SOUTH AFRICA - BLYDE RIVER CANYON NATURE RESERVE
depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife
habitats of Blyde River Canyon in South Africa
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fresh mountain scenery and magnificent panoramic
views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment
are quite spectacular and give the area its
name of 'Panorama Route'. The
nature reserve runs along the Blyde
River Canyon's winding path, which
at every turn offers more and more impressive
views over sheer edges dropping up to 2,600
feet (800metres) into the riverbed.
Viewpoints are named for the spectacles they
offer, and God's Window and Wonder View hint
at the magnitude of the scenery.
'Pinnacle' is a single quartzite column rising
out of the deep wooded canyon and the ‘Three
Rondavels' (also called the 'Three Sisters’),
are three huge spirals of dolomite rock rising
out of the far wall of the canyon like rockets
about to take off. Their domed heads are iced
in green and their sides are stained with fiery
orange lichen. From the 'Three Rondavels' you
can see the extensive Swadini Dam in the far
distance, which marks the end of the reserve.
the meeting point of the Blyde River (‘river
of joy’) and the Treur River (‘river
of sorrow’), water erosion has created
one of the most remarkable geological phenomena
in South Africa. The ‘Bourke’s Luck
Potholes’ have taken thousands of years
to form weird cylindrical sculptures carved
by swirling water. The smooth red and yellow
rocks contrast artfully with the dark pools,
in which swim many fish.
geology and climate of this high rainfall plateau,
means there are masses of beautiful waterfalls
- many of which you can visit, while others
are hidden deep within some of the largest man-made
forestry plantations in the world, with row
upon row of pine and eucalyptus trees. There
are also many streams and fresh trout is on
the menu of most restaurants.
proximity to Kruger National Park makes this
a convenient post-safari scenic stopover.
The rich and varied plant
life is influenced by extreme climate, a range
of altitudes and various soil conditions. Plants
range from montane sour grassland on the high
summits and plateaux to sub-tropical rainforest
in the upper reaches of the ravines and riparian
forests on the banks of perennial rivers.
variety of plant life supports an equally rich
and varied fauna. Klipspringers and rock hyrax
(known as dassies), find food and shelter in
rocky areas, the grassland supports grey rhebuck
and rare oribi as well as rodents, reptiles,
seed-eating birds and plenty of insects. Kudu
prefer the cover of wooded bushveld and bushbuck
and bushpig move amongst the luxuriant growth
on the riverbanks.
five of South Africa's primates are found in
the reserve; the rare samango monkey, nocturnal
greater and lesser bushbabies, chacma baboons
and vervet monkeys.
and crocodiles live in and around the rivers
and wetlands of Swadini Dam, as do waterbirds,
otters and numerous fish. Almost every type
of habitat that attracts birds is here and all
three South African species of lourie are present
- two are extremely colourful.
Rainy Season: The plateau is
somewhat cooler than the nearby low-lying Kruger
area but still has hot rainy summers starting
in October and ending around March. A summer
haze is common.
Dry Season: The winter months
from April to September are extremely pleasant
with warm dry days and cool nights.
· Breathtaking views
of the Blyde River Canyon
· Hiking trails into
· Swimming in icy waterfall
· Strange formations
in Bourke’s Luck Potholes
· Eating fresh trout
from the region
· Pancakes in Graskop
This is a malarial area
The reserve covers an area of 56,000 acres (22,664ha)
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