Rock climbing in South Africa

There are many different places to go rock climbing in South Africa, with lots of solid rock that is of great quality.  The climbing is often set in beautiful settings and offers the opportunity to go somewhere different and adventurous for a rock climbing holiday. 

The best sports climbing areas are to be found at Waterval Boven (around 600 routes) and Montagu (around 400 routes), with both areas offering a wide range of grades.  South Africa also offers plenty of traditional climbing at places such as Mount Everest and Swinburne, as well as remote multi-pitch climbing in the Drakensberg Mountains. There is even some sea cliff climbing at Morgan Bay. However, it is the bouldering at Rocklands that is turning into a world-famous destination that is attracting climbers from all over the world.

Map of the major rock climbing areas in
South Africa

Map of the major rock climbing areas in South Africa

Rocklands Bouldering in South Africa

Situated 200km north of Cape Town in the Cederberg Mountains is the world famous bouldering area of Rocklands. Located around the Pakhuis Pass, close to the town of Clanwilliam, this isolated and pristine bouldering area is attracting climbers from all over the world.  This is due to the large number of bouldering areas, its diverse range of sandstone and interesting shapes that offers varied bouldering styles at every grade. 

The bouldering is located in the beautiful Cederberg Wilderness area (a type of National Park) providing striking red, grey and black sandstone boulders set against a blue sky and surrounded by wild flowers – a truly magical place to climb. The bouldering is concentrated in two main areas Pakhuis incorporates all of the areas on the Clanwilliam side of the Pakhuis Pass and Agterpakhuis (beyond Pakhuis) features all of the areas beyond the pass.  The Kliphuis camping area is located in the Pakhuis area and is a popular place for climbers to stay.

Rocklands Bouldering guidebookRocklands logistics – As the area is in the Cederberg Wilderness area all climbers will require a permit to climb that varies from area to area.  Details of how to obtain these permits and which ones are required can be found in the Rocklands Bouldering Guidebook, which is available to buy from our shop.  The best time to go bouldering at Rocklands is in the African spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).  The winter can also be good (May to September) though it will be quite cold and sometimes wet.  The African summer is just too hot.  The closest airport is at Cape Town and the drive to Rocklands will take about 2.5 hours.