Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Mpumalanga
ater’s power to shape a landscape is spectacularly displayed at Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, where centuries of river activity have carved out a dramatic and intricate series of natural rock formations and pools.
Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga province (about an 75 minutes drive from Blue Mountain Lodge) are a series of natural geological formations that seem nearer to art than nature. Formed by centuries of water flowing through the landscape, this natural attraction is made up of inter-connected pools, interlaced with sandstone outcrops.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Blyde River translates to ‘River of Joy’, while the Treur River translates to ‘River of Sorrow’.
The potholes occur where the Treur River joins the Blyde River at the start of the Blyde River Canyon. In a continuing and centuries-old spectacle, the force of the water in these two rivers, combined with the particles of sand and rock that the rivers’ transport, wears cylindrical potholes into the sandstone bedrock.
Over time, some of these potholes merge and new ones form, creating an intricate landscape of deep depressions and outcrops of resistant rock.
Visitors can view the potholes from a number of vantage points and bridges that criss-cross some of the most beautiful formations. Not only are the shapes of the formations spectacular, but the sandstone is layered and coloured in shades of amber, taupe, ochre and brown, so depending on the soil content of the water, the river levels and the time of day, the landscape constantly changes.
These natural sculptures are named after a prospector, Tom Bourke, who hoped to find gold at this site. He was unsuccessful, but other prospectors had more luck in the area.
The Panorama Route, which encompasses Bourke’s Luck Potholes as well as the dramatic vistas, waterfalls, hiking trails, historic sites and lush vegetation between the towns of Graskop and Ohrigstad, has many historic sites and natural attractions to explore.