Situated along the Mpumalanga Drakensberg escarpment, the reserve covers a large area extending from the Pinnacle and Gods Window in the south to beyond the mighty Marieps Kop in the north, and ending at Swadini. The reserve is administered by the Mpumalanga Parks Board and is known primarily for the outstanding natural beauty of the canyon as well as the numerous endemic and endangered fauna and flora species present.
The reserve encompasses the famous Blyde River Canyon, the third largest 'green canyon' that has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the globe. The canyon is 50 kilometres in length and is around 800 metres deep. The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 1 944 metres above sea level while its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 560 metres above sea level.
Other highlights of the reserve include beautiful panoramic views and scenic waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horse riding, white water rafting, kloofing, hot-air ballooning, fly fishing, biking and boat trips on the Blyde Dam.