Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Pilgrim's Rest, God's Window
Pilgrim's Rest Travel Blog› entry 5 of 24 › view all entries
Today holds a lot of promisses, but we start with a good breakfast in the restaurant of our lodge, which is nicely decorated with an authentic feel to it. When everyone's in the bus we hit the road. We stop only once before arriving at the view point that looks over Blyde River Canyon. The river Blyde curves like a snake through the mountains, making the boats floating on the water look tiny. Everything made by nature in South Africa, is huge, making you feel very small.
On the other side of the canyon stand three round hills with steep edges and a cone-like top. They look much like the houses back at the lodge and are therefore called "The Three Rondavels". The cliffs are so steep, that only birds can get on and off the hilltops.
A hundred or so metres to the right there is another view point, that looks "around the corner" and gives a view of a different part of the valley. Again there's too little time and we have to go back to the bus. We wouldn't mind staying here a little longer.
Next stop is Bourke's Luck Potholes. This is where the rivers Blyde and Treur meet one another and at this location the water has ground the most spectacular shapes out of the rocky riverbed. This shows the power of water when it is given time. The paths to the site are paved and there are wooden bridges where needed, perfect for the many tourists that visit the potholes every day. Before we leave, it's time for coffee with marula on the side. The marula is a little smaller than a kiwi, but with a big solid core.
Pilgrim's Rest is our next destination, this is a village where in the old days "Wheelbarrow" Patterson struck gold. He had traveled 1600 kilometres from Capetown with all his belongings in a wheelbarrow. His motivation:"Horses need to eat, they can become ill and they can die, wheelbarrows don't." After his find became known, many people came here to try their luck and the village thrived. After the goldrush faded the town deteriorated, but it has been rebuilt in the way it looked back then. If you ever go there, make sure to visit the graveyard to see the robber's grave. It's very recognisable, because it's the only grave in the cemetery that's orientated north-south, all the others west-east. Nobody knows who is buried here, all that is known is that he was caught stealing a tent, put to justice and tossed in the grave.
Should you be in Pilgrim's Rest around lunch- or dinnertime, order your meal at The Vine. It's not fast, but the food is very good. I had Potjiekos, a stew of lamsmeat with butterrice served in a little cauldron. My girlfriend had grilled trout with a filling of almonds. Both were delicious.
Around three in the afternoon we're looking at the view God had when he looked out his window at the God's Window view point. Personally I liked the view at Blyde River Canyon better. People get spoiled so easily...
We spot a sign that says "Rainforest" and we decide to have a look. At the end of the paved path we walk straight into a small rainforest: it's damp, the vegetation is thick and very green and it looks as if we're in a completely different part of the world. This path too ends with a view, which is at least as nice as God's Window.
At about 5.30 pm we're back at Timbawati, where we relax, have a swim and spend the rest of the evening in the beautiful outdoors.