I donned the wetsuit, strapped on my tackies and plunged into the water. Kestell has permits to operate on this ‘rougher, much more exciting strip of the Sabie called the U2 section’. As he explained, ‘There’s an optional eight-metre high river jump involved and some fun rapids... whenever you veer towards a big boulder in the river, just lean towards it; hug the rock. That way, you’re less likely to fall out.’
Just a short hop away from Pilgrim’s Rest, Graskop is surrounded by an array of natural splendour – Berlin Falls, God’s Window, the Pinnacle Rock, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, and closest to town, Lisbon Falls.
it was our first time at the bottom of the gorge. He agreed with me: ‘It’s much more beautiful. Everyone just comes here to see the top!’ We took pictures posing carefully on the slippery rocks and revelled in the spray. Proving that even for sedate activities, there are always new ways to see Mpumalanga’s famous Panorama Route.
How to plan A trip to the Panorama Route
Day 1: Gauteng to Kaapsehoop
DISTANCE 340km ALLOW 7 hours
Day 2: Kaapsehoop to Misty Mountain
DISTANCE 120km ALLOW 8 hours
Day 3: Misty Mountain to Lisbon Hideaway
DISTANCE 80km ALLOW 5 hours
to the bottom for the best views.
Day 4: Lisbon Hideaway to Blyde River Canyon
DISTANCE 230km ALLOW 8 hours
This story first appeared in Getaway Magazine.