BLYDE RIVER CANYON
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest Canyon in the world and one of South Africa's scenic wonders.
The Canyon is characterized by striking rock formation of sedimentary origin, deposited in ancient geological times. Millions of years of erosion have exposed the sediments. Hard quartzite layers are seen today as sheer cliff faces in the canyon, while softer shale’s have weathered to form the inclined slopes between. An ancient dolomite layer has been almost entirely eroded in the reserve area, but still occurs in the vicinity immediately to the west. The most recent geological formation originates in the dolomite layer from which calcium is transported by water and is continuously deposited again to build up the unique TUFA cascades in the Kadishi stream and waterfall (see Earth Cache GC17G9D)
The Blyde River has its source in the Drakensberg, close to Pilgrim’s Rest and flows north, being joined by the Treur at the remarkable Bourke’s Luck Potholes, before it enters the great canyon that it has helped to create in the course of millions of years. Minor imperfections in die dolomite rock have been worn away by the swirling water with its load of grit and pebbles, causing potholes to appear.
A great tilting of the land surface, following a massive volcanic disturbance in central Mpumalanga millions of years ago, produced the mighty Mpumalanga Drakensberg escarpment. Layers of sand and mud, deposited by vanished inland lakes, have become compressed to form quartzite and shale. The Blyde River carried suspended particles ranging from grains of sand to great boulders and their erosive effect created the formations we see today.
At the great Swadini buttress, the harder quartzite forms the vertical cliffs, while softer shale’s have eroded to form the talus, or sloping sections which are now covered with vegetation. Capping the escarpment is a layer of hard, black reef quartzite.
The listed waypoint will take you to a view point just of the scenic Panorama road, from where most of the Canyon can be seen.
In order to qualify to log this cache, you need to answer the following questions and s=email the cache owner. Any logs not accompanied by an email will be deleted.
- Take a photo of your GPSr at this spot with the Blyde River Canyon in the background.
- What is the total distance of the length of the Blyde River Canyon?
- What is the estimated depth erosion, of the potholes that is located at Bourke’s Luck?
- What evidence did you find walking from the parking area to the view point of a ancient inland sea (look at the rocks that form the pathway)?
Off the beaten Track
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency