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The Panorama Route

Leave Sabie on the R532 and head for Graskop, some 29 kms to the North. En route you will come to Mac Mac Pools, where there is a 12 km walking trail, and the 56 metre high twin Mac Mac Falls. These falls were the site of a gold discovery on April 5th, 1873, and shortly thereafter over one thousand prospectors were in the area, concentrating their gold digging efforts on the river wending its way to the falls. It is thought that these falls were named after the MacClaughton brothers, who were the first adventurers to have arrived at the scene. Graskop, like Sabie originated as a gold mining town in the late 19th Century.
blyde river canyon
Blyde River Canyon

The town is now a forestry centre, and famous for its pancakes. It serves as the gateway to The Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon on the planet, and the third biggest canyon after The Grand Canyon and Namibia’s Fish River Canyon. This area is an absolute must for all visitors to Wayfarers, as Graskop and the Canyon are a short 30 minutes drive away. The Blyde River Canyon houses some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery. After leaving Graskop, take the loop on your right and visit The Pinnacle, a strange free standing rock formation rising high into the air. From The Pinnacle it is only a short drive to Gods Window, where a  breathtaking series of panoramic views of the lowveld far below await  you. Rejoin the R532 and take a short detour on your left to visit the majestic Berlin Falls.

Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourke's Luck Potholes



The Blyde River rises on the escarpment southwest of Graskop and flows due north past Pilgrims Rest to join the Olifants River. The Treur River joins the Blyde River at one of the most remarkable geological phenomena in the whole of SouthAfrica, Bourkes Luck Potholes. These surreal rock shapes are the result of water erosion over a million years or more. The somewhat quaint name of this magnificent piece of scenery is derived from Thomas Bourke who worked a profitable little mine at the bottom of some of these potholes. Beyond the potholes, the river plunges into one of the worlds most spectacular canyons. On each side the sandstone cliffs rise up to 800 metres above the river. Continue north on the R532 , and ten minutes later you reach the next amazing scene of great natural beauty, the Three Rondavels, which tower above The Blydeport Dam down below in the distance. Return on the R532 towards Graskop, and take the turning on the right for the 83 metre Lisbon Falls which are 2.2 kms from the main road.There is now a place to have lunch in The Canyon. It is called Pot Luck Restaurant, and is situated 8 kms south of Bourkes Luck Potholes.
This is a real African experience! The Restaurant is situated on the banks of The Treur River, and is tranquil in the utmost.
The menu is extremely simple, the meat is cooked on a Braaivleis (Barbeque), there is no Electricity, no Credit Card machine, but on a nice day, it is highly recommended.However, if there is a threat of rain in the air, think twice!!

Everywhere along your route you will find formal and informal Curio Markets. Remember that all prices are highly negotiable!


From Graskop, the next place of interest is Pilgrim’s Rest. About 4 kms out of Graskop on the R532 going back towards Sabie, you reach a y- junction. Take the right fork and join the R533 to Pilgrim’s Rest, which is about 12 kms drive down a charming, winding road. Pilgrim’s Rest got its name from a group of men who had dug for gold at Mac – Mac Falls. These prospectors called themselves “ The Pilgrims” . One such man was Alec “wheelbarrow” Patterson, who one day in 1873 , tired of Mac-Mac, loaded his worldly goods into his wheelbarrow, and wandered off to discover traces of gold in a stream (later to be named Pilgrim’s Creek) flowing to join The Blyde River. So the first camp at what was to become Pilgrim’s Rest was set up.

Soon more than 1,500 prospectors from around the world were panning for gold in the stream. Today Pilgrim’s Rest is a living museum, and  memorial to those intrepid gold miners, and is now a National Monument in its entirety. The oldest brick building is The Church of St Mary’s , which is on your left as you enter the long main street from the Sabie direction. This Anglican Church was built in 1884. The Royal Hotel serves very good lunches, and its bar houses many relics from the past.  You can eat on the porch, and watch the world go by!

sudwala cave
Sudwala Caves
On the second day of your stay leave Sabie on the R37 and head 9 kms up LongTom Pass before turning left, still on the R37, towards Nelspruit. At Rosehaugh turn right onto the R539 and after 15 kms you will arrive at The Sudwala Caves and Dinosaur Park. The dolomite rock in which the caves are formed was laid down by water at the time that the algae Collenia was living some 2,000 million years ago. This is preserved in the caves in the form of fossilized colonies. The caves are adorned with stalagmites and stalactites, the most famous of which is “The Screaming Monster” and the tallest is the 14 metre high “Rocket Silo”. The Caves are open from 08h30 until 16h30 and the normal tour lasts approximately one hour.

If you are looking for something different to take home to family and friends, then a visit to Casterbridge Farm will prove both interesting and rewarding. Situated 2 kms outside White River on the corner of the R40, Numbi and Hazyview roads, Casterbridge is a delightful collection of Boutiques, Antique shops and Galleries as well as at least five good restaurants, a cinema , The Barnyard Theatre and The White River Local History and Auto Museum. There are 4 Beauty and Health Studios and a mass of Tourist Information. Opposite Casterbridge Farm is The Bagdad Centre where Trattoria Stefano No 2 and Fez are highly recommended.

For those needing to stock up with supplies for the rest of their holiday, a visit to Riverside Mall in Nelspruit should suffice. Situated between White River and Nelspruit on the R40 , all major shops are represented here. There is plenty of secure parking, as well as a choice of fast food establishments for a quick lunch. Opposite Riverside Mall is the newly opened Grove Centre with plenty of modern shops and restaurants, and free parking.

leopard in tree
Leopard
Further adventures can be experienced on the R536 Hazyview Road. After driving for 26 kms through the forests and plantations, The Windmill Wine Shop can be found on your left. This is a great place for a Smorgasbord style lunch, and also an opportunity to taste some of South Africa’s best wines. A further 9kms along the road is Sabie Valley Coffee, a greenfield development dating back to 1983, from whence Wayfarers sources all of its coffee.  At the same spot as Sabie Valley Coffee Shop are two adventure play grounds, one on each side of the road, where quad bike trails can be enjoyed. At Sabi River Sun, 40 kms from Sabie, there is the opportunity to enjoy a most beautiful golf course in the company of hippopotamus! And on the other side of the road from the Sabi River Sun is the Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary where its possible to have close encounters with this formidable pachyderm.

Horse riding, Mountain biking, Hiking, White water rafting, Abseiling, Hot air balloon and Microlight trips, Tubing on the Sabie River as well as Trout Fishing are all part of the outdoor activities which can be enjoyed in the vicinity of Sabie.

And then when one turns the corner at Perry's Bridge, Hazyview, The Kruger National Park beckons.