Travel challenge: Curves of sandstone

The Blyde River Canyon - downstream

The Blyde River Canyon.  (All the required ingredients: rushing river water, gravel and small pebbles and a narrow sandstone gorge)

What do you get when you combine rushing river water, fine gravel, small pebbles and a narrow sandstone gorge, then stir continuously for many eons?

Often, the result will simply be a mixture of water, a river bed of pebbles and grit and rocks! But in the Sabie area of South Africa, this combination has worked together to create a most amazing natural feature.

Ailsa has set her challenge on the curvy aspects of life this week. In her post on “Where’s my backpack” she has included a variety of interesting images to trigger the imagination of her readers. But I doubt she knew she would be taken to have a closer look at a river bed in South Africa at what are sometimes called Giant’s Kettles or Giant’s Cauldrons, carved into the sides and the base of a red sandstone canyon.

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes – the rock is slowly all being eroded away!

The Blyde River joins with another river (the Treur River) within the Blyde River Canyon. (The names of the two rivers mean ‘Happy’ River and ‘Sad’ River respectively!) Where these two waterways meet, one still finds a riverbed in turmoil, with sand, river gravel and pebbles being vigorously swirled around in the water eddies as the water rushes through the constrictions and gaps of the riverbed.

Water rushing through the Potholes

Water rushing through the Potholes – still eroding the rock as it does so

Over many millennia, this aggressive, swirling action has caused the abrasive debris to scour out the sandstone rocks, so that they what is left, is a series of fascinating, perfectly curvy potholes! Bourke’s Luck Potholes!

Not only are these huge carved cylinders fascinating to see, but the colours of the rock contrast so beautifully with the colour of the water. Add to this the rushing water cascades and water falls, and you have a very stunning water feature.

Scour marks in the rocks remain as a reminder of how they were made

Scour marks in the rocks remain as a reminder of how they were made

Footbridges give fascinated folks a way of crossing of the rivers in a number of places presenting lots of opportunities to admire and appreciate this lovely place.

Waterfalls and cascades upstream of the Potholes

Waterfalls and cascades upstream of the Potholes

If anyone is wondering who Bourke was, Tom frequented this area in the 18th century looking for gold which he was convinced was in the area somewhere.

Unfortunately for him, he never did find it, unlike those who followed in his wake! But his name lives on…. irrespective of his ill fortunes!

The Blyde River Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon – spectacular scenery wherever you look!

This entry was posted in Africa, South Africa, Travel, Weekly challenges and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Travel challenge: Curves of sandstone

  1. scrapydo says:

    Those Potholes could as well be part of the “seven” wonders of the world. Seeing is believing you can’t describe their beauty


  2. Just WOW! Great shots of another of nature’s true marvels. i’m so glad you posted these 🙂


  3. trishworth says:

    What an amazing place! Nature imitating art… I like your writing, too.


  4. ledrakenoir says:

    Really such beautiful shots… 😉


  5. Amy says:

    Amazing curves by nature, precious! Beautiful post!


  6. Pingback: Travel theme: Curves | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  7. Imelda says:

    What work of nature. Gorgeous shots.


  8. Pingback: Travel Theme: Curves. « 3rdculturechildren

  9. adinparadise says:

    Fascinating photos for the theme, Madoqua. Love them all. 🙂


  10. cocoaupnorth says:

    Absolutely stunning! Brilliant take on the theme.


  11. Gilly Gee says:

    What a stunning place, thank you!


  12. Bams Triwoko says:

    Amazing place… great shot…. love them..


  13. ailsapm says:

    These are wonderful, Madoqua. What incredible creations of Mother Nature, and you’ve captured them so beautifully. I could stare at that third photo for hours. xxx Ailsa


  14. Lovely shots – those potholes are just amazing!


  15. Pingback: Mirrored Curves | Cardinal Guzman

  16. Beautiful photos! I never tire of looking at canyons.


  17. Anne Camille says:

    Amazing and beautiful! That 2nd shot looks like you were almost standing directly over it. Don’t know that I could have stood over that canyon, but I could look at the pictures for a long, long time. Fascinating!


  18. cathome36 says:

    i have been there years ago and still remember it as yesterday. Such a great post. thanks for sharing your images and the info with it.


  19. What an amazing place! Thanks for sharing!


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