16 Stops on the Panorama Route, South Africa | 2024 Guide

The Panorama Route is a spectacular road trip through one of South Africa’s most incredible natural landscapes. Located in the northeast corner of the country in Mpumalanga province, the scene boasts lush mountain peaks scarred with ochre cliffs. Along the Panorama Route, you’ll find many impressive natural landmarks, such as dozens of magnificent waterfalls, rugged mountain peaks and flourishing flora and fauna. 

*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure

The Panorama Route’s main highlight is the Blyde River Canyon, the third-largest canyon in the world and a truly mesmerizing sight. There are multiple spectacular lookout points along the way where you can stop to take in the surrounding vistas of the Drakensberg Escarpment down to the Lowveld.

And because of Panorama Route’s high altitude, there are more waterfalls here than anywhere else in South Africa. In the summer, it’s popular for people to swim in some of the water holes at the base of the falls. Additionally, there are hiking trails in the canyon and around the waterfalls, making it the perfect place for those who enjoy the outdoors.

Part of Panorama Route’s popularity is also due to its scenic and convenient location. From Johannesburg, it’s a popular place to visit on the way to Kruger National Park, as it’s located just a short drive from the park’s boundary.

If you are planning to follow the Panorama Route Itinerary, here’s some info that you might find helpful!

The road along the Panorama Route, Mpumalanga, South Africa
The road along the Panorama Route in South Africa
Traveling Soon? Here is a list of our favourite travel providers and accessories to help get you ready for your upcoming trip!
  • Book Your Accommodation HERE
  • Search for Great Tours HERE
  • Get a Car Rental HERE
  • Buy Travel Insurance HERE
  • See our Favourite Camera Bag HERE
  • Grab a Reusable Water Bottle HERE or a Filtration Straw HERE
  • Order an eSim HERE

Where Does The Panorama Route Start And End?

The spectacular Panorama Route begins at Long Tom Pass, just outside the town of Lydenburg. Then, it heads through Sabie and Graskop to the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It ends near Echo Caves.

The main stretch of the road follows the R532 and is about 160km long. 

Panorama Route drive map South Africa

Panorama Route Towns & Highlights

1. Lydenburg

This town sits at the foothills of the Long Tom Pass. The Panorama Route starts just outside Lydenburg, so it’s a popular place to drive through. The scenery that greets you is beautiful–from spectacular waterfalls to rolling hills. Its close proximity to town makes it a good add-on to Kruger safaris, being just 1hr and 30min away from Kruger National Park. 

2. Long Tom Pass

A beautiful mountain pass on the Great Escarpment, between Lydenburg and Sabie where the Panorama Route begins. It’s only a small section of the route, but has about 20 points of interest that offer breathtaking views of the Sabie Valley. Go all the way to the top and you’ll find a huge silver cannon called the Long Tom that the pass was named after.

Long Tom Pass, Panorama Route, South Africa
Long Tom Pass – it’s a misty spot no matter the season!

3. Sabie

A forested town on the banks of the Sabie River, Sabie is nestled within the Drakensberg Escarpment. The town is known for its beautiful nature and abundant waterfalls, with 10 just within the town vicinity and further afield. Eight of the most spectacular waterfalls in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province are connected via the Sabie Waterfall Route.

Sabie Falls, Panorama Route, South Africa
Sabie Falls, Panorama Route, South Africa

4. Horseshoe Falls

An easy walk from a campsite gets a superb view of the falls, which cascade down the mountain in a sort of horseshoe shape. Although the falls are not very high, their shape is very unusual and breathtaking in its own right. It’s become a National Monument and a must-see along the route. Visitors are also welcome to swim in the refreshing pools or appreciate the birdlife and other wildlife on the trails. There’s a small fee of about R10 to explore the area.

5. Lone Creek Falls

Just 9km from Sabie Town, Lone Creek is considered a National Monument. It’s the tallest waterfall in Mpumalanga, tumbling down 70 metres into the forest. To reach the foot of the falls, you’ll need to go through an easy 60m walk through an indigenous forest trail. Enjoy a picnic at the designated area, which has wide lawns and shade trees, as well as braai (South African BBQ) and toilet facilities.

Lone Creek Falls, Sabie, Panorama Route, South Africa
Lone Creek Falls, Sabie

6. Bridal Veil Falls

An incredible 146-metre high waterfall that sprays over the edge of forest-covered cliffs. The soft, misty spray from the waterfall forms a beautiful veil, hence its unique name. To reach the falls, there’s an easy path that’s less than a kilometre long, which cuts through indigenous forests. A small fee of about R17 is required upon entrance.

7. Graskop

A small town that was set up in the 1880s during the gold rush and which now serves as one of the main towns along the Panorama Route. Graskop is the perfect base for exploring some of the region’s most beautiful attractions and lookout points. Its streets are also lined with pancake and biltong stores which are popular with tourists.

8. Mac Mac Falls 

(and 3km Secretary Bird Trail): These 65-metre-high falls have been made a National Monument. They are the perfect falls to swim and paddle around, with deep pools at the base of the falling water, which you can pay to enter. You can also take the Secretary Bird Trail through the indigenous bush alongside the pools.

Mac Mac Falls, Panorama Route
Mac Mac Falls, Panorama Route

9. God’s Window

A famous natural landmark on the edge of a 700-metre cliff, here the world seems to open up right in front of you as you look across the edge of the Great Escarpment. The cliff edge stretches for about 250km, and you can follow a trail to the highest point for views of the magnificent vista. 

10. The Pinnacle Rock

A craggy, massive quartzite rock, The Pinnacle stands tall at 30 metres in a ravine that extends to the Lowveld below the escarpment. The standalone pillar makes for a unique sight to see, surrounded by brightly-coloured aloes and drawing in local birds and insect species.

Pinnacle Rock
Pinnacle Rock

11. Lisbon Falls

Known as the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga, this one flows down 94 metres from the cliff-top down to Lisbon Creek. The Lisbon Falls are named after the capital of Portugal, which was also a farm in the region. The candle-shaped falls are best visited through an hour-long hike down the base of the falls, where afterwards, you can take a dip in the clear blue pool. There are also shaded picnic spots where visitors can take a break and appreciate the breathtaking scenery. 

12. Berlin Falls

A beautiful waterfall that cascades down 80 metres and falls into a mesmerizing jade pool. It was named “Berlin” by European miners who flocked here during the days of the gold rush. The falls is best seen from a vantage point that’s a short walk from the carpark. Aside from the stunning views, there’s also plenty of birdlife in the area, making it a great stop for those who are interested in finding different species.

Berlin Falls
Berlin Falls

13. Pilgrim’s Rest

A preserved town that has been left in the same way it was during the 1800s gold rush. The entire town has been declared a National Monument, and many consider it to be one of the most beautiful towns in the country. You can have a beer in the old pub and poke around in the old general store, which will transport you back in time.

14. Blyde River Canyon Reserve

This 25km long canyon is the third-largest in the world and has been formed over millions of years of rivers cutting deep into the escarpment of the Drakensberg. 

Aside from these fun Blyde River Canyon facts, it’s an incredible natural landmark and offers some of the best Panorama Route activities and opportunities to get out in nature in South Africa. From viewpoints to amazing spots like the potholes, walking trails, there’s plenty to do here.

Blyde Canyon, Panorama Route
Blyde River Canyon

15. Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Just 35km north of Graskop, the potholes are a natural water feature that marks the start of the Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. The naturally made potholes have formed over thousands of years and are like carved-out swirling whirlpools. There’s a short walk to the potholes from the visitors’ centre.

Blyde Canyon, Panorama Route
Burke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde Canyon, Panorama Route

16. Three Rondavels

Three stunning, gigantic peaks of quartzite and shale stand 700 metres above the surrounding landscape. There is an incredible Blyde River Canyon viewpoint, which looks across to the Three Rondavels for a perfect photograph. It’s one of the most popular Panorama Route attractions.

Kadishi Trail: This 2km hike into the ravine of the canyon is a great option for any age and fitness level. It’s dotted with falls, swimming holes and picnic opportunities making it one of the best Blyde River Canyon activities.

Loerie Trail: A circular 14km hiking route that takes you through stunning pine plantations and is perfect for those with more time and energy.

Echo Caves: These natural caves have sheltered humans since the Stone Age and now protect some of the region’s oldest rock engravings. The caves also boast dripstone formations that echo when struck, hence earning the place its name.

Overlooking the Three Sisters in Blyde River Canyon
Overlooking the Three Rondavels in Blyde River Canyon

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Garden Route Itinerary

How Long Does It Take To Drive The Magnificent Panorama Route?

A Panorama Route itinerary can be from one to three days, depending on how much time you have and what you want to see along the way. 

Panorama Route – Kruger National Park – 1 Day

In 1 long day, it’s possible to cover the main highlights. 

  • Depart Johannesburg early in the morning. 
  • Stop in Sabie to see the Falls and Graskop for lunch and to visit the nearby Mac Mac Falls
  • In the afternoon, drive through the main viewpoints of the Blyde River Canyon before finishing your day.
Overlooking the Blyde Canyon, Panorama Route
Overlooking the Blyde River Canyon, Panorama Route

Panorama Route – Kruger National Park – 2 Days

In a 2 day itinerary you could have a more laid back trip and relax at some of the main sights. This is a more common time frame for a Panorama Route tour. 

  • Depart Johannesburg at your leisure.
  • Overnight in Misty Mountain Lodge in Long Tom Pass. 
  • Next day, explore the waterfalls in Sabie and near Graskop. The extra time could be used to explore the towns a bit more. Check out the local market and shops in Graskop. 
  • Spend the afternoon at the Blyde River Canyon

Panorama Route – Kruger National Park – 3 Days 

A 3-day itinerary would allow you to see everything at a leisurely pace. In a similar plan to the 2-day itinerary, you could stay overnight in Long Tom Pass, before spending the day at Sabie Falls and swimming in Mac Mac Falls near Graskop. You could stay overnight in Graskop before visiting the Blyde River Canyon and all the main viewpoints along the way, like God’s Window and Three Rondavels.

Where To Stay On The Panorama Route

Misty Mountain Lodge, Long Tom Pass

Misty Mountain Lodge offers comfortable country lodge accommodations with stunning views over rolling hills. They offer studio rooms for 2 people, cottage-style family rooms for 4, and a spacious farmhouse that sleeps 10, making it a great Panorama route accommodation choice for couples, families, and groups of friends. 

On-site, they have a delicious restaurant, 2 swimming pools, as well as lots of adventure activities—one of them being South Africa’s only monorail toboggan ride. The lodge is one of the most popular Blyde River Canyon accommodation options since it’s a great starting point for any of their tours. The famous Panorama Route attractions and Kruger Park are also easily accessible from here.

Rustique, Graskop

Rustique is a homely guest house decorated, as the name suggests, in tasteful rustic style. Guests can choose between en-suites that offer accommodations for up to 3 people, or self-catering houses that can fit up to 4 people. 

There are no TVs in any of the rooms; instead, guests are more than welcome to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while lounging around the large garden or head out to nearby attractions such as God’s Window or MacMac Falls. The property is also within walking distance to a few restaurants and shops.

Thandamanzi Self Catering, Sabie

Thandamanzi features self-catering rooms located in a historic farm-like setting on the outskirts of Sabie. Their accommodations feature stunning mountain views and consist of one self-catering cottage and 4 guest rooms. Each unit comes with an en-suite bathroom. The cottage can accommodate 3 guests and comes with a fully equipped kitchen, a lounge with a TV, and braai facilities. Meanwhile, the guest rooms can accommodate 2 guests and have a fridge, microwave, and tea and coffee-making facilities. 

There’s a fully-equipped communal kitchen and barbecue facilities that guests are more than welcome to use. There’s also a communal lounge and veranda with beautiful views of Sabie river and the mountains.

Entry Fees And Other Costs

Many of the viewpoints and attractions have entry fees.

  • Three Rondavels and Blyde River Canyon: 90 Rand per adult
  • Echo Caves: 85 Rand
  • Bourke’s Luck Potholes: 75 Rand
  • Mac Mac Pools: 36 Rand
  • God’s Window: 20 Rand per adult 
  • The Pinnacle Rock: 20 Rand per adult 
  • Berlin Falls: 20 Rand
  • Lisbon Falls: 15 Rand
  • Forest Falls: 20 Rand
  • Lone Creek Falls: 36 Rand

In terms of budgeting for a self-drive, you can expect car rental to cost from around US$15-20 per day. However, it really depends on the type of car you’re after. Fuel costs around 15.50 Rand per litre and you can get Panorama Route accommodation for between US$40-60 per night. 


Get the best car rental rates by booking ahead! Discover Cars compares prices across all major car rental companies, so you are guaranteed to get the best deal.

Self Drive Vs Organized Tour

The Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon is best done on a self-driving adventure as it gives you the flexibility to stop wherever you want and take your time as you travel along the road. The main road is tarred and well sign-posted, making it easy to go along scenic self-drive routes. Just make sure you remember to drive on the left!

READ NEXT: Everything You Need To Know About Driving And Renting A Car In South Africa

There are plenty of tour options though if you don’t have the time or prefer not to drive yourself. There are Panorama Route day tours that you can organize depending on your budget and available time.

Full Panorama Route Day Tour from Hazyview: This tour covers most of the spectacular sights and attractions from Hazyview, a town between Kruger National Park and the Blyde River Canyon.

Half-Day Highlights Tour: With less time, you could do a half-day highlights tour of the Panorama Route, taking in a couple of viewpoints and waterfalls. 

Blyde River Canyon & Boat Cruise: Tours can also include a Blyde River Canyon boat cruise along the river, which provides a totally different perspective of the natural landscape of this region. 

Panaroma route road
Panaroma route road
Panorama route
Panorama route view

No matter how you choose to explore this beautiful part of South Africa, we highly recommend that you add the Panorama Route to your itinerary. It’s the perfect detour en route from Johannesburg to Kruger Park!

Have You Driven Along South Africa’s Panorama Route? What Were Your Favourite Stops Along The Way?

8 thoughts on “16 Stops on the Panorama Route, South Africa | 2024 Guide”

  1. Koebraa Peters

    Thank you for this amazing article. We are planning a trip to Kruger and really want to do the Blyde river canyon and panorama route on our way back home. This was extremely informative and certainly makes us want to go for sure!

  2. It’s a driving route. Love the descriptions but would really appreciate a map to get an idea of where things are in relation to each other.

  3. Wow, thank you so much for this article. we are in Graskop and were deciding where to go to from there on. your article has been very helpful in helping us curate our tour of this beautiful province. and this amazing Panorama route.

  4. Want to do a tour from joburg with a group of 15 frm the usa… Any partucular guys (tour operator) that you can recommend to us.. We want to spend 3 nights near kruger…

  5. John Stratford

    Hi Oksana & Max,
    Can you tell me whether there are opening and closing times at the main scenic attractions? I want to visit at sunrise and sunset to get the better light. Also does it take considerable time to make ones way up, and down, from the higher views by car? Can you give me some background? I am thinking of staying at Ohrigstad, self-driving, and going late November to get the moody skies and mist effect.. Thanks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Download Japan Trip Itinerary

Enter your name and email to get our Japan Trip brochure with more details about this trip in your inbox.

Join our 2025 Group Trips Pre-sale List

Be the first to know about NEW Trips
and SPECIAL Offers!

Have 5 minutes to share more info?
Fill out the Pre-Sale trip survey HERE

Interested in joining us in Japan?

Love the sound of this trip?
Ready to book? Have some questions? 

Send an inquiry and let's chat!

Leave your details below and be the first to get updates, special deals, and connect with us directly about this trip!

Reignite the Feminine Retreat

Love the idea of a women-only retreat in September 2024?

Help me decide where we should go! 

Our women-only gatherings will be limited to 8-10 people, so leave your details below to add yourself to the waitlist.

We'll email you first to share all the details of the trip.