Take In Breathtaking Views Of South Africa's Landscapes On This Road Trip Route

South Africa's road trips are pretty epic and with such a bounty of landscapes and incredible culture, driving is one of the best ways to see this diverse country. The Panorama Route from Pilgrim's Rest to Hoedspruit is a 130-mile journey that takes you through gorges, nature reserves, and other dramatic African landscapes.

It has been described as one of the 10 best road trips in the world by Condé Nast but is often overshadowed by more famous drives like the Garden Route between Mossel Bay and Storms River. One highlight of this road trip is that it can be bookended by a safari or an overnight stay at one of the many surrounding wildlife reserves. As there are so many jaw-dropping natural features along the Panorama Route, you can see several points of interest in one day. However, it is better to take your time, as the beauty of a South African road trip is that you never really know what beauty or rare wildlife lies just around the corner.

Where to visit on the Panorama Route

As the name suggests, this road trip is all about the views and the thing to do on this journey is enjoy the rugged natural landscapes. One of the most famous sights is the Blyde River Canyon which was dubbed "the world's greenest canyon" as it is verdant and not dry like most deep rock valleys. Here you will see the Three Rondavels, an impressive trio of rock formations. If you're interested in geology, the nearby Bourke's Luck Potholes are unique features formed by whirlpools many years ago.

You can also see beautiful vistas from the God's Window viewpoint and the three most popular waterfalls – Mac Mac, Berlin, and Lisbon Falls. It is possible to explore on foot along hiking trails, enjoy vistas from the river on a raft or boat, or take in the sights from the sky on a helicopter or hot air balloon tour. Dotted along or close to the route are places to dine, buy local handicrafts, or try local wine. One unmissable place to tack on to the end of your road trip is the world-famous Kruger National Park, which is only an hour's drive away from Hoedspruit. On a Kruger safari, you can see the "Big Five," which includes lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and elephants, as well as other unique wildlife like giraffes, hyenas, hippos, and zebras. Once you've chosen what you're going to see on the panorama route, you just need to decide whereabouts to stay.

Where to stay on the Panorama Route

Pilgrim's Rest is a great place to stay at the start of the route but is also a tourist location in itself. It is a gold rush town which now functions as a living museum to tell the history of mining here. Even though it is now a national monument and no longer a mine, it is believed that there still may be some gold beneath the surface. Mount Sheba is a top choice for travelers in Pilgrim's Rest, as it is located in the nearby nature reserve where waterfalls and wildlife can be seen. If you want to spend a few nights driving the Panorama Route, sleeping in Graskop is a great option as it's close to the Mac Mac Forest Reserve. The top-rated place to stay here is the Graskop Hotel.

After reaching Hoedspruit may want to head straight to accommodation in one of the surrounding wildlife reserves, like the Kruger National Park, to be fully immersed in this quintessential South African safari experience. However, if that isn't on your itinerary, you can stay at Swadini, a Forever Resort, which is ideally positioned between the Blyde River Canyon reserve and the Drakensberg mountain range. Wherever you stay in the area, you are bound to see unforgettable views in this area which is known for having a wealth of excellent scenery conveniently gathered in one place.