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 Picnic spot Picnic spot
 Historic site Historic site
 Educational Educational
 Fun activity Fun activity
 Toilet facilities Toilet facilities
 Gravel road Gravel road
 Recommended for rainy days Rainy day route

  Area Map

 

Hint for
Photographers

For the best lighting conditions on the waterfalls and other scenic spots, travel south of Graskop (Sabie area) in the morning.

Conversely, travel north of Graskop in the afternoon for optimum viewing conditions at God's Window, Pinnacle & Blyde River Canyon.

 
Caution:
When visiting the waterfalls, stay on the pathways and stay well within the demarcated viewpoints. The rocks at some of the viewpoints are slippery, especially when wet

 

Short, day-trip drives from Sabie

Escarpment Route

The Escarpment Route - with more than 30 points of interest, is but a small section of the Panorama Route.

Starting in Sabie, take the R532 road towards Graskop.  From Graskop follow the R532 for 2 km and then turn off on the R534 circular road, back to the R532.  Follow the R532 north towards Ohrigstad.  From Ohrigstad, return with the R36 via Lydenburg or the R533 road via Pilgrim's Rest, back to Sabie.

By far the most of these points of interest covers the spectacular grandeur of Mother Nature. Completion of this route will require a full day and an early start is advisable.

Places of interest are listed in the order that you would probably visit them when departing from Sabie.

Webmaster's Note:
Although the crime rate in the area is low, petty theft does occur from time to time. You are advised to lock your parked vehicles.

 

Mac Mac Pools Picnic spotToilet facilitiesFun activity
Mac Mac Pools is 15 km from Sabie on the R532 road to Graskop.  The Pools is in a shallow rocky river with drops into a series of pools.  The crystal clear, cool water makes for refreshing swimming and splashing after a hot day's sightseeing.  Excellent picnic and toilets facilities. The circular 3 km Secretary Bird Walk begin and ends here.  Facilities at the Pools are wheelchair friendly.  For photos see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R20/person

 

Webmaster's Note:
Mac Mac Pools is not a quick viewpoint - you would probably want to spend some time here. Suggest you use it as an early morning breakfast stop or - on the way back - for a late afternoon braai & swim.


Mac Mac Falls Toilet facilities
The 65 m high Mac Mac Falls is 15 km from Sabie on the R532 road to Graskop. The falls was declared a National Monument in 1983.  A long stone step pathway (wheelchair unfriendly) leads from the curio stalls down to a viewpoint above the falls.  For photos see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R10/car, R20/minibus, R100/bus (passengers included)

Maria Shires Falls & Grave
The petite Maria Shires Falls is 15km from Sabie on the R532 road to Graskop, immediately after the railway crossing on the left hand side of the main road.  The grave of Maria Shires is close to the falls.  She was the mother of Joseph Brook Shires who planted the first commercial trees in the area.  For photos see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: none

Forest Falls Picnic spotToilet facilities
Forest Falls is 18km from Sabie on the R532 road to Graskop immediately after the railway crossing.  A refreshing walk takes you through fragrant pine forests to the falls - the only waterfall in the area that is wider than it is high.  Toilet facilities are available at the picnic spot.  For photos see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R20/person Hiking Permit required
         (obtainable from Forestry Museum in town)

 

Webmaster's Note:
Forest Falls are a delightful visit, but you are not allowed to drive there.  You have to park at the picnic spot and walk the 7km circular route to the falls. If you are pressed for time consider saving it for another day - possibly in combination with a visit to Mac Mac Pools.


Jock of the Bushveld Memorial Historic site
This memorial is located next to the R532 road to Graskop, 18km from Sabie at the turnoff to the Mac Mac Forest Retreat.  The ceramic floor tiles depict the rivers and the routes of the area as used by the coaches and transport riders during the gold-rush days.  By lining up the hub of the wagon wheel with the ceramic name tags, these tags indicate the exact direction of towns and prominent geographical features of the area.  A Jock of the Bushveld waymaker is also located at the entrance to the memorial. See our BLOG for more information.
Fees: none

Natural Bridge
This natural wonder is 26.4km from Sabie on the R532 road to Graskop (2.3km from Graskop and 3km from the Pilgrim's Rest turnoff).  Park at the curio stalls and follow the short footpath into a small gorge where the Mac Mac river carved a path under rocks to form a natural bridge.
Fees: none

Graskop Town Toilet facilities
The small town of Graskop is 30km from Sabie at an altitude of 1,490 m a.s.l. There are a number of fine curio shops, pancake bars and coffee shops in Graskop. There is a Jock of the Bushveld waymarker in the garden of the Municipal offices. For more information, visit the Graskop website.

Tsinini Silk Weavery Educational
The Tsinini Silk Weavery in Graskop (Louis Trichardt Street) is well worth a visit. Silk thread is extracted from the cocoons of both the traditional silkworm, as well as from South Africa's own indigenous silkworm.  The silk is spun into garments that are for sale at the weavery. A demonstration of the process will be given on request.
Fees: R55/adult, R40/child (5-12 years), pensioners

Panorama Falls Fun activityToilet facilities
Only 1.5km from Graskop on the R533 road towards Hazyview and Bushbuck Ridge, this short detour to view the Panorama Gorge and Falls is well worth the time and effort.  Gorge swinging and high wire sliding are done across the gorge - for more information see our Adventure & Sport page.

The Pinnacle Rock Toilet facilities
The Pinnacle Rock, a tower-like freestanding quartzite buttress which rises 30m above the dense indigenous forest, is 6km north of Graskop on the R534 road (a scenic loop off the R532 road). To the right of the Pinnacle Rock is the first of eight small waterfalls in the Ngwaritsane River. For photos see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R10/adult, R5/child/pensioner

God's Window Toilet facilities
God's Window - so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld (and in the distance the Kruger National Park) more than 900m below - is 9.2km north of Graskop on the R534 road. From the parking area a steep footpath along the edge of the escarpment leads to the actual view site where there is a Wild Nature Reserve at an altitude of 1,829 m a.s.l. Curio stalls and toilet facilities are at the parking area. Not wheelchair friendly. For photos see our Picture Gallery page.  Choose a clear day to best enjoy the view.
Fees: R10/adult, R5/child/pensioner

Wonder View
Wonder View is the highest viewpoint on the Escarpment accessible to the motorist. It has an even more magnificent view than at God's Window.  It is 1.3km north of God's Window (10.5km from Graskop), still on the R534 road.
Fees: R10/car

Lisbon Falls
Where the R534 rejoins the R532 road, you turn left (back towards Graskop) for 800m and then right onto a gravel road. The falls is a further 2.2km. At 92m the Lisbon Falls is the highest waterfall in the area. For photo see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R10/car, R20/minibus, R100/bus (passengers included)

Berlin Falls
From Lisbon Falls you drive back to the tar road (R532) and turn left (north). Drive for 2km (past the R534 turnoff) and then turn off left.  Drive past the Berlin Sawmill and at 2km from the main road, turn left and park at the parking area. A short walk takes you to a vantage point overlooking the 45m high Berlin Falls. For photo see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R10/car, R20/minibus, R100/bus (passengers included)

Oswald Pirow's Grave Historic siteGravel road
The grave of this South African statesman and author is located 24km north of Graskop just off the R532 road.

Bourke's Luck Potholes Toilet facilitiesPicnic spotEducational
This world renown landmark is 35km north of Graskop on the R532 road at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur rivers. Over millions of years waterborne sand and rock scoured huge cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.  The main building houses a Visitor's Centre displaying a model of the Blyde River Canyon, a permanent exhibition of the fauna and flora of the area, as well as the cultural and historical aspects of the Nature Reserve. The offices of Mpumalanga Nature Conservation have a laboratory for biological research and a well equipped herbarium open to the public during office hours.

The 700m walk (wheelchair unfriendly) to the actual potholes start at the main building. There are also two short circular hiking routes (Bourke's Luck Potholes Interpretive Trail and the Bushman Nature Trail) that start at the main building. For photo see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees:
R50/adult, R25/child/pensioner

Lowveld View
From Bourke's Luck Potholes, continue north on the R532 road for another 9km to the Lowveld View turnoff (36km from Graskop). From here the coloured strata of the awe-inspiring rugged peaks of the Blyde River Canyon can be viewed. Far below the Blyde River foams and tumbles along the rocky Canyon floor, winding like an enormous green snake to the mouth of the Canyon and the Blyde River Dam between Mariepskop and Swadini. Dense vegetation with moss and ferns fill the deep valleys, whilst the upper krantzes are covered with vivid coloured lichen. For photo see our Picture Gallery page.

Three Rondawels View
Further north along the R532 road, the turnoff to the Three Rondawels viewpoint is 4.6km from the Lowveld View turnoff (41km from Graskop) and the parking area another 2.8km further.  The word "Rondawel" is a South African word that refers to a round hut-like dwelling (usually with a thatched roof). The three well known gigantic peaks of quartzite and shale with their sheer rock walls tower more than 700m above the surrounding landscape. These peaks are named after the three most troublesome wives of the local Chief (Maripi Mashile). They are (from left to right) Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto. For photo see our Picture Gallery page.
Fees: R20/adult, R10/child/pensioner

Blyde River Canyon View Toilet facilities
The viewpoint to the Three Rondawels and the viewpoint to the Blyde Canyon is one-and-the-same viewpoint and the entrance fee is applicable to both.

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and was formed by rivers cutting deep into the Escarpment and eroding millions of tons of rock which were carried to the Lowveld and beyond to the Indian Ocean.  More than 700m below, the 370ha Blyde River Dam is visible towards the lower end of the canyon at the confluence of the Blyde and Ohrigstad Rivers.  For photo see our Picture Gallery page.  For more information about the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, see our Natural Heritage page.

Museum of Man EducationalHistoric siteGravel road
Take the turnoff to the Echo Caves where the R532 joins with the R36 road for the Museum of Man.  This open-air museum depicts archaeological and paleontological artefacts.

Echo Caves Fun activityToilet facilitiesGravel road
Continue past the Museum of Man for the Echo Caves. The name "Echo" was given to these ancient caves, as a certain stalactite formation produces a distinctive echoing sound when tapped on. This echo can still be heard on the outside of the cave today. Guided tours every day.
Times: 08:30 - 16:00
Fees: R50/adult, R20/kid (under 15 years)

The Shoe Fun activityToilet facilities
Drive back to the R36 and then turn right (south) towards Ohrigstad for 1km.  Pop in at this unusual landmark. The Shoe is where the 'old lady' lived with her many children as the nursery rhyme says. Except the furniture of the 'old lady', The Shoe also contains a museum, art gallery, curio shop and tea garden. The Shoe is also the entrance to the Alfa Omega Cave (manmade). 

Voortrekker Fort & Cemetery Historic site
From the Shoe continue south on the R36 towards Ohrigstad.  The town Ohrigstad have a rich history linked to the Voortrekkers and the town was, for a short time, the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.  Three kilometres north of the town is the remaining portion of what was once a fort used by the Voortrekkers and close by is a cemetery and a monument in remembrance of the many Voortrekkers who succumbed to malaria.

 

Webmaster's Note:
This concludes the Escarpment Route. By the time you reach Ohrigstad you are probably running low on daylight anyway. Suggest you return to Sabie either via Pilgrim's Rest (R533 and then R532 roads), or via Lydenburg (R36 and then R37 roads).

Pilgrim's Rest and Lydenburg are covered by the Long Tom Route.


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