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Climbing in Southern Africa

Description

South Africa is an absolutely awesome climbing destination with an enormous choice of great rock. Table Mountain has literally hundreds of sport and traditional routes – right in the middle of the city. So it’s hardly surprising that Cape Town is where the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) started and where most serious South African climbers choose to live. And if you’re prepared to travel a few hours from the city, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice. Montagu, about 4 hours east, is a sport climbers paradise, the Cederberg, a couple of hours north of the city, is a great hiking destination, but it also has some wonderful trad climbing.

South Africa is an absolutely awesome climbing destination with an enormous choice of great rock. Table Mountain has literally hundreds of sport and traditional routes – right in the middle of the city. So it’s hardly surprising that Cape Town is where the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) started and where most serious South African climbers choose to live. And if you’re prepared to travel a few hours from the city, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice. Montagu, about 4 hours east, is a sport climbers paradise, the Cederberg, a couple of hours north of the city, is a great hiking destination, but it also has some wonderful trad climbing.

With hundreds of bolted routes ranging from a nice 12 to a hard-core 33, there is something for everyone. For the hard-core trad climber, the Blouberg in Limpopo has some nice big walls in the middle of nowhere.

Beyond South Africa’s borders, Malawi’s Mount Mulanje has some really big walls – at 1,700m (which over a mile) it’s the longest route in Africa. Namibia’s Spitzkoppe, which is an enormous granite pluton rising up from the plains, has both natural and bolted routes ranging from about 14 to 24.

If you’re not a climber and you’re wondering about the jargon, sport climbing involves climbing on existing routes, with permanent bolts into which you can clip, while traditional or naturally protected climbing consists of putting in temporary protection as you climb up the rock face, and then removing it. Bolting is only allowed in certain areas, and existing protocol must be adhered to.

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*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

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