One of the most scenic roads you can take in the Hoedspruit Region. Mariepskop Mountain, at 1,945 metres above sea level is one of the highest peaks in the northern Drakensberg and the highest point of the Blyde River Canyon.
There’s not a lot of people who are aware of this road winding up to the very top of the mountain, as well as into the heart of the Blyde River Canyon up to a very scenic picnic spot right next to the Blyde River that runs through the canyon. You can visit the top of Mariepskop and enjoy a picnic, all in one day. Standing on the edge near the towers gives you a view of the Kruger National Park, granite koppies up to the town of Phalaborwa.
The route is very scenic indeed, as it offers you the experience of driving through a tropical rain forest. You may come across various plains game and some people have spotted leopard on the way up. The mountain peak is very rocky but it boasts a wide variety of plant species. Make sure that you visit all the marked viewpoints on the route.
To get there you have to follow the gravel road from Klaserie town. There is a small shop and filling station next to the main road where you turn off onto the gravel road (Mariepskop Road). Stay on this road for approximately 28km. The route becomes very steep at places and a vehicle with high ground clearance is preferable. When it’s misty or rainy it can become very slippery up there and a 4×4 may come in handy, especially during your descend to the picnic spot. You need to pay an entrance fee near the top of the mountain where you will be issued with a permit to visit the peak and the picnic spot.
The gates usually open at 08:00 in the morning and close at around 16:00 daily. Make sure you are out before closing time to avoid a fine and having to spend the night on the mountain.
The weather here can be very unpredictable and it can become overcast and misty very quickly, especially in the summer months. On a clear day though, you will be awarded with great views and awesome photo opportunities.
YOU REQUIRE A PERMIT TO GO TO THE VERY TOP: Just call 015 793 2581 (Also self-catering accommodation on the mountain)
Main photo by African Dream Horse Safari, Hoedspruit