Rock climbing in South Africa
The cliffs are big, wild, often remote and still being discovered. And it's a
climate for being out in. South Africa offers some of the best, and most diverse, rock
climbing in the world. Gear up, chalk up, and start cranking!
Ever since the German climbing magazine Rotpunkt
published an article
about Waterval Boven in 1993, foreign visitors have been flocking to this Mpumalanga
town for some of the best sport climbing in the universe. The Restaurant (officially
known as "The Restaurant at the end of the Universe crags") offers more than 500
routes, and there are still numerous untouched rock faces in the area.
With routes ranging from scramble-easy to a superhuman 33 and a number of
natural or "trad" (traditional, or unbolted) routes there's something for everyone
Outside Durban, there are also a lot of sport climbs, and a few close to
Johannesburg. En route between these two major centres, you'll find some wonderful
bolted routes in good hard sandstone in the eastern part of the Free State notably
at Eagle Mountain Game Lodge (formerly misnamed Mount Everest Nature Reserve)
If you're more of a traditionalist, don't worry. You can revel in miles of unbolted
rock in the fantastic, virtually pristine Blouberg in the Limpopo, the Drakensberg in
KwaZulu-Natal, the Magaliesburg in North West province in close striking distance
of both Johannesburg and Pretoria or in the miles and miles of fantastic mountain
ranges in the Western Cape.
One of these deserves special mention. The Cedarberg, two-and-a-half hours'
drive north of Cape Town, is a world-class bouldering area and boasts some of the
best trad rock climbing routes in the country.
But for a close-to-city experience, nothing can beat Cape Town, with hundreds
of sport and traditional routes within the city limits. The city is built around Table
Mountain, a national park
consisting of two great, hard rock types Table Mountain
sandstone, which gives nice positive edges, and Cape granite, which offers fantastic
Confused about the South African climbing route grading system? Peak High
Mountaineering offers a handy rock grade comparison table.
ROCK CLIMBING & MOUNTAINEERING OPERATORS
Mountain Club of South
Africa Founded in 1891, and one of only two clubs in Africa to be
affiliated to the world mountaineering body UIAA, the MCSA offers climbing,
mountaineering and hiking opportunities to its members and is involved in mountain
search and rescue, training, conservation of mountain areas, procurement of access
for mountaineering, and competition climbing. The club has 13 autonomous sections:
Dynamics undertakes major mountaineering expeditions, mostly outside of
Africa, but including a Mt Kilimanjaro package and a guided climb of
the Sentinel in
Climbing Site If you thought that southern Africa doesn't offer big wall
climbing, take a look at Allard Huffner's site and think again! It carries information
on climbs in South Africa and surrounding countries and contains some awe-inspiring
Cape Climb is
based in Cape Town and focuses on technical rock climbing and mountaineering, in
Cape Town, the Cape peninsula and beyond. It offers guided climbing of all
descriptions, from single pitch sport climbing to big walls, to big peaks.
City Rock Indoor Climbing
The first indoor climbing gym in Cape Town, and the largest in South
Africa. Its has 24 different topropes, 10m high, 400mē of wall climbing area, a
dedicated beginners' and kids' wall and 10 lead routes for
experienced climbers. Gear
is also for sale or rental.
The Climbing Barn
is located on the outskirts of Pretoria. It features over 450mē of climbing wall
and over 100mē of bouldering. Gear is available for hire and training for beginners is
also on offer. The Climbing Barn also hosts birthdays and functions.
Climb ZA is a
comprehensive climbing resource. The website offers news, information, a climbing
directory, local weather and a classified ads section. There is also a very active
The Crag lists over 4 000 climbs throughout South
Africa, and a total of almost 175 000 throughout the world. Access to the website is
free, but it is necessary to sign up. Providing your e-mail address is optional.
Bos is a guest
farm, backpackers lodge and a camping venue for climbers wanting to explore some
great routes in and around Montagu in the Western Cape. Guided climbing can be
arranged by appointment and no experience is neccesary. In addition, rock climbing
workshops are offered and gear is available to rent.
Society of Southern Africa is a non-profit organisation founded in 1988.
Essa provides a platform for "the conceptual and physical exploration of the Southern
African landscape". The society organises expeditions, holds discussions and
presentations by world-class adventurers - and throws good parties.
Indoor Climbing Centre offers indoor climbing in George in the southern
Cape. There is over 400mē of climbing surfaces, while bouldering is also on offer,
along with training courses, and
gear rental. Children from as young as five are able
Mountaineering Adventures offers rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking,
kloofing and abseiling. The rock climbing takes place at Waterval Boven, in the
Drakensberg, Magaliesberg, and Hartebeespoort. They offer a basic climbing course
as well as an adventure weekend at Eagle Mountain (previously known as Mount
Everest) in Harrismith, where climbing and abseiling takes place.
in Africa is headed by Richard Behne, the first South African to be certified
as a Mountaineering Instructor under the MDT scheme (Mountaineering Development
and Training Trust). Guided climbing is offered around South Africa for all levels of
climber on all sorts of surfaces. Climbing safaris in the Western Cape and Namibia are
Indoorclimbing.com provides a list of South African rock climbing walls.
The information provided includes addresses, telephone numbers, websites if
available, and a brief description of the walls and routes.
Info Hub has information on mountain climbing
in and rock climbing in South Africa. It is geared towards the overseas visitor and
presents four different holiday options in Cape Town, the Western Cape,
Magaliesberg, and the Drakensberg.
Mountaineering offers trekking, rock-climbing, ice-climbing, and Mountain
Development Trust Courses in mountaineering, trekking and abseiling. Guided rock
climbing is offered, as well as guided ice climbing. Equipment is available for hire.
Gear not only supplies equipment, but also has news on climbing
competitions, athletes, expeditions, and routes.
Roc 'n Rope
Adventures is based at The Restaurant (officially known as the Restaurant
at the End of the Universe Crags) in Mpumalanga. They offer accomodation,
abseiling, mountain biking, fly fishing, horse riding, and rock climbing. Numerous
climbing courses are available too.
Rockclimbing.com Rock Climbing Routes in South Africa
presents information on climbs around South Africa. Directions to the destinations are
provided, as well as the nearest town or city, the latitude and longitude, access
issues, camping, when to climb, the quantity of climbs, and books.
Outdoor is a site for GPS, rock climbing and hiking in southern Africa. It
offers a diverse product range, and tons of free climbing, hiking and backpacking
information for the international and local visitor.
Sport is a magazine that provides information on mountain climbing, not
only in South Africa, but all around the world. The website includes news, bouldering,
weather and events and events.
African Climbing Academy is based at Saint Peters Prep School in the north
of Johannesburg. It offers training courses for school learners and outside individuals
wanting to learn about rock climbing and bouldering, and is also a training facility for
Gym Climbing Centre is is located in New Germany, a short
Durban. They offer courses of various levels and there is something for everyone,
from individual to parties to corporate groups. A shop features climbing, eyerwear,
free riding, hiking and camping and other equipment.
Adventure, based at the Shongweni Dam between Durban and
Pietermaritzburg, offers some exciting routes, ranging from grade eight to 33. Other
options include, among others, abseiling and rapp jumping.
The South African
Climbing Info Network is an excellent, comprehensive and easy-to-use
resource on climbs in South Africa. It features up-to-date information and news on
crags and routes, a calendar of events, results of events, climbing gyms,
competitions, climbing gear, climbing stores and other resources.
based in Cape Town and incorporates the Cape Town
School of Mountaineering. It's a specialised mountain guide service and an accredited
mountaineering school. The offer guided rock climbing, sport climbing on the Cape
Peninsula, traditional climbing on Table Mountain, climbing road trips, and country
routes, big walls and alpine rock routes, with trips ranging from two days to two
weeks in length.
Adventures Promotes the safe enjoyment of southern Africa's
mountainous regions though education, training and guiding services. They offer
climbing walls and rope courses, as well as guided rock climbing. They also have a
training centre at Monteseel Crag in KwaZulu-Natal.
in Johannesburg, is an indoor climbing venue which features 500mē of climbing walls,
as well as a three-metre high bouldering cave. It caters to
everyone, from beginners
to veterans, and offers training courses for all levels. There is a fully stocked Pro
Shop, gear is available for rental, while change rooms, lockers, and cool drinks and
snacks are also on offer. There is also a fully licensed restaurant and bar.