The Three Rondavels are sometimes referred to as “The Chief and Three Wives”. The flat-topped peak was named Mapjaneng (the chief), after a legendary Bapedi chief, Maripi Mashile, who defeated invading Swazis in a great battle, whilst the peaks are named after his three wives – Magabolie, Mogoladikwe, and Maseroto. It is said the wives still squabble after dark.
The Three Rondavels tower approximately 2,296 feet (700 metres) over the surrounding countryside.
The Three Rondavels’ distinctive shapes are the result of erosion. Soft, underlying stone was whittled and washed away by the weather, leaving the tougher slate and quartzite layers visible.
Numerous fish, birds and mammals reside in the canyon region, including antelopes, monkeys and eagles.
The name Blyde River Canyon means ‘Happy River Canyon’ as ‘Blyde’ is derived from the Dutch word for happy.