River of Joy

Most of the boundary of the Blyderus Nature Reserve follows the natural curve of the Blyde River – in fact probably only 1/3 of the length of our boundary  is fenced – the rest has a natural bounday of the river.

Our piece of property has about 250 meters of river frontage.  I really love this part of our land.  It is very thickly covered with tall trees and bushes.  One day soon we would like to clear a small area at the river for picnics and braai’s (BBQ’s).  I love meditating there – it is very peaceful.

The Blyde River translates to “The River of Joy”, named when Hendrik Potgieter ( a Boer leader)  and his party returned from Delagoa Bay.  It was presumed that they had all died, hence the name of the Treur River (River of Sorrow)  that  joins the Blyde River at Bourkes Luck Potholes.


The Blyde River has its source just east of Sabie and then flows north through the Blyde River Canyon.  This canyon is the third largest canyon in the world.

source source.

The canyon is 33kms long and at it’s deepest, 4300 meters deep – measured from highest point to lowest point. 

Just through the canyon, one of the side branches of the river forms a tufa waterfall called the Kadishi Tufa falls.  There are not many active tufa waterfalls in the world – this is the second tallest.  In the case of the Kadishi Tufa falls, the formation that has been produced strikingly resembles a face which is crying profusely, and is thus sometimes known as ‘the weeping face of nature. 


A tufa waterfall is formed when water running over dolomite rock absorbs calcium.  Mosses which grow on the rocks in the stream extract carbon dioxide during photosynthesis which precipitates the calcium from the water to deposit it as layers of tufa on the surface of the waterfall – a process that takes millions of years.  The waterfall continue to flow underneath this rock-hard outer shell.

After digging the canyon, the river runs for about 15kms until it gets to our farm.   It’s hard to believe that this beautiful little river dug such a deep hole.

The Blyde River water is very clean and is used by all the farms in the area, although many now filter the water for drinking purposes.  About 20 kms past our farm the clean Blyde River joins the dirty Olifants River near Gravelotte.  I am really glad we get it while it is still clean.

My River of Joy


3 thoughts on “River of Joy

  1. Blyde river canyon Nature Reserve is one of the few areas of montane grassland in Mpumalanga that still exists. The grasslands consist of more than 1 000 flora species of which many are endemic (found nowhere else in the world), rare or endangered.


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