Imagine... dramatic mountain scenery with isolated buttresses, sheer cliff faces and unusual geological features; imagine spectacular gorges, fairytale waterfalls and thick lush forests. I introduce to you 'The Panorama Route' in the Magical Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Mpumalanga meaning 'The place where the sun rises'.
The Panorama Route offers the traveller a number of spectacularly scenic viewpoints to experience this wonderland and includes views of the Blyde River Canyon (the 3rd largest canyon in the world) and its Three Rondavels, God's Window, Pinnacle Rock, Bourke's Luck Potholes and a number of beautiful waterfalls such as Mac Mac, Lone Creek and Lisbon Falls. The region also has an historical influence and a visit to the historic gold mining town of Pilgrims Rest is a must. Take a stroll down its quaint little main road viewing the restored historic buildings and miners huts, visit the museum to view the old mining relics, stop in at the tourist office and join a guided tour to experience the life in the gold mining hey days and try your hand at gold panning.
Most of the Panorama Route is situated on the Highveld. The views from God's Window and Pinnacle Rock look out over the Lowveld way below. These 2 areas experience comparatively different climates. The Lowveld is subtropical, due to its proximity to the warm Indian Ocean and latitude. The Highveld is comparatively much cooler, due to its altitude of 2300m to 1700m above sea level. The Drakensberg Escarpment receives the most precipitation, with all other areas being moderately well-watered by mostly summer thunderstorms. The Highveld often experiences severe frost, whilst the Lowveld is mostly frost-free. Winter rainfall is rare, except for some drizzle on the escarpment.
My suggestion to you when travelling to South Africa is to combine a 2-night stay in or near The Panorama Route, with your African safari experience in the world-renowned Kruger National Park or in the private reserves just west of Kruger. Three of my absolute favourite luxury game lodges are Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Savanna Private Game Reserve and Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. These are all situated in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve well known for its excellent game viewing and in particular, its brilliant leopard sightings.
Now to bring you back to your experience on the Panorama Route, my suggestion here would be to stay at the award winning Oliver's Restaurant and Lodge. This lodge has built a great name for itself. It is owner run and offers a friendly home away from home experience. Situated on a peaceful and tranquil country golf estate within easy reach of the Panorama Route, Kruger National Park and Nelspruit, the closest international airport.
Oliver's Restaurant and Lodge rooms are luxurious, spacious and beautifully appointed. Attention to detail is superb. Personal service is top class. Cuisine is to die for. These combined attributes make it an absolute pleasure to stay here.
Spend the day lazing at the pool or being lavishly pampered in their wellness spa. A game of golf is right on your doorstep at the White River Golf Club. Outdoor activities in the region are plentiful and include quad biking, gorge swinging, white water rafting, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flights, hiking and horse riding. Obviously with Kruger National Park being only 25km away, you could also enjoy the day game viewing in your own vehicle. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day roaming around the park spotting our fascinating African wildlife.
So one sees the abundance of options available to you in this area. It is well worth spending a couple of nights here to become acquainted with it and its friendly people. Just another magnificent part of our Rainbow Nation!
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