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Blyde River Canyon

Bourke’s Luck – Stunning Natural Water Feature

You don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of Bourke’s Luck in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. This impressive natural water feature has taken Mother Nature centuries to carve out of the river bedrock, and visitors to the Blyde River Canyon should be sure to set some time aside to enjoy her marvelous handiwork.

Bourke’s Luck is located at the point where the Treur River (‘river of sorrow’) meets with the Blyde River (‘river of joy’) and the constantly swirling whirlpools are perhaps a fitting representation of this fact. Over the years the sand and rock carried by the rivers have eroded large, cylindrical potholes into the river’s bedrock. This has resulted in the fascinating rock sculptures which have made Bourke’s Luck famous, and as they are at the very beginning of the Blyde River Canyon they make an excellent first stop as you explore this pristine natural area.

It is interesting to note that the potholes were named after a rather unsuccessful gold digger who once staked his claim nearby. Tom Burke was perhaps one of the first prospectors to proclaim that the surrounding area would yield gold. Unfortunately for him, he never found it – though hundreds of others did. His small gold mine proved to be completely fruitless but his legacy lives on at Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

The small visitors center located nearby provides information about the canyon’s origins and the flora and fauna found in the area. Then you may take the 700 meter walk to view these fascinating and unusual potholes, crossing bridges and navigating the footpaths that have been laid out to facilitate this. After visiting Bourke’s Luck, many visitors enjoy either of the 5 km trails which branch off from the site into the canyon. The trails are known as the Interpretative Trail and the Bushman Nature Trail and both are equally enjoyable. So visit Bourke’s Luck and discover these fascinating watery potholes for yourself.