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!
Our picks: where to stay on the Panorama Route
We based ourselves in HazyView which is an excellent gateway for exploring both the Panorama Route and Kruger National Park. it has good options for fuel and supplies before exploring the area. Here’s our picks for the best hotels which are excellent choices and well located.
- Protea Hazyview: We stayed in the Protea Hazyview and it was very reasonably priced with good food options. The sunset views out over the countryside were incredible from the poolside terrace! – Click here for prices!
- Bambuu Lakeside Lodge – Located just outside Hazyview is this oasis in the wilderness. Set on a lake this lakeside hotel isthe perfect place to chill our afger a long day exploring the Panorama route – Click here for prices!
- Cuckoo Ridge Country Retreat: – Another beautiful country retreat located close to Hazyview. – Click here for prices now!
- Highgrove House: If you fancy some luxury while in Hazyview Highgrove House is a 5 star country retreat and, with only 16 guests, is an excellent boutique option and a very intimate setting – Click here for prices now!
Renting a Car in South Africa
Renting a car in South Africa is the best way to explore the country and the Panorama Route, plus driving is relatively easy in the country (check out our tips on driving a rental car in South Africa). Having your own car gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace a see place that are simply not possible on group tours or public transport.
We’re huge fans of road trips and have driven rental cars in over 40 countries so we have a lot of experience renting cars in foreign countries. Book your car now with RentalCars.com, where you will find the best rental car prices
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!