South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique
Along with Bourke's Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels are one of the major icons of Mpumalanga. Both geological wonders are on the Panorama Route, a highly popular tourist drive to follow when exploring the province, and, depending on which way you choose to drive along the 16 kilometres of the Blyde River Canyon, the Three Rondavels either starts or ends your journey.
Exactly as they sound, the Three Rondavels are three round mountain tops with slightly pointed tops, very similar to the traditional round or oval African homesteads made with local materials called rondavels. They are sometimes also called the Three Sisters (although this confuses them with a similar threesome visible from the N1 in the Free State lower down in the country). They were once known as The chief and his three wives – the flat-topped peak represented Mapjaneng, famous for opposing invading Swazis in a memorable battle is on the right, whilst the rondavels are three of his more troublesome wives – Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.
The view point is spectacular. From here one looks over the canyon to the Three Rondavels on the other side of the northern edges of the Drakensbergrange of mountains. An outlook that is overwhelmingly beautiful and deserves more than a moment's respite. The beautiful to look at formations are explained geographically as the slow erosion of underlying soft stone, leaving the exposed quartzite and shale rondavels at which we marvel. Whatever their origin, they are undoubtedly breathtaking.
Together with God's Window and Bourkes Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels are a highlight of any trip along the third largest canyon in the world.