Best time to travel to South Africa

Blyde River Canyon in South Africa

Nature designed this trek for those who love epic views

Best time: June–August (all year round)

Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon is a hiker's paradise. The so-called "River of Joy" winds along South Africa's second deepest canyon (the cliffs rise up to 800 meters). What's more, the canyon is renowned for being the third largest in the world. The views of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and cliffs coated in lush forests make it the most picturesque part of Panorama Route.

Other highlights include the Three Rondavels viewpoint that overlooks massive rocks spirals and Bourke’s Luck Potholes—a unique geological formation that is particularly appreciated by photographers.

Besides hiking, the area offers other adventures such as canoeing or rock climbing. Visitors to Blyde River Canyon might also be lucky to spot a pair of Taita Falcons—an extremely rare bird species that inhabit the area near Abel Erasmus Pass.

The information centre is located at the mouth of the canyon. You can also take a refreshing swim in the man-made dam, or take a boat to Blydesrivierpoort to see the stunning Tufa Waterfalls.

The Blyde River Canyon is beautiful in any season, but June to August is recommended as the most rewarding time to go. The area is accessible from the western part of Kruger National Park.

Practical info

What hiking trails are available in Blyde River Canyon?

Blyde River Canyon caters to hikers of various fitness levels. The Mac Mac Pools trail is a 3km route taking in cascades and pools, while the challenging 6km Leopard Trail provides panoramic canyon views. The 60km Fanie Botha Hiking Trail leads to breathtaking canyon views and takes around five days to complete. Show more

When is the best time to visit Blyde River Canyon?

Blyde River Canyon is attractive throughout the year, but June to August is ideal with cooler temperatures and drier weather. The waterfalls and river are usually flowing during this period, creating picturesque views along hiking trails. The region experiences heavy rain and thunderstorms between November and March, causing trail closures. Check the weather forecast before visiting. Show more

Where is the Three Rondavels viewpoint located?

On the north end of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, the Three Rondavels viewpoint is on the Panorama Route, featuring awe-inspiring views of the canyon. It’s 35 km north of Graskop and offers splendid panoramic views of the canyon, including the three geological spirals created by the erosion of quartz and shale over millions of years. Show more

What other activities can visitors do besides hiking?

Blyde River Canyon is a versatile destination. Visitors enjoy diverse activities like rafting or tubing down the Blyde River, horse riding through the reserve, hot air balloon safaris, or driving through scenic routes. They can boat to the Tufa Waterfalls, witnessing the stunning waterfall cascading over a high cliff into the Blyde River or fish at a man-made dam. The Pilgrim's Rest museum and the ancient Sudwala Caves are also worth visiting. Show more

Are there any unique plants or animals in Blyde River Canyon?

A wide variety of flora and fauna is unique to Blyde River Canyon. Keep a lookout for the rare Taita Falcons, Knysna Turacos, and South African Samango monkeys. The rare Cycad, one of the earliest living plants globally, and Protea peculiar flowers are abundant in the region. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin