This is the ultimate weekend drive.
A brief note about the route
When I visit in late 2013, information about Panorama Route is scarce. Google Maps was missing almost all of the main attractions (some of which I drove past). These notes and the map at the bottom of this post are for anyone who want to do the drive here.
At around 8AM I leave the Rissington Inn at Hazyview and make my way to my first waypoint, Graskop, following the road signs and checking the GPS on my phone.
Once I'm at Graskop, the rest's easy. I connect to R532, make a detour onto R534 to see God's Window and nearby Wonder View. When I'm done with those viewpoints, I continue on R534, which eventually loops back to R532. R532 eventually connects to all other major routes so it's possible to continue towards Kruger National Park or Johannesburg, for example.
It's also possible to do this route in reverse, of course, to just as great of an effect.
They must have named it God's Window for the clouds you have to drive through to reach it. One moment I'm driving in perfectly fine weather and the next thing I know I can't see a hundred meters ahead of me. I'm in the clouds, God's neighborhood possibly.
The first stretch of R532.
The atmosphere changes as we approach God's Window.
And true to its name, there is a window (several, actually) that peek through the clouds to the covers of green that blanket Blyde River Canyon.
Somewhere on the trail to God's Window—God's side window.
I'm only on the road again for a few minutes before I leave the clouds completely, and just like that I've returned to a less heavenly realm.
The Lowveld View
It's such a blissful sensation to have all four windows of my Hyundai i10 rolled down, the wind blasting from both sides of me. It's as if I'm closer, more attached, to the views around me. Several times I have to pull over to the side of the road to snap some pictures of this incredibly lush, bucolic landscape. The mounds in the distance look almost like pedestals for the seemingly unwieldy clouds overhead.
The Lowveld view is for me the highlight of this drive.
This view's already amazing from the curbside where we parked, but...
Get close to the edge to really take it in.
I tried making a photosphere (one of those VR-like 360 images) by the cliff, which came out decently. A strong sense of vertigo prevented me from spinning around to capture the entire sphere, but I think this is representative of what it felt like to stand on the edge of a cliff by the canyon. Click here to see the photosphere.
The two green markers indicate places featured in this post. If you found this helpful or have suggestions on how I can improve the map, drop a comment below!