Secret hike to the bottom of the Lisbon Falls

Posted on Posted in Adventure Guide, Mpumalanga, South Africa

The Lisbon Falls is one of the most amazing waterfalls along Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. At 94m, it is the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga. There is a reason why visitors flock to see this natural wonder – the Lisbon Falls are beautiful!

Lisbon Falls View Site
The beautiful Lisbon Falls on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route

Visiting the Lisbon Falls

The Lisbon Falls is barely a few minutes’ drive from the town of Graskop north along the R532, and is equally as accessible for day visitors coming from Sabie. Because they are situated on forestry land, there is a nominal entry fee for day visitors. In return, the site is well maintained with clean and serviced ablution facilities. There is also security on site.

Most of the visitors to the Lisbon Falls choose to view the falls from the easily-accessible viewing deck at the top of the waterfall. This provides an impressive view of water plummeting down the rocky face to the pool below.

Hike to the bottom of the falls

Another way to experience the Lisbon Falls is to follow a hiking trail to the base of the falls. This trail takes about 40 minutes to walk and follows a moderately steep slope to the valley below before working its way back towards the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Although some sections are a little overgrown, the path is easy going and hikers will be rewarded with a refreshing swim at the end of the trail.

The trail also affords spectacular views of the falls from a completely different perspective. Standing at the base of the falls, with the spray drenching your face and clothes gives you get a true appreciation for the volume and force of water making its way downstream.

We chose to complete the hike to the base of the waterfall and captured these photographs along the way.

Different angle on Lison Falls
Side view of the Lisbon Falls on the way to the valley below
Bevan watching the Lisbon Falls
The Lisbon Falls are very impressive when viewed from below
Lisbon Falls Black and White
Water cascades down the Lisbon Falls
Bevan at the bottom of Lisbon Falls
One last look at the falls before we head back up to the top

4 thoughts on “Secret hike to the bottom of the Lisbon Falls

  1. Still in Northern Natal and Mpumalanga I see.
    When will we be getting reports from Eastern and Western Cape. Karoo? West coast?
    Even a wine route tour would suffice.

    Any chance?

  2. Hi Jill are you allowed to hike down to base of the Lisbon Falls? Or are there signs saying you may not go. I have always wanted to do this. Is the path marked etc?

    1. Hi Sue

      While we were there we didn’t see any signs that said no hiking to the bottom. In fact, we found quite a well-trodden path from the view site that leads along the top edge of the gorge and down to the river. Once at the bottom we just had to double back to get to the waterfall. This section was a little overgrown, but there was clearly a path. There are no signs along the way as I don’t think it is an official route, however, we definitely weren’t the first people to go down there. We also hiked in full view the site security guards and none of them warned us against going down.

      The hike itself is very easy – just a short stretch to the bottom and then back along the river, however, beware of the steep drop offs as you’re descending. Don’t stray to close to the edge of the gorge and you should be perfectly safe.

      Let me know if you end up doing the hike – I’d love to hear what you think 🙂

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