The Blyderiver Canyon
 
 

Blyderiver Canyon
The Blyderiver Canyon is the third largest canyon system in the world.


Blyderiver Canyon Nature Reserve

Situated along the Mpumalanga Drakensberg Escarpment, the reserve covers a area of 22 664 hectares extending from the Pinnacle and Gods Window in the south to beyond the mighty Marieps Kop in the north, where the Blyde River Canyon ends at Swadini. The reserve is administered by the Mpumalanga Parks board and is known primarily for the outstanding natural beauty of the canyon as well as the numerous endemic and endangered fauna and flora species present.

 
The Pinnacle


This 30m high quartzite needle rises dramatically out of the fern clad ravine, created by the Ngwaritsane River, over countless millennia. To the right, and below, the viewing plateau from which can be seen only the topmost of eight waterfalls which take the river down approximately 450m in a series of alternating falls and cascades.
This attraction is approximately 10km outside the town Graskop.

Lone Creek Falls
Lone Creek Falls
This spectacular waterfall is located just north of Sabie.

The Forest Falls
Forest Falls

These beautiful falls are located on the western edge of Graskop.

The Bourke's Luck Potholes
Bourke's Luck Potholes

This natural feature marks the beginning of the Blyderiver Canyon. Through countless aeons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River falls into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. The informative Visitors Centre details some of the interesting natural and socio-historic features and is the starting point of the 700m walk to the potholes.

God's Window
 God's Window

God's Window gives visitors some of the finest panoramas of the Lowveld. It is situated at an altitude of 1 730 metres. The annual precipitation of around 3 000 millimetres results in lush, damp forest festooned in Old Mans Beard. Viewsites overlook precipitous wooded slopes over a distance of 4 kilometres, whilst the landscape drops a dramatic 900 metres before fading into the distant haze of the Lowveld.
 
FLORA
Five of the 71 different veld types of South Africa, occur on the reserve, these include mixed bushveld, north eastern mountain sourveld, Lowveld sour bushveld, and Lowveld mixed bushveld. The reserve represents a transitional zone for the flora of these five regions including flora which migrate along the escarpment from as far south as the Cape, plants from Natal, tropical plants from the Lowveld and plants from the central bushveld which follow the routes of the Ohrigstad and Olifants River valley into the Canyon. The rich and varied plant life is influenced by extremes climate, altitude and soil conditions. Plant communities range from montane sour grassland on the high summits and plateaus, subtropical rainforest in the upper reaches of deep ravines at the escarpment edge, through montane forest, dry bushveld, protea veld dense brushwood and scrub in dongas and dry ravines, to riparian forest on the banks of perennial rivers and streams and arid mixed sour bushveld at Swadini in the Canyon mouth.

FAUNA
The rich patchwork of diverse plant communities support an equally rich and varied fauna. The montane grassland area provides suitable habitat for Grey Rhebuck , the rare Oribi, a variety of seed eating birds, rodents, reptiles and a abundance of insects. Klipspringers and Dassies find food and shelter in rocky areas, while Mountain Reedbuck and Kudu select wooden bushveld where patches of dense cover also shelters to Common Duiker. Bushbuck and bushpig move amongst the luxuriant growth on the banks of the rivers and streams, with the duiker also occurring sometimes. A variety of aquatic animals including waterbirds, fish, otters, hippo and crocodile live in and around the dam, rivers, mountain streams and marshlands Birds of grassland, woodland, forest and scrub occur, with all three South African Loerie species present. All five of South African primates are found in the reserve, including the rare Samango Monkey which live in the lush evergreen forest. The greater and lesser bushbabies are nocturnal, while Vervet Monkeys and Chacma Baboons are often seen. An interesting variety of small mammals include the yellow footed squirrel, honey badger, aardvark, aardwolf, porcupine and mongoose of different kinds. The Leopard is the largest predator. Other carnivores include the Spotted Genet, Civet Cat, Serval and Caracal.

This attraction stretches from Graskop to just south of Hoedspruit, a town in the Limpopo Province - a distance of more than 80km.

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