The amazing waterfalls of the Panorama Route with children

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Bridal Veil waterfall
After a beautiful hike through an enchanted forest you will stand in front of a solid canyon wall like like an elven fortress in Middle Earth. Plunging down from the top is this amazing waterfall. There are small paths everywhere allowing you to explore the area around the fall.

The area around Sabie has the most amazing waterfalls. The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world. Water will of course plunge mystically down it’s many ridges into amazing pools at the bottom.

Imagine threading your way along the clifftops 800 metres above the Blyde River Canyon,- walking into the rain forest among the clouds. Although the visual element dominates, all your senses are enriched by the wealth of plant and animal life that the region supports: klipspringer, dassies, grey rhebuck, oribi, kudu, bushbuck, bushpig, monkeys, bushbabies, chacma baboons, and just about every kind of bird… including the eagles that might well look you in the eye.

JuneMpumalanga (210)Since we came in winter, there were no other tourists around. All these national heritage sites are carefully watched by guards and there are small fees to pay to enter the area. Do not be upset at paying R5-10 per person, this also means that there are clean bathrooms available. The lady selling curio was so grateful we came – her first customers all week.

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To encourage my boys on hikes I do what my father did on the countless tours through the mountains in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: using my imagination to spin stories about the landscape and its inhabitants. The mighty rocks could have very well been placed there by Ogres to prohibit knights to come catch them, and the high Khakibos grass smelled so wonderful that we imagined little forest people brewing a special potion from it. You get the idea. Keep chatting excitedly about and your little ones wont notice the kilometers they cross.

The amazing tropical forest is even more exotic and mysterious in winter …
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The amazing tropical forest is even more exotic and mysterious in winter …

Make sure you take silent breaks to just listen to the awesome breath of nature. I have done the falls before in summer, but I must say this winter they truly had a quiet, contemplative charm so unique that you have to go there and see for yourself.

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You could easily do all falls in one day, bringing along a picnic to enjoy at the picnic spots provided by the tourism board.

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My sons were so glad they made it – and I think the next Hobbit movie seriously should be made in South Africa.

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In summer you can even take a dip in the pools of the falls!

In my next post I will share some more pictures of the waterfalls – I just do not want this post to get too long.

Here is a list of the waterfalls, how to get there and what to expect:

The Mac Mac Falls

The Mac Mac Falls are located 13km from Sabie on the R532 toward Graskop. There is a picnic spot with tables, chairs and ablutions at the bottom at the Mac Mac Pools, where you can swim in crystal clear, pure mountain spring water. There is a small fee payable at the gate.

Lisbon Falls

The Lisbon Falls near Graskop are the highest falls in the area at 92m.  From Sabie turn right at the Juncture of the R534 and R532 roads. This road will take you on to a gravel road after about 800m. Drive on the gravel road for just over 2kms. There is no fee payable.

The Berlin Falls

The 80m Berlin Falls on the Sabine River, 10km north of Grasskop, and near God’s Window. From Graskop head toward the Blyde River Forest Station & Sawmill, then on to the Watervalspruit picnic site at the foot of the falls. There is a big pool – ideal for swimming.

Bridal Veil Falls

The ethereal 70m Bridal Veil Falls is situated 6km from Sabie. Take the old Lydenburg Rd south-west, turning off to the right after 2km at the Sawmill and continue on for about 3km, over the Sabie River. From the parking area, there is a 750 walk through indigenous forest. A small fee is payable.

Lone Creek Falls

The 68m Lone Creek Falls is situated 10km south-west from Sabie on the ‘old Lydenburg’ road in a densely forested area, surrounded beautiful indigenous ‘fairy’ forest. The Lone Creek Falls are a National Monument. There are picnic and ablutions facilities and a small fee is payable at the gate.

Horseshoe Falls

The Horse Shoe Falls is situated 7km south-west from Sabie on the old Lydenburg road in lush dense indigenous forest. Turn left on to a gravel road. A small fee is payable. You can swim, but the nearby Horseshoe Trout Farm has picnic facilities and dams where you can fish.

Forest Falls

The Forest Falls are located 17km from Graskop betweene Graskop and Sabie on the R532.  Wider than its height, this spectacular waterfall can only be reached via a 3.5km hike forest. Permits must be obtained from the Forest Industry Museum, Ford St, Sabie: Tel: 013 764 1058



  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.|

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