Bourke's Luck Potholes

Oct 14, 2014 2 comments

Bourke's Luck Potholes are a natural water feature found within the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, about 35km north of Graskop on the R532 road. Located at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon, these cylindrical potholes on the bedrock have been carved over thousands of years by sand and pebbles swirling around in whirlpools when the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River. Initially, water borne pebbles carved out small depressions, which soon trapped river debris further accelerating erosion. The hollows grew over time and deepened to cylindrical potholes up to several meters deep.

The potholes were named after an unsuccessful gold prospector named Tom Bourke who discovered signs of alluvial gold in the canyon in the late 1880s. He quickly staked a claim and began to pan for gold. Unfortunately for him, Bourke never stuck gold, although hundreds of others found riches just south of where he predicted the presence of the precious metal. Bourke’s gold mine proved to be completely fruitless but his legacy lives on at Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Ironically, some tourists treat Bourke's Luck Potholes as a “wishing well” and many have dropped coins into the potholes.


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A small visitors center is located nearby that provides information about the canyon’s origins and the flora and fauna found in the area. From there, the viewing point for these potholes is 700 meters away.


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Sources: Book Travel / / Geocache


  1. you have tagged this article as south america instead of south africa.


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