Cliffs, valleys and canyons of the Drakensberg Mountains meet the Blyde River near the small town of Graskop, South Africa.

Photo by nice fellow tourist

Blyde River Canyon

We decide to chill out in the cool here for a few days. Take in some sweeping valley views from the Valley View Backpackers Hostel.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The view from the Valley View Backpackers

This area offers a myriad of adrenaline activities like white water rafting, canyoning (kloofing) and candlelight caving, but we’ve done it all at some point. If you’re not afraid, where’s the fun?

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Lone Creek Falls

Let’s drive the Panoramic Route. Breathe in the mist at Lone Creek Falls.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Mac Mac Falls

God’s Window proves to be foggy during our entire stay…hope that’s not a sign!

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Berlin Falls

Walk a short way to a crease in the canyon and see several more surprising waterfalls.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Lisbon Falls

After viewing the Three Rondavels, Blyde River Canyon lures us into a strenuous hike to its belly.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The Three Rondavels

The Belvedere Day Hike starts at Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Much larger than ones we dodge on the road, they are formed from whirlpools at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

We swim in sweat, just an hour into hiking this humid heat. The trail grows difficult weaving up and down into the canyon. Slick boulders, thorny vines, and washes help us lose the trail several times. Watch for snakes.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Descending into the Canyon

The canyon walls and river exude beauty and awe, but we’re too gassed to appreciate it. Got to hike at least two more hours to make it out of here, and our legs are gone. Hey, here comes that adrenaline when we get lost again!

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Coming through…. Ouch!

Climbing rocks and searching for markers, we’ve forgotten about watching for snakes. Shoot, we have to stop just to slow down our heart rate. Finally, we reach relatively flat ground and have only an hour of hiking back to the Potholes. Perhaps we enjoy hiking because it still scares us.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

So are we on the trail now?

Tonight, we celebrate with cold beers and peri-peri chicken livers and gizzards at Caninmambo Restaurant, a Portuguese/Mozambican joint. Next adventure, a grand finale of wild animals in Kruger Park, a South African highlight.       Ron Mitchell

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