Through the Blyde River Canyon to Graskop
Date 15 to 17 December 2016
As we had hired a motorcar to get from Hoedspruit Baobab Ridge we decided to take advantage of being upcountry to take a trip through the Blyde River Canyon and Elizabeth found an excellent inexpensive place where we could rent a self-contained chalet, 4 km from Graskop. Zur Alten Mine consists of a number of secluded chalets spread along the fringes of the forest and located on the site of an old goldmine. From our veranda, we could see out towards God’s Window, when the cloud cleared and it stopped raining. As it rained and we drove through low cloud on the way up to Graskop we very much hoped that our second day and the return journey on the third would see better weather.
Our chalet at Zur Alten Mine looking out towards God’s Window
After a good breakfast, provided by our host, and seeing that the visibility was good and we could see God’s Window clearly we headed off in that direction. And indeed, what a view. We were also early enough to beat a lot of the crowds who flock to this well-known viewpoint.
The view looking out from God’s Window
We then headed back up the road down which we had come the previous day in the mist with the aim of stopping for coffee at a recommended site by the river.
Typical scenery at the shallow end of the Blyde River Canyon looking out from our mid-morning stop at Potluck Boskombuis
We were warned that this was an extremely wet part of the world and it certainly lived up to its reputation as we, joined by 20 extremely wet motorcyclists and other refugees sheltered from the next bout of the monsoon. The Kruger may have had a severe drought, Blyde River Canyon certainly has not.
Elizabeth sheltering from the monsoon and exchanging recipes with the cooking brigade at Potluck Boskombuis. Everything was cooked either over an open wood fire or in a wood fired range under a shelter leaning against the rocky outcrop
Just to prove that I was there and trying to look part of the Big Country
After a late picnic lunch in bright sunshine the weather once gained turned very wet and cold so we retired to our chalet, lit the wood-burning stove and settled in for a cosy evening. They do say that you can have four different seasons in one day in this part of the world and we certainly had a very good demonstration of that, minus snow. The following day we were up bright and early as we had to get back to Hoedspruit for a midday flight to Johannesburg. This meant that we had the viewpoints over the Blyde River Canyon, blocked out by mist when we drove up, almost to ourselves.
Looking down the Canyon towards the plain from the Three Rondevals viewpoint
and the feature that gives the Three Rondevals its name
We stopped in Hoedspruit to fill up with petrol (gasoline) before driving onto the airport to hand the car back. I could not resist taking a photograph of this lady crossing the road to catch a bus. A child on her back, suitcase on her head and a carrier bag hanging from the suitcase; all done with perfect poise and balance.
One way of making sure that you have both hands free to fight your way onto the bus