History of the Blyde River Canyon:
The Ancient Super Continent Gondwanaland broke apart approximately 200 Million years ago, tearing Madagascar and Antarctica away from Africa. The broken edge of the Continent titled up due to the weight of the vast shallow sea that stretched westwards towards Pretoria. This ancient sea left behind layers, upon layers of dolomite and sandstone that became sediments over millions of years. What was once a deep trench under the sea became a canyon on land.
Blyde means 'glad' or 'happy' in Dutch, it was named this by the Voortrekkers in 1844, when Hendrik Potgieter and others returned safely from Delagoa Bay.
Blyde River Canyon is a site of Natural Phenomena. It is the largest Green Canyon in the world and it stretches over 26 Kilometres and is over 800 meters deep. The Blyde River Canyon is located in Mpumalanga on the northern parts of the Drakensberg Escarpment. There are many treasures within the canyon like:
- The Three Rondavels These rondavels have had many names like the Three Sisters and The Chief and his Three Wives, which is a name given by the indigenous people who were living in that area.
- Kadishi Tufa Waterfalls
Another treasure in the area is these waterfalls, which are the second highest Tufa waterfalls in the world. The Kadishi Tufa Waterfalls are known as the 'weeping face of nature' due to the waterfall personifying a 'weeping' face.
- The Pinnacle
Admire a naturally carved, free-standing rock buttress at The Pinnacle Rock, a metamorphic rock fringed with vegetation arising from a forest.
- God's Window
The Zenith of the Panorama Route, God’s Window is such a picturesque view point that it has been called “God’s Window”, due to the sheer natural beauty contained in one view.
- Bourke's Luck Potholes
Go see the magnificent rock features called “Bourke’s Luck Potholes”. These enormous potholes have been carved by pebbles swirling around in the pools where the Blyde and Treur River meet and become one.
- Echo Caves
These caves are some of the oldest caves in the world and stretch some 40km into the earth with some underground chambers that are more than 60m in height. The caves got their name from their stalactites, that create an echoing sound when drummed upon and can even be heard outside the cave system.
The exciting thing about the Blyde River Canyon is that you can experience its beauty on land, water and in the air. You can walk to various viewpoints, take a boat trip in the water or you can fly over the Blyde River Canyon in a Microlight or in a Hot Air Balloon and to top it off is that you get a history lesson doing something fun and exciting at the same time.