Weeping waterfalls and lucky potholes. Get swept away by the Blyde River Canyon


The Blyde River Canyon flourishes like no other. Rather than dry, rugged mountains and gorges, everything here is cloaked in subtropical vegetation. An affluence of life flows through the valleys. Gigantic potholes of swirling water dot the ground where the Treur and Blyde Rivers meet at Bourke’s Luck. At the opposite end of the canyon, the cascades of a waterfall absorb deposits faster than it can erode the surrounding rock. The result is an ever-growing formation that resembles a weeping face. It’s difficult not to be moved to emotion when witnessing the spectacles of nature that have formed over aeons.

Wendel Hough approaches each visit with uninhibited enthusiasm. Although he’s been coming here for years, he savours every opportunity to explore. Navigating the 25 kilometres of green canyon takes time, patience, and good shoes. “The only way you can really see the Blyde River Canyon is if you walk,” Hough says. Unlike other natural attractions that are jam-packed with visitors, the canyon’s size makes it feel as if it’s yours to experience. “You can be on your own,” Hough says. “There’s nobody around. It’s peaceful, it’s cool.”

The extraordinary route is more than enough to make everything else fade away. The call of the birds, the rush of waterfalls, and the squelch of soft earth beneath each step have meditative effects. “To me the most important thing is that you go back to nature and you forget about all those other troubles,” Hough says. The Blyde River Canyon is among the greatest wonders of the world. Snaking through Mpumalanga, it waits for us to lose ourselves in its vast landscape, and discover its natural phenomena.