The Panorama Route...Natural wonders one after another along the highway...God's Window...



Wow!  Bourke's Luck Potholes was definitely our favorite.


The scenery at Bourke's Luck Potholes was captivating.

The colorful rock formations, coupled with the water from the Blyde and Treur Rivers at Bourke's Luck Potholes was breathtaking.
Our three day's at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge were so busy, we had little time to relax.  I guess that's what being a tourist is all about...fearful of missing something one will later regret.
The waterfalls was a highlight at Bourke's Luck Potholes as well as the unreal rock formations.
Bourke's Luck Potholes is too beautiful for words.

We hiked the rocky trail to this bridge at Bourke's Luck Potholes, crossed to the opposite side to take this photo.
We often talk about how we aren't tourists. We're travelers, temporary residents in a location in which we've traveled.  However, from time to time we don't mind jumping into the tourist mode to see the sites.

Note:  The photos shown here are not necessarily in the order in which they occur along the Panorama Route.

The sun had peeked out when we visited Bourke's Luck Potholes.

The water was so inviting.  Can you imagine the day that Bourke, an unsuccessful gold miner discovered these?  "Essentially they're the result of decades of swirling eddies of water where the Treur River meets the Blyde River, the tumult of which has caused extensive water erosion over time. The result is a series of cylindrical rock sculptures that look as though they would be more comfortable on the moon."

As we made our way out of the Potholes, we were disappointed to leave. But, we needed to get back on the road in order to make the best use of our time.
The crowds, the commercialism, the endless array of hawking vendors and the waiting behind impatience tourists is definitely annoying.  If anything, that's what may have been instrumental in keeping us away from touristy sites while living in some locations. 
Overcast and hazy when we arrived at God's Window, we were disappointed that our view would be impeded.  This long nicely groomed walkway led to the vantage point.  The smell of herbs growing wild in this area was intoxicating.  South Africa takes great care of its natural resources.


Yes, the haze had an impact on our view from God's Window.  We could easily imagine it on a totally clear day. 
Luckily, the varied points of interest along South Africa's Panorama Route was less commercial and crowded than many other tourist locations we've visited.  With the holiday season over we encountered only a handful of tourists on Friday as we made our way through the various sites.

Darn the haze but, it still was worth seeing God's Window from several viewing points, this one different from the previous photo.



 The vendors had many interesting items, none of which we could justify adding to our baggage load.  They weren't as aggressive as vendors in other countries that we've visited

 Colorful fabrics are often the focus of vendors in Africa.
At some of the sites, a fee was required to enter.  In total, we spent only ZAR $130, US $12.21 which included a few at only ZAR $10, US $.94.  Where can one see anything for US $.94 which was the cost to see God's Window?  Our favorite along the route, Bourke's Luck Potholes in the main photo and others posted today was the most costly at ZAR $80, US $7.51 for both of us.  It was worth every penny. 
The Three Rondavels viewing point was shrouded in haze which prevented a clear shot.  In South Africa a Rondavel is a traditional beehive-shaped hut built by the indigenous people as their homes.
 
The river views at the Three Rondavels added to the beauty. 

Several of the sites required strenuous walking on rocks, up and down uneven steps and long hilly walkways.  Although some were wheelchair accessible, we couldn't imagine how a tourist in a wheelchair could manage the steep incline, for examples at Bourke's Luck Potholes.and God's Window.

We'd been warned by many locals that it's disappointing to visit God's Window 
on anything but a perfectly clear day.  The day we visited was cloudy, and misty with an occasional break through of the sun. We were grateful that it wasn't exceedingly hot.

 Berlin Falls, along the Panorama Route, presented an impressive view.
 
Unable to see all of the sites in the Panorama Route due to time constraints (wanting to get back to the Blyde River Canyon Lodge before dark) we chose those that were grouped together.  One could easily spend two full days seeing everything unless starting at 7:00 am and ending at 6:00 pm, a schedule that didn't appeal to us. 
 This was Wonderview.  What appears to be smoke is low lying clouds on a hazy day.
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Another viewing point from Wonderview.  Although not as astounding as some of the other sites of interest, it was close to the car and easy to access.
 Our goal is "stress free" traveling when we have control over the events of the day.  Unfortunately, the day wasn't quite as stress free as we'd like, when the steep mountains we'd traveled in order to arrive at the Panorama Route.  The long drive uphill used so much gas in the little pink car that we were nearing "empty" halfway through the Panorama Route.  There wasn't a single "petrol" station until we reached the town of Graskop where we began our return drive.
 The larger of these two waterfalls, Lisbon Falls was an impressive site.
 
Lisbon Falls, more exquisite waterfalls in the area.
Over a period of two hours, we anxiously watched the fuel gauge, hoping we'd somehow make it through the sites we wanted to see to avoid the necessity of backtracking.  "Safari luck" prevailed and we made it in time with the empty  light flashing on the dashboard.  Whew!

Returning to the lodge at 4:00 pm, we had ample time to download our photos  and begin writing the next day's post, all outdoors while enjoying the gorgeous grounds and wildlife visitors playing in the vast expanse of green lawn, running in open spaces.
A lovely couple from South Africa took this photo of us together and we did the same with their camera.  We had a great day, minus the low fuel level in the pink car.
With the dense bush here in Marloth Park, we hadn't had an opportunity to see the Impalas leap through the air or the Zebras running fast as they played together as we dined on the included daily made to order breakfast.

Saturday morning, we checked out of the lodge after yet another chatty visit with the world traveling owner, Vicky, who'd graciously ensured that every aspect of our too short stay at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge was pleasurable. 
Nearing our lodge the surrounding scenery continued to leave us in awe of the beautiful Blyde River Canyon.

A hazy day, we still had a great time seeing many of these majestic wonders in South Africa.
We'd only wished we'd had more time to relax at the lodge.  During the candlelit outdoor dinner each night we were entertained by bush babies flying about while we had the opportunity to unwind from yet another busy day.  It was heavenly to say the least.  All of it!

Tomorrow, we'll share the cost of our three day road trip, photos of the lodge, it's lush surroundings, fabulous meals and service and the wildlife that came to call including a mating zebra couple, a first for us to see. 

2 comments:

Bob & Vikki said...

You guys are really getting good at photography! The pictures in this post are absolutely gorgeous, professional quality!

Thank you both for keeping us up to date & sharing these beautiful pictures!

Bob
&
Vikki

Jessica said...

Bob & Vikki,
How wonderful of you to say this about our photography! It's become a real passion for me, always carrying the camera everywhere we go. We look forward to so many more photos as we soon switch from wildlife in the bush, to culture in a busy Moroccan city.

Thanks to you both for making our photos and stories a small part of your lives and for sharing your positive comments with us.

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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