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Location: Mpumalanga Province   Map

Length: 15 mi (24 km)

Depth: 2,640 ft (800 m)

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon







Blyde River Canyon is a massive geological formation in a Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. With a length of 15 mi (24 km) and a depth of 2,640 ft (800 m) Blyde River Canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in the USA. Blyde means "happy", "joyful" or "happy" in Afrikaans . The river was called with this name in 1844, when an expedition of white Afrikaner peasants returned safely from Maputo Bay , in Mozambique , after having camped on the river banks.


In the canyon of the same name , the Blyde river is reached by numerous other waterways. For example, the Treur River joins the Blyde near the Bourke's Luck Potholes . While the Ohrigstad river joins the Blyde at the Blyderivierpoort dam.

The disused Belvedere hydroelectric power station is located at the confluence of the Blyde and Belvedere rivers. From 1911 to 1992 this power station supplied the locality of Pilgrim's Rest with electricity.


The rivers Klein Olifants , Steelpoort and Blyde merge into the Olifants River , which crosses the Kruger National Park, trespassing from time to time in Mozambique, to form a large basin at the Massingir dam. The average annual contribution of the Blyde to the Olifants is about 436 million cubic meters of water.



Commander Andries Hendrik Potgieter undertook an expedition in 1844 to investigate the possibility of a trade route to Delagoa Bay (now Maputo Bay ). The wagons could not go down the steep gorges to the lowland, and were left behind. Potgieter is alone with a group of riders. They stayed away for so long that the people at the wagons feared that they would perish. The river at the camp was then called the Tear River, and the retreat was started. After a few days, Potgieter and his riders overtook the wagons. There was great joy and the river next to the stretch was named Blyde River.

A tributary is the Tear River, which joins the Blyde at Bourke's Luck.





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