The Three Rondavels, Mpumalanga
he Three Rondavels on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route give a spectacular view over the Blyde River Canyon. Shaped like traditional African beehive huts, the Three Rondavels form three huge pinnacles of rock rising above the canyon below.
Once known as the Three Sisters, the geological formations known today as The Three Rondavels, are one of the many natural highlights along Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Three Rondavels are at the beginning (or end) of the spectacular Blyde River Canyon drive.
South Africans know the rondavel as a traditional beehive-shaped hut built and used over centuries by indigenous people as their homes. If you’ve been or plan to go to the Kruger National Park, you’ll know that some camp accommodation is in rondavels.
The Three Rondavels are spectacular peaks which look exactly like rondavels – round and fat, rising to a peaked top, but much, much higher than any traditional dwelling. In fact, when you stand on the viewpoint, 1 380m above sea level with the Blyde River Canyon below, you’ll still be looking up at those three distinctive peaks which tower 700m above the surrounding countryside.
These three geological formations were also once known as ‘The Chief and his Three Wives’. The flat-topped peak was named Mapjaneng (‘the chief’) after a legendary Bapedi chief, Maripi Mashile, who defeated invading Swazis in a great battle near here. The three peaks are named after his three wives (from left to right) – Magabolie, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.
How were these magnificent mountains formed? Apparently erosion wore away the soft underlying stone, leaving exposed slate and quartzite that shape these dramatic rock formations.
Be surefooted at the viewpoint, especially as there’s no rail, and then just drink in the dramatic view with the canyon and the Blyde River dam way below you. Expect spectacular African sunsets if you’re there as the sun goes down.
Don’t miss other natural wonders on the Panorama Route such as Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window, aptly named for its spectacular views.