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The Panorama Route – South Africa’s Best Road Trip



On route to the Kruger National Park, in the underrated but magnificent province of Mpumalanga, is the Panorama Route.

Mpumalanga translates to ‘the land of the rising sun’ and there is something magical about this spot. It is the first place the sun hits each morning in South Africa. Winding through its dense green forests, striking rock formations and majestic waterfalls, the Panorama Route is arguably South Africa’s most beautiful road trip.

If you’re planning a trip to Kruger National Park, consider taking your time getting there and enjoying the magic of this spectacularly scenic drive.

Here are a few noteworthy spots along the route:

1. Harrie’s Pancakes

Started by Harrie in 1986, Harrie’s Pancakes is the perfect place to begin your road trip. With options to satisfy both the sweet and savoury tooth, try the Milk Tart Custard or the Bobotie pancakes for a South African treat.

Mpumalanga - Panorama Route - Harries Pancakes

2. Long Tom Pass

A road between the towns of Lydenburg and Sabie, the Long Tom Pass is a scenic drive with beautiful mountain views, swirling mists and endless green forest. An exciting drive that gives you a look into the breathtaking, striking landscape of Mpumalanga.  

Mpumalanga - Panorama Route - Long Tom Pass

3. Waterfalls

The Panorama Route has an abundance of waterfalls. In fact, Mpumalanga is home to South Africa’s highest concentration of waterfalls. Once over the Long Tom Pass and in Sabie, there are almost ten in the immediate area. Lone Creek Falls has been declared a National Monument and is only 9km (5.6 miles) from Sabie and a short walk through the forest.

If you’re in the mood for a swim, the Mac Mac Pools and Falls make for the perfect spot. The pools are natural rock pools formed by a fast-flowing stream. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a dip in the natural, cool waters. The deepest pool can get busy, but if you a further upstream you’ll find some smaller, less crowded pools. A short walk will take you to a viewing deck for the magnificent Mac Mac Falls.  The thunderous sound of water crashing down the spectacular rock face is a sight that should not be missed.

4. Pilgrim’s Rest

If you’re a bit of a History nut or have always had the desire to time travel, Pilgrim’s Rest should definitely be on your list. Pilgrim’s Rest dates back to the late 1800s and has been preserved in the gold-rush era style.  It’s a true blast from the past and has carefully been preserved to give you a true taste of its era. It is known as one of South Africa’s most beautiful towns.

Panorama Route-Pilgrims Rest

5. Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon is the most famous stop on the Panorama Route. Expect breathtaking views, spectacular mountains, luscious hikes and waterfalls. It is the largest vegetated canyon in the world and is third in size only to the Grand Canyon and the Fish River Canyon. If you’re after truly magnificent views, avoid the crowds and hike through the rainforest for views above the clouds. The natural wonders worth seeing include:

  •   The Bourke’s Luck Potholes
  •   The Three Rondavels
  •   Pinnacle Rock
  •   God’s Window

Looking for more reading?

God’s Window – South Africa’s Best View

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