Day three in Mpumalanga dawned bright and sunny. We were all a bit slow getting going and we only set off in the car in the direction of Blyde River Canyon at 9.30am. This holiday has involved a lot of travelling by car. Fortunately, Gregory spends all his time in the car quietly, with his nose deep in a book – he is re-reading the Harry Potter series. So far, he has read a book a day and I hope he will have enough books to last him as book shops are few and far between in this neck of the woods. Michael is being entertained with audio books. We listened to all six CD’s of The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy on the journey from home to Greenway Woods Lodge, where were staying for the duration of our holiday. We had made a detour through Dullstroom which is why the journey took so long. Dullstroom is famous for its trout farms and has a number of interesting art galleries and other shops displaying local art. We bought a car, a bicycle and an aeroplane all made out of metal soda cans. Very clever indeed! On day one, we listed to The Wouldbegoods by Edith Nesbit, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, all 10 CD’s, entertained us during our day at the Kruger National Park and today we are listening to The Beasts of Clawstone Castle by Eva Ebbotson.
Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and is very spectacular. The boys were quite awestruck when we stopped at the various look out points.
The boys particularly enjoyed this viewpoint which provided an excellent view of the Blyde River. Greg said that it reminded him of the blue and the green lakes we saw in New Zealand.
My favourite stop along the Blyde River Canyon drive was The Three Rondavels. A rondavel is a traditional circular African dwelling with a thatched roof. The Three Rondavels hills are quite astonishing in their close resemblance to a real rondavel. We spent at least an hour in this location scrambling about over the rocks and looking for good viewing points to take pictures of the canyon and the hills.
By this time the boys were both hungry so we had to make a detour through Graskop again. There are not that many restaurants to choose from and the boys insisted on going back to Harries pancakes. Greg, a boy of habit, ordered the same pancake he had enjoyed the day before with a biltong and mozzarella cheese filling. Mike decided to try the bobotie pancake and Terence, Mr Adventure when it comes to food, tried the sticky pork, peaches and chilli pancake. All of these pancakes were declared to be very good. I didn’t feel like a pancake so I ordered a Greek salad for Mike and I to share to be followed by scones with jam and cheese. Judging from the expression on her face, our waitress thought this was a most peculiar order and maybe that is why she got this part of the order wrong. She brought me one large Greek salad and scones with cream and strawberry preserves all at the same time. It was quite a juggle to fit all the plates onto our small table. She was such a pleasant lady, I didn’t have the heart to complain so I just shared the salad onto Michael’s pancake plate and made the best of the scones with the cream and strawberry preserves. They were actually very good. The local vendors were waiting to pounce when we came out of the restaurant. This time we acquired a set of birds on strings that hung down, a bit like wind chimes, another two packets of macadamia nuts and a bag of granadillas. Oh well, macadamia nut Bundt cake is likely to be on the menu in the foreseeable future. I ate the whole bag of the chilli flavoured nuts. I am rather partial to nuts and I can’t use a chilli flavoured nut for baking.
The afternoon stop was MacMac falls. This was rather beautiful and spectacular. We walked right down to the waterfall and enjoyed the sound of the water pounding down and the fine spray that was thrown up and settled softly on our skin and hair.
It was hard to believe, walking through the dense foliage in this area that Mpumalanga had been completely drought stricken this time last year. Even the veld grass looked green and rich and the trees were lush and full. Many of the trees were covered in an abundance of green moss and there were still flowers growing along the paths. There were also a number of brightly coloured insects.
We were quite tired after our full day and all the walking so Mike and I both dosed off in the car on the way back to the chalet. This brought to a close our third day of adventuring in Mpumalanga.
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series