Thursday, October 8, 2009

The 3rd largest Canyon in the world!

We are now going to the only true canyon in South Africa.....Blyde River Canyon.

Did you know that Blyde River canyon is the 3rd largest canyon in the world??.

It was formed by the Blyde River, "River of Joy" cutting its way more than 1000 metres through the quartzite and Dolomite Mountains of the eastern rim of the Drakensburg escarpment. The quartzite of the system was deposited before the dawn of life on earth in a depression in the primeval granite shield of Africa.

The Blyde Canyon nature reserve, which covers an an area of approximately 27 000ha, is internationally renown for its natural splendor. is 16 miles (26 kilometers) in length and is, on average, around 2500 feet (800m) deep!!
The Dam itself, when full, is at an altitude of 665m (2182 feet)!!

The Canyon consists mostly of red sandstone.

The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 6378 feet above sea level (1944m) whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 1840 feet (+- 560m) above sea level.

This means that by some measure the Canyon is over 4500 feet (about 1400m) deep.

It is unquestionably the largest 'green canyon' due to its lush subtropical foliage, and it has some of the deepest precipitious cliffs of any canyon on the planet.

It is the second largest canyon in Africa, after the Fish River Canyon, and is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent.

The Reserve is home to wildlife some species of are rare, such as Taita falcon found in only a few haunts in the world. It is also home to a bewildering variety of plants from orchids to lilies and tree ferns to cycads.

Look ...there are the "Three Rondavels", huge, round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels.

The stories of the Three Rondawels is truly enthralling...Made of quartzite and shale, these vast peaks are named after a Mapulana chief and his wives.

Just peer closely at the peak to the right; although rounded and weathered from the battering wind and sun.
Feel its resilience as it stands unyielding and strong against all elements through the passage of time; small wonder that this magnificent peak was named Mapajanenga - "The Chief".

And following in his wake, from right to are three distinct peaks which have been named after his wives - Maseroto, Mogoladikwe and Magabolle.

Magnificent and majestic in their own right, these peaks are awe-inspiring; united in their bond to the grand Mapajanenga as all peaks stand tall from the same base; yet, each peak reaches for the stars, in their own little niche on the rock face, marking their distinct personalities.

The grace and charms of this land simply linger with us as we make our way to our next destination along the Panorama route.

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