Mountain Adventures

South Africa has a number of towering mountains and mountain rangers where one can find incredible challenges to enjoy like caving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and abseiling among others. With rock climbing, South Africa is considered a top destination because the mountain cliffs are wild and rough. Beginners are advised to try friendlier mountainsides first because many South African mountains are not for amateurs.

Formerly Waterval Boven (Above The Waterfall) Now Named Emgwenya

In 1993, a German magazine featured Waterval Boven, a small town in Mpumalanga and in Drakensberg Mountains where sports climbing is at its best. Since then Waterval Boven has been attracting a steady stream of hardcore mountain and rock climbers from all over the world.  There are about 450 places to go sports climbing. The difference between rock climbing and sports climbing is found in the permanent anchors in sports climbing. Rock climbing is more dangerous since aside from climbing, the person would also have to find places to put his anchors and is required to remove them after using each one.

Emgwenya has around 150 rock climbing options so there are really a lot of places to try in this one tiny village. Many of the hiking trails are single track and the cliffs are sharp and sudden. This is also the place where you get to see the highest river fall in the country, the Eland River Fall. Anyone willing to take the challenge of this part of Drakensberg Mountain had better be ready to stay alert and expect the unexpected throughout the trip. Some of the routes have even been nicknamed “superhuman” by expert climbers.

The Cedarberg

About 2.5 hours north of Cape Town is The Cedarberg. This is a bouldering area with outstanding rock climbing routes and absolute raw beauty. Anyone who’s into climbing and reaching higher peaks should not bypass Cedarberg with its unusual twisted rock formations, peaceful solitude, and gasping sights. After a day of climbing, the area offers other exciting experiences like water sports such as fishing, swimming, water skiing, high diving from cliffs into deep pools, and amazing rock pools.

 Kleinmond for Friction Climbing

Friction climbing is another type of mountain climbing that is decidedly more dangerous because a climber relies mainly on the friction between his shoes and the rock to move upwards. Kleinmond, which is an hour’s ride from Cape Town, is a perfect place to try friction climbing because of its single vertical pitch. The rock is made of compact sandstone and good for climbing all year round.

The rock is actually a 20 minute walk from Kleinmond where you can get supplies from a local supermarket. At the base of the rock is camping grounds with parking although there are also a few B&B around the area.

Ice Climbing in Drakensberg Mountains

Ice climbing is one of the most extreme climbing sports because of the added dimension of cold weather and icy rocks.  It is definitely not a sport for the inexperienced. The best place to go for ice climbing in South Africa is the Drakensberg Mountains, southern side.

The 3 popular routes are the Sani Pass, Giant’s Castle, and Rhino Peak. There is a range in difficulty for all 3 routes although Sani Pass has the best in terms of protection from the cold elements.