Touring with Canadians – Part 3 : Panorama Route

The Story so far..

The previous post on this “Trip of a Lifetime” to Southern Africa by our Canadian family covered the short time spent in Kruger National Park .

With Kruger Park “done and dusted” and still on a high from the special sightings we enjoyed during our two night stay in Satara, our next destination was Thaba Tsweni Lodge near Graskop in Mpumulanga for a further two nights. The intention was to use the lodge as a base for some exploratory drives along the Panorama Route.

Bourke’s Luck and Graskop

After the excitement and long drive of the previous day, we decided to take it easy and limit our exploration of the Panorama Route, while still fitting in a celebration of niece Sarah’s birthday somewhere along the way.

Thaba Tsweni lodge
Thaba Tsweni lodge near Graskop

Starting with a late breakfast at the lodge, we left around 10 am and headed up the R532 to Bourke’s Luck Potholes, which lies at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur rivers (Blyde translating to “happy” and Treur translating to “sad” – one can only wonder what events led to those names).

At Bourke’s Luck we had a walkabout along the pathways leading to the various viewpoints, which were quite busy as a couple of busloads of tourists had arrived just before us.

Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck Potholes

This didn’t detract from the experience of seeing this unique natural occurrence – potholes scoured into the bedrock of the river by waterborne sand and rock over millions of years, creating huge cylindrical holes and exposing the variously coloured layers of rock.

Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck Potholes
Bourkes Luck
Alex and kids at Bourke’s Luck
Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck
Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck
Bourkes Luck
A fellow tourist

There was time to check out the curio stalls before returning along the same road, with its beautiful landscapes around every corner, to Graskop in time for a pancake lunch at the famous Harrie’s Pancake restaurant to celebrate Sarah’s birthday. Harrie’s did not let us down and we enjoyed a variety of their pancakes amongst us.

Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck Curio shops
Bourkes Luck
Bourke’s Luck – getting the low down on curios
Sarah's birthday, Harries Pancakes, Graskop
Sarah’s birthday, Harries Pancakes, Graskop

Some light shopping followed then we headed back to the lodge where everyone chilled in their own way, before getting the evening braai up and running.

Graskop entrepreneur
The ladies got stuck in this shop
Thaba Tsweni lodge
Thaba Tsweni lodge lawns

A cabbage bought for all of R5 from a farmer was transformed into a delicious fried dish by Sarah and became the perfect accompaniment to the braai-ed wors.

Another memorable day!

God’s Window, then homewards

 Another full day of travelling lay ahead so we girded our loins (and some other parts too) with a full lodge breakfast. One place that we had to see before heading back to Pretoria was God’s Window – so named for the panoramic views it offers of the lowveld more than 900 m below the escarpment and beyond to the Kruger Park and even, on a clear day, to Mozambique a 100 or so kms distant.

We managed a quick walk to the viewpoints and up the steep-ish path to the rain forest, then down again.

Gods Window
God’s Window viewpoint looking down onto the lowveld
Najms at Gods Window
Najms at Gods Window

Then it was just a question of getting back to Pretoria, interrupted only by a stop at Milly’s for lunch, arriving home by late afternoon to allow time for a ‘meeting of the cousins’ at home.

Sunday was reserved for a family day with all getting to know each other, interspersed with some of Gerda’s home cooking and much excitement amongst the grandkids and their new-found family.

More to Come

Next we do a 4 night trip to Victoria Falls and Chobe Game Reserve – more about that in the next Part of the story….




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