Thursday, 4 August 2016

{Mpumalanga} The Panoramic Route

A couple months ago the family and I took a weekend getaway to the beautiful little town of Pilgrims rest. This short breakaway was spent at four starred Crystal Springs Lodge just outside of Pilgrims Rest Town (known for its mining history during 1873 Gold Rush as well as the Anglo Boer War) located in the beautiful province of Mpumalanga (Graskop area). This short getaway introduced me to more of the beauty South Africa has to offer as well as some of the incredible sites in the country i had always hear about but never seen.

We decided to spend the day (as most South Africans would on a Saturday or a Sunday) slowly making our way to the various sites we had listed on our weekend "bucket list"- listed below. 

What makes this area such an attraction besides the fact that it it on route to the Kruger National Park (and the truly spectacular surroundings). This area of Mpumalanga has one of the worlds largest green canyons known as the Blyde River Canyon. This beautiful canyon holds a number of unique attractions which makes up most of the Panoramic route. I will share these attractions in my post shortly. 

I was also reminded that the 1873 Gold Rush had a huge influence on the discovery of this canyon. Some of the attractions such as Bourkes Luck Potholes was discovered during this time. 

We firstly started our sight seeing tour of the Graskop area at The Pinnacle. What a unique thing it was for me, a local South African girl to see. I have seen images of rock formations like this in pictures around the world. I did not expect to see this unique formation in South Africa. This Pinnacle is a single rock which, in my opinion looked as though it was floating in the valley of the mountain. It is definitely worth a visit.

The entrance fee per person into the Pinnacle  R10 per adult.

Our second stop was the whole point of the Journey - God's Window. This part of Mpumalanga has sentimental value for my husbands family. We knew that we had to seize the moment that day, according to some of my friends and family who frequent  the area have said that often Gods Window is overcast and covered by clouds but this particular day had exceptional for the area.

I must warn anyone that hasn't visited God's Window and plans on making a stopping this way in the future to pack comfortable shoes. There is quite a walk involved to get to the view point. 

Entrance into God's Window per Adult R10

The third stop for us was Bourkes Luck Potholes. It is the only place in South Africa where you will pay to see a natural "pothole". It really is a wonder to see. These potholes were formed over centuries where two rivers, the river Treur and the Blyde Rivers join at the Blyde River Canyon. The joining of these rivers over time has worn into the sand rock forming these Potholes.

The Three Rondavals - R20.00 entrance fee per person

We couldn't very well make a trip down this way and not stop in at the picturesque Pilgrims Rest Town . I must say, this little town is such a gem but i really feel people don't visit this town enough. I'm not sure if people aren't aware of the Town or don't make enough time to stop by but really, i loved it and if you know you're going to pass by, why not support the residents? Now I'm sure you're wondering why I am harping on about this, but Pilgrims Rest Town is a historical town in South Africa and was quite the destination during the Gold Rush in 1873 when Pilgrims Rest was proclaimed a gold field after gold had been discovered in Pilgrims Creek.

What i loved about this lovely town was that while I was walking down the street i felt like i was walking into an old vintage Black and white movie. All buildings in this village have been maintained to keep its original historic appearance (From the post office to the petrol station and even the signage on each building). 

All the historic buildings have signage like the one in this picture above

All the houses have been maintained to keep their historic appearance 

We stopped in at the Pilgrims Pantry for lunch, it was a toss up between the Royal Hotel, Pilgrims Pantry (there were two other options but had narrowed our choices down to these two) and so we settled for the pantry. It was a fantastic choice. The service and the food was pretty amazing. 

Notice how the Cappuccino had gold sprinkles which 

Have you traveled to this part of Mpumalanga and what was your favourite part?

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