Miracles of Nature

Blyde River Canyon

You may have heard of or even experienced the beauty of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a magnificent miracle of nature. The turbulent convergence of the Truer and Blyde Rivers formed these magical cylindrical potholes over a period of millions of years.

But did you know the history behind the names of these ancient geological features?

The story goes that when the first settlers were traveling from the Cape into the interior of South Africa, they got as far as the river and then decided, that before venturing further, the men should go ahead to scout the area. They left their wives and children camped by the river awaiting their return.

Bourke's Luck Potholes
A sorrowful journey

The women waited for a month and when the men didn’t return, they began to make their way back. They named the river “Treur” (River of Sadness in Afrikaans) to commemorate their loss.

And there was much rejoicing

However, the men hadn’t died; the trip had merely taken longer than anticipated. When they finally did return to the camp, they followed the tracks of the wagons. They were ultimately led the banks of another river, where they celebrated a joyful family reunion. They named this river the “Blyde” River (River of Happiness in Afrikaans).

If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all

Tom Bourke was an Englishman who came to South Africa to make his fortune in the gold rush. He was hired by others as a prospector, and was instrumental in creating quite a few affluent men. When he had saved enough money, he scouted around and found a plot of land on which there were many quartz deposits (a sign that there is gold), and bought a farm, thinking that his fortune was assured. However, to his vast disappointment, his property only contained signs of gold, and he never hit it rich. So “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” were named after him.

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