Reserve and what you can eat there.

South Africa, God’s own country in the world has too many national parks, game reserves and nature reserves.

If you are not well informed, you may end up seeing everything but still nothing in South Africa.

This blog will help you to know about the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, one of the must-see river canyons in the world.

Even the Grand Canyon is a river canyon formed by millenniums of erosion by Colorado River.

Canyons are awesome to look at. They pose an imposing look when looked down the gorge from the top of a cliff.

Generally, the area surrounding the canyons looks barren. It is hot because of the radiation by the rocks. The river that flows through a canyon is way down below to cool the upper surface.

What Can You See in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

 Let us see what can you see in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa.

Where is Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve located?

The exact place is Mpumalanga. It lies between Johannesburg city and Kruger National Park, South Africa. Another name of the location of the Blyde River Canyon is Drakensberg Escarpment.

How to reach the Blyde River Canyon?

The nearest airport is Nelspruit and it is located at about 160 km from the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.

For your information, Nelspruit is an old name and its new Africanized name is Mbombela. It is also the capital of Mpumalanga, one of the provinces of South Africa.

From Nelspruit, you are to hire a cab and tell the driver to go via the Panorama Route, a very scenic route with great views. It is a region of rugged mountains, sweeping views, and sudden ravines.

Distance from Kruger National Park

South Africa’s most visited game reserve is the Kruger National Park, famous for exciting animal safaris. The real meaning of African Safari is to go through the Kruger National Park and spot the real wild animals of Africa.

From Kruger National Park, our destination- Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is located only 70 km away.

As you drive through the Panorama Route, the Blyde River Canyon begins to appear in front of you, 16 km before your final destination.

The canyon is approximately a whopping 2600 feet deep!

Which rivers are responsible for the formation of the Blyde River Canyon?

  • Blyde River
  • Treur River

What are all the places to see in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve?

  1. The three Massifs of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Massif is a group of mountains and that is not to be confused with a mountain range where a single mountain runs through a lengthy area.

In the Blyde River Canyon Reserve, there are 3 massifs namely:

  • Mogologolo
  • Hebronberg
  • Mariepskop
  1. God’s Window

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve Gods window

Oh My God! This is simply breathtaking! It looks as if you have come to the edge of the earth. The view from this point suggests so-isn’t it? It is rightly named “God’s Window”. Oh, what a name!

God’s Window is the first tourist landmark you will be taken to by the Blyde River Canyon’s guided tour operators because since this is the most beautiful spot in the Nature Reserve, they know how to impress you so that you will be eager to extend your stay in Nelspruit.

When you look down at the ravine, you won’t be able to see its bottom because it is located way deep below at 2300 feet. The expanse all around God’s Window will be gasping.

  1. Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Potholes are usually formed at the spot where the water falls from a waterfall. Due to incessant pounding, the place is deepened and looks like pothole to anyone entering the water.

Potholes’ alternative name is ‘plunge pool.

The waterfall that you see in the video above is fed by the Treur River.

  1. Three Rondavels

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve Three Rondavels

At the outset, you should know what a rondavel is? It is nothing but a house of a native African.

Look at this Randavel.

Blyde River Canyon Nature ReserveRandavel

Now you know why the first image above is called “Three Randavel” because each mountain looks like a Rondavel.

The Three Rondavels are popular tourist attractions in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.

  1. Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation

This rehabilitation center located in the vicinity of Drakensberg is not only intended for wildlife but it is a place for the visitors to South Africa to relax and release all their stresses and tension.

Various types of accommodations are offered with bed and bread. Twice a day, a forest safari is offered with a guide.

  1. Echo Caves

These pre-historic caves are located at about 110 km from the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve Echo Caves

As you accompany your tour guide, he will point out a few tall chambers inside the cave that carry their own names such as:

  • Samson chamber
  • Madonna Chamber
  • Ostrich
  • Rhino Horn

If you tap the wall of these eerie chambers with some object, the echo distinctly heard throughout the caves that run up to 40 km!

  1. Khamai Reptile Park

What can you see in a reptile park near the Blyde River Canyon? Weird looking spiders, chameleons, crocodiles, and snakes of several species will capture attention instantly while it will scare away some onlookers.

The Khamai Reptile Park housed only snakes before and was known as Swadini Snake Park.

Much later, the caretakers of the snake park embraced numerous reptiles and re-christened the sanctuary.

If only you don’t mind traveling 55 km from the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, you will be dumbfounded to see scary-looking reptiles and amphibians that include:

  • Mozambique Spitting Cobra- Mozambique Spitting Cobra
  • Black Mamba- Black Mamba
  • Deadly scorpions
  • Baboon spiders- Baboon spiders
  • Water Lizards-
  1. Blyde Dam Boat Cruise

Oh, don’t miss this adventure when you go to Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. It is located very close to Khamai Reptile Park.

During your exciting river cruise, you will see a gorgeous waterfall called Kadishi Tufa waterfall, crocodiles gazing at you and even a herd of hippos.

  1. Hot air balloon ride in Hoedspruit

How about going up in the air over the Drakensberg and enjoying a breathtaking aerial view of Panorama Route?

Hoedspruit is near Kruger National Park but located only about 50 km from your Blyde River Canyon base.

This hot air balloon safari will be the ultimate thriller during your trip to South Africa.

  1. Birds of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Don’t entertain any thought of giving a miss to watching the birds of South Africa. Birds living along the banks of Blyde River are rare to spot in other parts of South Africa.

  • African Finfoot
  • Emerald Cuckoo Emerald Cuckoo
  • Red-backed Mannikin Red-backed Mannikin
  • Purple-crested Turaco-Purple-crested Turaco

What a magnificent bird!

  • Malachite Sunbird –Malachite Sunbird

You can spot several species of eagle, falcons, and vultures in the Blyde River Canyon Reserve.

  • African Barrier Hawk
  • Snake Eagle
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • Lanner Falcon

Mammals of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

  • Mountain Reedbuck-
  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Waterbuck

All these three mammals belong to the deer species.

  • Blue Wildebeest-
  • Hippo
  • Zebra

Where can you stay in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve?

Hotels and rustic lodges are available around the small villages that surround the Blyde River Canyon and also at the entrance to the nature reserve.

Use the following keywords to search for places to stay in Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve:

  • Blyde River Canyon Lodge
  • Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
  • Kimba House at Blyde River
  • Swadini Resort
  • Umvangati House

What can you eat in South African wilderness parks?

Remember, South African cuisine is absolutely unique. It doesn’t match Chinese, American, and Mexican cuisines.

To some extent, you can say the taste is similar to Indian cuisine though the names of some of the most popular foods won’t resemble the names of Indian meat dishes.

  • Boerewors


Yes, it is a sausage indeed with a different shape. It made of either lamb or beef meat, finely minced.

  • Mealie

A kind of porridge made of corn. This is a poor man’s staple in the jungles of South Africa.

  • Vetkoek


It looks like a burger stuffed with vegetables and green peas. I wonder whether meat chunks are also stuffed inside the doughnut.

  • Potjiekos


It is a stew using seasonal vegetables and all-season meat (beef). It seems it is a kind of barbecue.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa; what a true African experience! The wildlife, rivers, waterfalls, rustic lodges, and authentic Africa food enjoyed at this great South African nature reserve will make you want more of it.

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1 comment

[email protected] March 4, 2020 - 7:46 am

Truly amazing. Thanks for the informative post.


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