Bourke’s Luck Potholes – a natural wonder in South Africa

Bourke’s Luck Potholes is a magnificent natural attraction located along the Panorama Route, approximately 35km north of the town of Graskop, Mpumalanga in South Africa. This natural water feature is in the confluence of the Blyde River and the Treur River; thousands of years of water erosion have created a unique and otherworldly geological feature.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Here at the mouth of the Blyde River Canyon, the two rivers formed swirling eddies of water. Over time, this formed huge cylindrical potholes in the sandstone bedrock. The effect, seen from the crags above, is now a fascinating network of tunnels and tubes and interconnected whirling pools. The different soil levels in each hole give them each a unique colour and makes for a striking and colourful landscape.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

The formations get their name from a prospector, John Bourke, who was one of the first to proclaim that the region had gold deposits and who staked a claim nearby. Despite the name of the potholes, he never found a single ounce of gold there — though luckier prospectors would later find rich amounts of gold in the area. Even if he walked away empty-handed, his name lives on in the stunning scenery.

The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, in which the potholes are located, has bridges and viewing platforms that allow visitors to see the interesting rock features from a variety of angles. There is also a small but interesting geological museum and short walking trails.

Viewing sites are provided along the length of the spectacular Blyde River Canyon including God’s Window, and there are numerous fantastic walks, hiking, horse and mountain bike trails. From the parking area a very steep stepped footpath along the edge of the escarpment leads to the actual view-points.

Blyde River Canyon at God’s Window

For the best lookout points and exotic forest plants, steer away from the crowds and hike up into the clouds and the misty Rain Forest. Make sure you take a few refreshments along as it is very humid and an extremely steep and strenuous walk. God’s Window and Graskop are perfect en-route stopping points for those visiting the Kruger National Park.

There are curio stalls and toilet facilities at the parking area. For a few dollars one can witness one of the most magnificent sites in South Africa. God’s Window is truly a popular sight and for good reason. One can spend hours here just admiring the unsurpassed scenery.

How to reach:

Bourkes Luck Potholes is 12.2km from the center of Blyde River Canyon , the nearest airport is Eastgate Airport, 41.5km away.

Best time to visit:

It will be better to visit during dry season from May to September. In order to view the magical grandeur of the site, better to visit after mid-day.