The Blyde River Canyon Expedition – March 2015

The Blyde River Canyon Expedition – March 2015

In March 2015 Afriscapes hosted another “Blyde River Canyon Expedition” lead by Des Jacobs. This is what he had to say about the 5 days and 4 nights they spend in the Blyde River Canyon area:

We arrived on the Friday afternoon and settled into our accommodation at the top of the Canyon at the Blyde Canyon Resort. Shortly after unpacking we went for a drive to scout for some nice spots to shoot the sunset that afternoon and especially for some nice spots for the following morning’s sunrise shoot. There are a couple of great spots but personally I prefer one right at the top looking down into the canyon and with the Three Rondavels right in front to the East. We decided to use this same spot for the next morning’s sunrise shoot as well.

A great spot with a great view

A great spot with a great view

Sunset on the first day

Sunset on the first day

The next morning we got up at around 04H30 and left for our favorite spot while still dark outside. As we drove closer to the spot we could already see that there are a lot of mist in the area with lots of low clouds above as well. The first sight of the canyon that morning was amazing with just enough clearance below between the mist to see some amazing scenes in front of us and in the deep valleys below.

Misty Blyde Canyon

Misty Blyde Canyon

This great scenery changed within a couple of minutes and before we knew it the whole canyon was covered in mist from top to bottom and we couldn’t see anything at all down below. Because of the mist we missed the sunrise but instead of giving up we decided to stay longer and see what happens. One thing that I realized over the last couple of years is to stay longer at a “not so nice scene” and wait for the light and weather to change. It can be a big gamble but sometimes it’s worth it. After about 2 hours the whole scenery changed in a couple of seconds with mist disappearing from the bottom of the canyon. The wait was worth it and we quickly started shooting again with some great light unfolding in front of our eyes. We were there for another hour enjoying this great scenery.

Canyon Sun and Mist

Canyon Sun and Mist

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Canyon Smoke

After breakfast we drove to another view point and got a couple of shots during normal day hours and planned our next shoot at the same spot for that afternoon’s sunset.

Canyon Aloes

Canyon Aloes

That afternoon, with sunset we received some nice light against the top of the cliffs and mountains within the canyon and for a minute or two it seemed as if the Tree Rondavel mountains were on fire. After sunset the light faded very quickly and we drove back to the resort for a nice casual dinner.

Three Rondavels on fire

Three Rondavels on fire

The next morning we were up long before sunrise and headed back to our favorite spot. A completely different scene from the first day greeted us and again we were not disappointed at all with the scenery and photo opportunities. Again we managed to get great images. Fast moving clouds and the sun bursting through the clouds now and then kept the the camera shutters clicking all the time and again we spend a couple of hours there to get the most out of it all.

The Blyde River Canyon before sunrise

The Blyde River Canyon before sunrise

Blyde Sun Streaks

Blyde Sun Streaks

Later that morning we left for Swadini Resort, situated in the bottom of the canyon. It is almost a two hour drive to get there but the scenery is great. Later that afternoon we went scouting for nice spots to shoot the sunset from.

A nice scene from the bottom of the canyon

A nice scene from the bottom of the canyon

The next morning we went out after breakfast to scout the lesser known areas of the Blyde River Canyon. It is another 2 hour’s drive to get to the very bottom of the canyon. Here you stand on the banks of the Blyde River that flows into the Blyde River Dam a couple of kilometers downstream. There are some nice big boulders and fast flowing water to photograph and we kept ourselves busy for hours.

The Blyde River

The Blyde River

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In the afternoon we drove up to the top of Mariepskop, which is situated on the eastern side of the Blyde River Canyon. The view of the canyon from this side of the canyon is spectacular to say the least. We were at our spot approximately 2 hours before sunset and I must say that I never felt the top of Mariepskop so hot. The sun was super hot and there was no wind at all that made the conditions even worse. Unfortunately there are no big trees right on the top of the mountain so we had to hide from the sun within the thick bushes close to our spot while we were waiting for the sunset. Closer to sunset the conditions changed quickly to a more manageable temperature. The sunset was great and managed to get a couple of good images from this side of the canyon as well.

Koos Fourie shooting from Mariepskop

Koos Fourie shooting from Mariepskop

I must say that we enjoyed the trip very much and we came home with a lot of great looking photos. We are now entering the dry season in this part of the country and for next couple of months the Blyde River Canyon won’t be so photogenic as in March but believe me, I will be back there in March 2015 with the next group of landscape photographers. We might even do a shorter trip later this year in the beginning of the summer months. If you are into landscape photography and  into great local scenery, then this trip is for you.”

Thank you to Canon, Tokina and Lowepro. Your camera gear made me get great images. Thank you to Forever Resorts, Blyde Canyon and Swadini. You accommodation facilities are great every year we go there. And a big thank you to Hi-Tec Shoes. I wear your shoes on every trip and I never had a single problem. Great, high end quality shoes for landscape photographers. Hi-Tec Shoes Website.

Des Jacobs

My 5 year old Hi-Tec Shoes I wear.

My 5 year old Hi-Tec Shoes I wear.

Afriscapes hosts a 6 day 5 nights Blyde Canyon Landscape Photography expedition in March 2016. Have a look here.