Climbing Guide

Climbing in South Africa

South Africa has some of the best climbing locations in the world. There’s something for everyone - for those who climb for leisure, for those who engage with it as a sport and for tourists who use it as a tool to explore the beautiful country.

©Jacques Marais
Learning to climb.

There are climbing guides and mountain training which are made accessible by various South African organisations for climbers who feel the experience is too daunting to navigate alone. 

All commercial guiding and training is overseen by the South African Mountain Guides Association (SAMGA) or the Mountain Training Development Trust (MDT), which is part of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA). There are climbing learning centres and mountain guides across the country.

Route guides are also available for aspiring climbers at various shops near climbing locations. South Africa has routes ranging from relatively easy paths to a number of natural or traditional and more challenging routes. Visitors on a South African holiday will find that there is indeed something for everyone here.

If you prefer traditional routes then you can enjoy miles of unbolted rock in the fantastic, virtually pristine Blouberg in Limpopo, the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal, the Magaliesburg in North West - which is in striking distance of both Johannesburg and Pretoria - or in the miles and miles of fantastic mountain ranges in the Western Cape.

If you'd prefer to stay closer to the city on a South African holiday, nothing can beat Cape Town, with the hundreds of sport and traditional routes accessible 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 friction climbing.

Rock Climbing

©Jacques Marais
Stanley's Mountain Run. Climbing Swartberg.

South Africa is one of the most flawless locations for rock climbers with its abundance of rugged cliffs and vast mountains. The diverse rock formations and all their different features make the country one of the best rock climbing spots in the world. South Africa has a variety of rugged cliffs and vast mountains which offer adventure and an adrenaline rush for rock climbers of all levels.

There are a number of different places to explore the fun adventures of rock climbing in South Africa - like the rugged cliffs of Oudtshoorn which are limestone with hanging stalactites and tufas that make for a perfect rock climbing location.

Tourists from around the globe flock to the well known Waterval Boven Mountain in Mpumalanga which caters for a wonderful rock climbing experience across more than 500 different routes. The area is also home to many uncharted rock faces that are waiting to be travelled.

Regarded as a ‘Wonder of Nature’, Table Mountain is one of the Mother City’s most defining landmarks, with its great height and unique formation it’s easy to recognize why. From the beautiful scenery surrounding Table Mountain and the outstanding panorama of the city of Cape Town it reveals, this mountain is a definite must for any rock climbing enthusiasts.

Also in the Western Cape, just a couple hours outside Cape Town are the magnificent Cederberg mountains which provide rock climbers solid gear placement. Travel further along the coast into the Eastern Cape and discover more rock climbing locations like Lady’s Slipper, Stadens Gorge, The Grips, The Gorges and Windmill Hole to name a few.

In a small town in the Klein Karoo called Montagu, sits one of South Africa’s best sport climbing locations because it’s almost always dry - except for when it floods. A small town which is situated on the edge of the escarpment on the banks of the Elands River is Waterval Boven - the most developed sport climbing spot in the country.

It has approximately 600 routes throughout the beautiful site. Move further up the country for more challenging rock climbing expeditions in the Blouberg Mountain range in Limpopo or the Magaliesberg in the North West Province.

There are many more rock climbing hot spots across the country that are waiting to be discovered. The settings are beautiful, the people are friendly and the food and wine in the surrounding restaurants are mouthwatering!

Mountain Climbing

©Jacques Marais
Waterval Boven Area in Mpumalanga.

Mountain climbing is one of the most exhilarating activities you can do. South Africa’s mountainous regions are home to some of the most attractive waterfalls, lush forests and deep valleys which promise breathtaking mountain climbing adventures.

From the famed Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head in the Western Cape to the mightiest mountain range, the Drakensberg, and of course the variety of summits in between, there are a multitude of phenomenal mountain climbing experiences across the country. 

There’s also Waterval Boven, which sits on the edge of an escarpment in Mpumalanga or the picturesque Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area in the Eastern Cape to mention a few other locations for any mountain climbing enthusiasts.