Panorama Route, South Africa: our favourite stops and must see sights!
The iconic Three Rondavels, beautiful viewpoints and stunning waterfalls make the Panorama Route a must see on any South Africa roadtrip. It runs along the eastern edge of the Drakensberg Mountains, the same mountains which are home to the Sani Pass, a mountainous pass which we were due to cross a few days later. We set out to explore en route to our safari search for the Big 5 in Sabi Sands on a gloomy and overcast South African day and fell in love with its rugged beauty and dramatic scenery: here’s a round up the best stops on the Panorama Route!
1 | The Three Rondavels
Look familiar?! The Three Rondavels are shaped identically to the round, thatched roof beehive huts that are a common sight across the African countries. Once known as The Chief and his Three Wives in a nod to a legendary chief who was successful in battle the three iconic mountain tops tower over Blyde River Canyon. The Three Rondavels are definitely a highlight of our South Africa road trip!
2 | Pinnacle Rock
The freestanding Pinnacle Rock is one of our favourite stops on The Panorama Route and is reminiscent of a scene from a sci-fi movie! The rock seems to spring up from the ground and the views through the canyon are magnificent. This stop shows the power of nature at its finest!
3 | The Waterfalls
The Panorama Route is lined with beautiful waterfalls powering over the rock edge and Mac Mac, Berlin, Lisbon and the Bridal Falls are the most famous. The beautifully clear waters in the pools at Mac Mac and Berlin are perfect for a quick dip on a hot day.
4 | Wonder View
The weather most definitely didn’t favour us at the highest viewpoint on the Panorama Route but the gloomy clouds and vast canyon made for a dramatic landscape. We caught brief glimpses of the Blyde River below when the clouds parted and it well was worth the wait!
5 | God’s Window
The views at God’s Window make it one of the most popular stops on the Panorama Route. On a clear day it’s possible to see Kruger National Park and even Mozambique and on a not so clear day there’s forests for as far as the eye can see. We met a school bus of South African school children at God’s Window and had great fun chatting and taking pics!
6 | Bourke’s Luck Potholes
The smooth potholes, carved out by decades and decades of river erosion, are more akin to a work of art than a product of nature! The potholes are formed where the swirling waters of the Treur and Blyde Rivers meet at the start of the Blyde River Canyon. It’s one of the most expensive stops on the Panorama Route so be sure to bring a picnic and make the most of the entrance fee!
Our picks: where to stay on the Panorama Route
We based ourselves in HazyView which is an excellent gateway for both the Panorama Route and Kruger National Park. Here’s our picks for budget, mid-range and luxury options which are excellent choices and well located.
Luxury: If you fancy splashing out while in Hazyview Highgrove House is a 5 star country retreat and, with only 16 guests, is an excellent boutique option.
Mid- range: We stayed in the Protea Hazyview and it was very reasonably priced with good food options. The sunset views were incredible from the poolside terrace!
Budget: The Idle and Wild Hotel is an excellent budget option set in traditional African beehive huts in the surrounds of a working farm.