Blyde River Canyon Scenic Reserve

To get to the highlands from the steamy lowlands, we endured a stressful drive  on tortuous roads. Driving on mountainous roads inevitably make me tense and queasy. The roads are good but narrow and steep. I try not to look over the ledge as we make our way slowly around a hair pin turn. I look out of curiosity. “Oh man, that’s long drop!” Why did I look?  I hold my breath and try to stay quiet as I know that any shriek would only make Ryne a nervous wreck. Cars race up and down at crazy speeds. Only an idiot would speed on these dangerous roads! We passed several signs that read “Reduce speed. High accident area.” Finally, Ryne and I exhale a giant breath of relief when the road levels out on top of a high-elevation plateau. (Going back down was even more nerve rattling). Props to Ryne for remaining calm and driving judiciously!

The view on top was jaw-droppingly beautiful! It was like we entered another world. The air was delightfully cool and crisp and the flora was a dream. A few protea, South Africa’s national flower, were still in glorious bloom. We went to a few of the many attractions/view points in the area. Each offering its own scenic beauty for an entrance fee of $2-10. Each site had curio shops selling animal figurines, table cloths and wooden bowls. The women seemed so desperate to sell their goods. I browsed the lovely painted wooden bowls.  The woman says, “Which do you like, I give you a good deal.” I would’ve liked to buy one thing from each woman, but space is an issue and we still have 3 more months of traveling. Cypress adored all the little animal figurines so I let him pick two. He chose a cheetah and a buffalo.

We walked the short rocky path to the view point over Blyde River Canyon, Africa’s largest canyon and 3rd largest canyon on earth. We were all extremely happy to hike without the heavy worry of running into one of the ‘dangerous big 5’ (lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard). The view was stunning! Red sandstone cliffs and the caramel colored Blyde (‘joy’) river deep below was a sight to behold. Next, we hiked to the three rondavels or three sisters: 3 huge green-topped dolomite columns  on the opposite canyon wall. Cypress thought he was free as a bird and Daddy was chasing birds near the cliff edge with no railing. This made me a nervous Mama! Cypress stayed nearby and held my hand for the most part, but I had to keep telling my other boy to step away from the ledge!

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One of the many curio shops.
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Cypress really enjoyed the view and loved hiking the trails around this scenic reserve.
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The Three Rondavels on Blyde River Canyon
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Cypress eyeing wooden animal figurines.