The Blyde River Canyon is the largest green canyon in the world and the second largest canyon on the African continent, spanning 25km long and cut to a depth of 750m by the Blyde River. Located in Mpumalanga and forming part of the Drakensberg escarpment and magnificent Panorama Route, this landscape of shale cliff and quartzite plateaus has been sculpted by nature over centuries. More recently, man has also added the stunning Blydepoort Dam to the splendor.
The slopes of the Blyde River Canyon are dense with indigenous vegetation that supports antelope, birds, and every type of South African primate (from Chacma baboons to bushbabies). This is the only place in South Africa where all of these monkeys coexist. This well watered environment is also home to many hippo and crocodiles.
The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 1,944m above sea level, whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 561m above sea level. This means that the canyon is 1,383m deep.
The Blyde River Canyon supports a wide array of life, including fish, primates, and other mammals. Visitors can look forward to spotting hippo, crocodile, bushbabies, vervet monkeys, samango monkeys, and so much more. Birdlife includes the Narina trogan, Cape vulture, Black eagle, Bald ibis, African finfoot, Knysna loerie, to name just a few.
The best view of the Blyde River Canyon can be enjoyed from the Three Rondavels; three huge, round rocks thought to be the huts of the indigenous people. Other points of interest along the Panorama Route include God’s Window, the Pinnacle, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.