Monday, October 28, 2013

The Panorama Route | Mpumalanga | South Africa

In what has thus far been my greatest traveling feat, I recently rented a car and drove aproximately 1570km (975mi) across the beautiful country of South Africa in just a week! I suppose I did not have many expectations going into my trip; I was simply looking forward to driving a car, on an empty road without fear of disappearing into a pothole (thanks Jakarta). What I got out of this trip was so much more. But for now, I'll start with the first portion of my trip.

I began my journey in Johannesburg. From there, there are two ways to get to Kruger National Park (where I was supposed to meet up with my safari): the fast way and the pretty way. Being that roadtripping was the main purpose for my adventure, I opted for the much longer, but worthy, Panorama Route; if you're here looking for this route on a map, scroll down to the bottom! More than once during my two day drive, I felt like I was in a car commercial, whipping around mountain curves surrounded by beautiful scenery, without another car in sight. Here are a few of the highlights:

I woke up a bit suprised on my second morning, to be surrounded in a thick layer of fog; I could see no more than 10 feet in front of my car. Unfortunately, that meant that upon arriving at my first destination, God's Window, I could not see a thing. Things cleared up as the day went on but I spent the majority of the day feeling like I was in a horror movie, waiting for something terrifying to appear out of the murky abyss!

If you're like me and couldn't find a map of the Panorama Route, here's a rough idea. It is, however, clearly marked on the road, no matter which point along the way you stumble onto it! Coming from Johannesburg, take the N4. Before you get to Nelspruit, head north on R539, towards Sabie. This turns into R37 then R532. Continue heading north. If you split towards Graskop, you will see signs directing you towards the scenic lookout called God's Window (which is off of r534). To finish the drive, merge back onto R532, which will take you past Bourke's Luck Potholes and the Three Rondawels. If you have the time, I would highly recommend meandering this way!

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