It’s no surprise that South Africa is one of the most instagramable (is that now a word?) countries. The Panorama route is certainly evidence of that. I had visited the area when I was much younger, too young to remember evidently, so the long weekend in September coupled with a weak Rand provided the perfect opportunity for a refresher.
Car hired and boutique lodge booked, we set off North. The drive was comfortable and we even had time to stop at the Alzu Petroport. Definitely one of the fancier re-fueling stations with some game viewing. We don’t support animals in captivity however the various animals seemed to get along. If you have been to the Kruger and don’t need to re-fuel, I wouldn’t stop.
Given that we had left Johannesburg much later in the day, we arrived in Hoedspruit when it was quite dark. Our hosts Yvette and Des made our check in process pain free with recommendations of the best places to eat and the must see attractions.
The Bushbaby river lodge is located in the Hoedspruit wildlife estate. There are only a few rooms so it doesn’t get overcrowded. Breakfast is included with the stay and lunch can be prepared on request.
Each room is freestanding with its own entrance/deck providing privacy and the best part was the outdoor shower which we took advantage of everyday. There is also a bath tub for those who prefer this. The bed was a bit hard for my liking but this is personal preference.
Seeing as it is within the wildlife estate, there are animals that roam around, we saw warthogs and zebra. Two zebras did get into a fight which we thought would see them running through the bar area so we retreated to our room for the rest of the evening. Always bear in mind that these are still wild animals…
The Panorama route can be done in a day and these are the spots you should check off your list:
Blyde River Canyon and Three Rondavels- views will depend on the weather;
Bourke’s Luck Potholes- a must do;
Various Falls- Berlin, Mac Mac and Lisbon;
God’s window- unfortunately there was a fire just a few days before but the views are the same; and
New Graskop lift which was very impressive and takes you down to a forest providing some relief from the heat.
Places to eat at:
Hat & Creek- Varied menu, good food and service;
Boskombuis- Definitely a must visit at lunch time to make the most of the Braai
Any visit to this part of SA is not complete if you don’t stop at Harries Pancakes on the way, so save some space for this. There are sweet and savoury options depending on your taste.
Being in the area and knowing that we would not go back we took a detour to Pilgrims Rest, now a museum town but then a thriving mining town. There are a few shops open but it is pretty much a ghost town.
The owner of the coffee shop was friendly and we tried out his coffee and my friend went for the mampoer (SA’s equivalent of moonshine) milkshake (not for the faint hearted).
If you’re looking for a quick break from the bustling Jozi, I would recommend this trip, just be wary of the potholes on your way there!
Happy New Year! We hope you will continue to enjoy this journey with us!