This is a world-renowned dramatically scenic northern Drakensberg escarpment route close to the Kruger National Park. It includes such sights as God's Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, several beautiful waterfalls including the Mac Mac, Lisbon, and Sabie Falls.
One of its main highlights is Blyde River Canyon the second deepest in the world after the Grand Canyon, and the deepest of all green canyons (not in a desert) in the world. We sometimes if time allows visiting Pilgrims Rest, an old 19th-century gold-mining town preserved in its entirety. The cemetery at Pilgrims Rest and the headstone inscriptions make interesting reading and it is beautifully situated looking over the town.
We also go through one of the highest towns in South Africa, Dullstroom ( if proceeding from Johannesburg) at over 2000 metres, which regularly has snow and heavy frost in winter and cross the Long Tom Pass where the road descends a winding route from 2000 metres to below 400 at Hazyview where they grow bananas and oranges. The Long Tom Pass is named after the cannons manufactured by Le Creuset in the 19th century France, the very latest in long-distance shelling weaponry of the day with which the Boers bombarded the advancing British, and of which one remaining stands beneath the summit of the pass.
The best way to see the Panorama Route is to do the stayover for a one-night tour in the misty town of Graskop, getting to your lodge in the Kruger the next day. Or vice versa after your safari in Kruger going back to Johannesburg. Please read the description of an overnight trip. We usually use the following tried and trusted accommodation. Sabie Guest Lodge ( 3 star), Westlodge ( 4 star), Flycatcher Castle ( 5 star)
From Hamilton’s and Pestana and other Kruger Lodges, we do do the Day Trip back up on to the route. It does not cover all the above but most of the important highlights.
2020: ZAR6,750.00 per person sharing, ZAR11,390.00 for a solo traveller, and ZAR2,190.00 for a child under the age of 12 years old sharing with at least one adult.
2021: ZAR7,060.00 per person sharing, ZAR11,920.00 for a solo traveller, and ZAR2,290.00 for a child under the age of 12 years old sharing with at least one adult.
Itinerary for This Tour
Meet and greet by guide at you Johannesburg/ Pretoria hotel or the airport and depart for the town of Sabie via the Long Tom Pass (weather allowing). For this itinerary, it is necessary to depart the Johannesburg region before 12:00pm at the latest in the winter months (May-August) or 13:00 the rest of the year in order to cross the Long Tom Pass in the daylight hours. Of course, the earlier you can go on this day the better and the more sites can be visited.
Passing through the town of Dullstroom you reach points on the central plateau (called the Highveld) that are over 2000 metres. Although the region can have very pleasant temperatures in the daytime throughout most of the year, at night and during winter they can plunge well below freezing. Log fires are considered a popular treat in all the guest houses. Trout, a fish that thrives in cold water, have been introduced to local rivers and streams. It is a popular destination for fly fishers and many north European trees and plants grow here too. Snow is common in winter.
We will stop on route to have a quick "on the go" snack lunch.
Once over the Long Tom Pass, we journey through the forestry town of Sabie and misty Graskop village at the edge of the escarpment with its famous lift down into the deep leafy subtropical hardwood forest in the gorge below. Usually, on this day, we go to God’s Window and Lisbon Waterfalls but we might also choose to go to Three Rondawels viewpoint of the Blyde Canyon first. It depends on which part of the Kruger Park you are going to.
Accommodation at Graskop Hotel, Lunch, Dinner, Bed, and Breakfast
Rise early this morning for breakfast at the hotel/lodge. Our guide will depart with you and take you for the balance of the Panorama Route Tour not covered the day before, all entrance fees and lunch (usually traditional pancakes savoury and sweet in the mist belt town of Graskop) included.
There are some stimulating but not too strenuous walks to the various viewpoints and waterfalls to be done and this together with the clean high mountain air will give you an appetite! But do wear good walking shoes, hat and sunscreen on both days of this tour. When it is not misty the sunshine is very bright and intense even in the cooler weather.
Finally, but only if you are going to northern Kruger or to stay at Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Moholoholo Forest Camp, the wonderful animal rehabilitation centre picturesquely situated underneath the cliffs in a small game reserve at the bottom of the escarpment, we traverse the Abel Erasmus Pass which also has many unusual attractions including a “Tufa” waterfall, more dramatic mountain scenery and finally at the bottom catch sight of your first Baobab Tree.
If staying at Moholoholo for an extra night we can then arrange the boat trip on the Blyde River into the canyon beneath the towering cliffs of the Drakensberg escarpment and if you have a binocular see the tiny figures of people viewing the canyon from where you did on top the day before!
Your guide will drop you at your Kruger area location in the evening (or back in Johannesburg if doing it at the end of your safari or the local Nelspruit airport or Johannesburg airport to fly home or to Cape Town).
- Private guide and vehicle,
- Entrance fees to attractions along the Panorama Route,
- Lunch on the Panorama Route,
- 1-night accommodation at Graskop Hotel, Dinner, Bed, and Breakfast.
- Any accommodation before or after the tour,
- Additional transportation before or after the tour,
- Meals not specified
- Drinks, gratuities, telephone calls & other items of a personal nature
- International & domestic flights
Please note that this tour can be done in reverse. This itinerary can be added either onto the beginning or the end of our Kruger National Park Package.
Accommodation Note: All the hotels and lodges are as reflected in this itinerary, but if for reasons beyond the control of Mmilo Tours this is not possible, they will be replaced with establishments of the same star grading.
Important: Please read the itinerary carefully, noting any optional activities you or some members in your group may want to take part in. You do not have to take part in any of the optional activities if you do not wish to. It helps us in our planning to know if you are interested and number of participants.
These additional optional activities are not costed into this scheduled tour, and if you choose them, you pay the extra amount involved either directly to Mmilo Tours in advance, or on arrival at the venue. You will be informed accordingly by Mmilo Tours, and they are extra to the basic cost of the tour.
All our tours and packages are subject to availability at the time of booking and payment and accommodation is in a standard double room at Graskop Hotel.