With memories of crisp country air, icy mountain pools and the emerald peaks of the Drakensberg fresh in our minds, we headed north to spend our final days in South Africa along the Panorama Route.
Set in the verdant countryside of Mpumalanga, where ochre cliffs bear dozens of waterfalls and a distant storm brews permanently in the periphery, the Panorama Route is often taken as an afterthought to the elusive leopards waiting at the nearby Kruger National Park.
With our hopes of spotting Africa’s Big Five pegged entirely on our upcoming trip to Namibia, we arrived with a different purpose entirely – to lay eyes on the magnificent Blyde River Canyon.
This was a place we discovered only recently while flipping through an old family photo album; the once white pages checkered with faded polaroids.
A sun-kissed figure sat carefree and smiling on an overhanging rock, legs dangling daringly into the abyss as a sparkling thread of water meandered through the distant canyon walls.
For a place so strikingly beautiful that had, until now, evaded us, it piqued our curiosity and was hastily added to our South Africa itinerary.
The potholed road led us through a patchwork of greens and browns, the serenity marred only by our frequent and largely unsuccessfully attempts to avoid them.
Our days were spent gorging on one too many fluffy pancakes, piled high with caramelised apple and cinnamon, admiring gushing waterfalls from above and being doused in their forceful spray from below, and tiptoeing along the sunburnt clifftops of one of world’s largest canyons.
Surrounded by nature, this was a beautiful way to close off our time in the Rainbow Nation. This guide covers the best Panorama Route attractions, where to stay, and some practical tips to help prepare for the journey.