From being a tour guide, I learned to never let the weather deter me from attempting to experience what I am there to experience. Of course if safety is being challenged, then I need to make a decision. But I try to not let drizzle or rain take away from the adventure. In some ways it adds to it, just like Tropical Storm Dineo did.
Upon recommendation, I wanted to see the “Panorama Route” near Hazyview. An all-day drive takes a person to some of the most spectacular scenic views the area has to offer. Lookout points over canyons, mountain formations, rushing rivers, waterfalls and quaint towns awaited me. I decided to request the professional guiding experience of the Laughing Waters Guesthouse Manager, John so that I would be able to enjoy the scenery around me as he navigated the path and potholes while providing interesting information along the way.
Because of Dineo, we experienced drizzle, rain, and low clouds. While I was not able to see all of the sights boasted about in online articles due to the low clouds, I did get to see the waters rush like they have never rushed before in the area. In fact, John told me that in all the years he has lived and guided in the area, he has never experienced such a high volume of rushing water. This really was unique timing to be along the eastern side of South Africa.
Blyde River Canyon
At over sixteen miles long and on average 2,500 feet high, Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on earth. Since it is found in a subtropical climate, it is often green with lush foliage and colorful wildflowers. The rock walls are a swirl of brown and orange. As I gazed upon the natural beauty of this canyon, I could not help but feel like I was standing in a painting. It really is a breathtaking beauty.
In Blyde River Canyon is Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Round “potholes” have been carved into the side of the rock from the many, many years of water swirling. Due to the volume of water rushing through this place, the potholes were difficult to see. But this is also the location where the Treur River joins with the Blyde River. In Afrikaans, Treur means “sorrow” or “sad” and Blyde means “joy” or “happy.” At this point, the “sad river” joins with the “happy river” and together they live happily ever after in unity.
Lisbon Falls and Bridal Veil Falls
The Panorama Route has a number of waterfalls along the way. Usually, the falls are mild with a relatively low line of water flowing over the edge. But with the constant rainfall for over a week or so, these waterfalls were flowing at high volume. I could feel the power in my feet and chest as the water thundered down the rock fronts to the bottom. The mist rose up the sides of the canyon in a thickness the local people had not experienced before. Even in the drizzling rain, the waterfalls were a sight to be seen.
Before I get too far on the subject of Harrie’s Pancakes, I should really inform you about the difference in South Africa between pancakes and flapjacks. From what I could read online, the batter differs by a couple ingredients but I am a simple person who likes the gist of things. So for the gist of it, a flapjack is pretty much the same as a pancake or flapjack in America. A pancake is made with a similar batter but rolled with ingredients stuffed inside. I would venture to say it is the same concept as a crepe but thicker batter as the outer shell. Pancakes can come stuffed with sweet fillings like fruit, syrup, honey or chocolate but can also be filled with mince (ground beef), chicken, lamb, vegetables, cheese and more.
Harries’s Pancakes is a well-known stop along the Panorama Route and for good reason. After being in business for eighteen years, they know how to make the perfect pancakes. The restaurant will probably be packed when you arrive, so put your name on the list and feel free to wander to the shops and craft kiosks while you wait.
Even when the weather looks bad, make use of the time you have. Incorporate the rain into your adventure. You never know when the clouds will part just for a glimpse of sun to shine. You never know which sights will be more clear in the midst of a foggy day. You never know if animals will come out of hiding when normally they would not have on a hot, sunny day. And most times, your photos will turn out far more vibrant in cloudy conditions. Seize the moment and chase the adventure.