Ep03 South Africa Landscape Awe
Welcome to episode 3.
This would be the day of spectacular sights to behold. We woke to a fresh countryside air and a beautifully prepared early morning breakfast.
We would travel along the spectacular “Panorama Route”. It is hard to imagine the view until we would traverse through the mountains. Other sights we visited were the 26-kilometer-long Blyde River Canyon (home to the Three Rondavels), the historic God’s Window, the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a walk on the Pedestrian bridge over the Treur River at Bourkes Luck Potholes, and breathtaking views of the edge of the Kruger National Park. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is situated in the Drakensberg escarpment region of eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa.
The Panorama Route is a scenic road in South Africa connecting several cultural and natural points of interest. The route, steeped in the history of South Africa, is in Mpumalanga province, centered around the Blyde River Canyon, the world’s third-largest canyon.
The Panorama Route is a scenic road that gave us a peek into God’s Window to see the jewel of South Africa’s vast landscape. Why is it called God’s Window? God’s Window is so-called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld more than 900 m down into the lush indigenous forest-clad ravine. God’s Window is a small part of a 250 km long earthwork of sheer cliffs and extravagant beauty. One can observe the hills and forests as far as the eye can see.
At the confluence of the Blyde River and the Treur River in the South African region of Mpumulanga, thousands of years of water erosion have created a unique and otherworldly geological feature. The Burke’s Luck Potholes are truly a geological phenomenal of two rivers that join to form the unique striking whirlpools and colorful landscape. The formations get their name from a prospector, John Bourke.
The Three Rondavels are an ancient geological wonder located in South Africa’s Blyde River Canyon region. Also known as the Three Sisters, they serve as reminders of the native hut housing structures called rondavels.
A video of the Bourke’s Potholes and the Three Rondavels
A Rondavel Hut
An African-style hut known in the literature as a cone on cylinder or cone on the drum, but popularly referred to simply as rondavel.
On our way to Treur River, we passed a valley of very lush and fertile soil, where the land was fertile for planting.
We made a stop to enjoy a walk across the Pedestrian bridge over the Treur River at Bourkes Luck Potholes. The stop was indeed well worth it as it allowed us to walk under, on, and across the bridge. Vehicles were passing by the bridge at quite a speed but the pedestrian walkway made it safe to see the landscape as well as the well-structured bridge itself.
Just before reaching our hotel, the Kampama River Lodge, we noticed two rather phenomenal mother nature sights. The first is the huge anthill spread over the rough, dry, and rugged landscape. The second is the bird’s nest hanging from the edge of the tree branches.
Anthills are created as a by-product of worker ants digging subterranean tunnels. As the worker ants dig out the colony’s tunnels, they dispose of the displaced earth by carrying it back out of the colony and depositing it near the entrance. They dispose of any garbage found in the colony in this way. We were astonished to see the size of this anthill. Some anthills have been sighted as high as 15 feet.
The other mother nature sights are the funky hanging bird’s nests. The Weaver birds build hanging, pouch-like nest with an opening at the top. Their nests are complex woven balls of odds and ends, that hang down from tree branches, looking like Christmas tree ornaments all year round.
After enjoying the scenic and majestic views of God’s creation, we were taken to our next Game Lodge in the Kapama region of Kruger National Park area, where we enjoyed a 2-nights stay. We stayed at the Kampama River Lodge. At this Kapama Game Reserve, this would be where we would be introduced to the safari experience and the different exquisite African animals. Here, we were introduced to the Big 5 on our game day and night drives. At the entrance to the Lodge, we were greeted with a giraffe. The giraffe stood strong and tall as if to welcome us to his home.
We drove through fenced gates into the Kapama Game Reserve. We soon realized that the Game Reserve is fenced all around to protect and keep the animals on open grounds. The electric fence ensures the animals keep within the Reserve. Kapama is a conservation reserve that practices anti-poaching, sustainability, and biodiversity. Kapama establishes and maintains basic standards that protect their environment and community. They also understand the relationships between the reserve and its ecosystem, thereby, helping them to ensure that the natural functioning of the reserve is not disturbed. It was amazing to learn Kapama’s first love in animal conservation and protection.
We settled into our rooms and again enjoyed a delicious and fabulously prepared dinner. We enjoyed dinner conversations with our fellow travelers. Then we explored the Lodge in the cool evening walk back to our rooms, to have a restful night in preparation for our next day safari adventures.
Summary of the Day
This has been a day of great landscape sightseeing. South Africa’s beauty in its land is so astonishing and breathtaking. There is so much untouched rock formation that has been preserved for future generations to enjoy. We are certainly glad to have come to South Africa to enjoy its untouched landscape beauty. We were indeed awe-inspired. We are also thankful for the game reserves in protecting and conserving the wild animals. We can only imagine this must be quite a daunting task.