New Crag at Houdenbek in the Koue Bokkeveld

Houdenbek rock climbing

Russell Warren on More than I could Chew (22) at Houdenbek

Report by Russell Warren

The new Crag is found on the farm called Morester and the guest cottages are at Houdenbek about 5 min drive from the crag parking.  At present there are 11 routes.

April 2015 update:  There are 29 sport routes ranging from grade 14 to 25 and some really good trad routes.

The Koue Bokkeveld is a mountainous area situated on a plateau, 1050m above sea level and can be reached on the R303 from Ceres via Gydo Pass and the N7 via Citrusdal. It is a mere 60 km from Ceres and 200km from Cape Town. The area has a rich history and Houdenbek Farm cottages are situated on one of oldest farms.

The routes that are bolted from right to left are as follows:

One more Bite (20) FA Catharina Warren 2010
Unwitting Accomplice (22) Originally bolted RW – Scott Miller & Rolfe Van Breda 2014
More than I could Chew (22)  FA Russell Warren 2010
Eating Crumble Pie (19) FA Russell Warren 2011
Golden Delicious (18) FA Catharina Warren 2010
Pink Lady (16) FA Charl van Der Merwe 2010
Keeps the Doctor Away (20) FA Russell Warren 2010
Closed Project (About 23/24/25)
Closed Project (About 23/24)
Applestar Galactica 20/21 FA Gareth Meder 2011
Open Project (about 24) This route has had no cleaning done so smallish flakes will come off.  Climb and belay with care.  This route is about 250m past Applestar Galactica.

The lower sections of rock are soft and glue-ins have been used in this area.  It is imperative that anybody climbing there climbs with and is belayed by somebody wearing a helmet until the routes have seen more traffic.  I have removed a lot of the loose stuff, but the crag is very similar to Truitjies Kraal type rock especially the Altzheimers Wall.

The owner’s name is Charl van Der Merwe and his number is 0832828333 and he is open to more route development done in consultation with him.  In the direct vicinity of the present climbs are many more sport line opportunities and the odd trad line in between.  There is heaps of potential elsewhere on the farm.

Click here to see more pics of Houdenbek climbing in the gallery

The guest cottages at Houdenbek are on the back road to the Cederberg i.e. when you drive through Ceres up the Gydo pass and then you turn right just after Op Die Berg.  The guest house is about 10km down this road on the left hand side.
The guest house web address is   The telephone number for the guest house and cottages is 0233170748 and speak to Betty.

Other activities at Houdenbek:

* Hiking and mountain climbing – several trails on farm, varies from leisure walks (Rock art trail 1h)
* Mountain climbing for the more energetic (Heiveld Arch trail 5h)
* Of all the Cederberg’s rock arches, the best of them is here” by Peter Slingsby in Walks with a fat dog.
* Bring own bikes and canoes

* Rock Paintings
* Fresh water fish like bass
* Luipaardskloof 4×4 route nearby (enquire with reservation)
* Mini golf course and volley ball in the garden of the cottages
* Diversity of bird species and fynbos

Accommodation: (See the website for more details, photos and directions –

Sandrivier Farmhouse – sleep 11 people
Old Victorian farmhouse with five (5) bedrooms and two(2) full bathrooms.
Sleeps eleven (11) people – two (2) double rooms and three (3) rooms with single beds.
Fully equipped kitchen * Livingroom with fireplace * Outdoor braai area
Lapa in the garden * Dstv (bring own card) * Bedding * Linen * Towels

And two cottages:

Houdenbek rock climbing

Gareth Meder on a project at Houdenbek

Tarentaal Cottage – Sleep 6 people
One double room and a loft with four single beds – family accommodation.
Full bathroom * Fully equipped kitchen * Livingroom with fireplace/indoor braai
Dstv (bring own card) * Bedding * Linen * Towels
Overhead fans * Heaters * Outdoor braai area * Wood available.

Fisant Cottage:
Two(2) bedroom cottage – a double and twin room.
Full bathroom * Fully equipped kitchen * Livingroom with fireplace/indoor braai
Dstv (bring own card) * Bedding * Linen * Towels
Overhead fans * Heaters * Outdoor braai area * Wood available.

Rates for Houdenbek Farm Cottages & Sandrivier Farm House – prices correct at time of publishing, check the website for latest prices.
R220 pp pn sharing/Multiple nights
R300 pp pn single tariff/one night only
R50 Children under 10 pp pn
R100 Children 11-16 pp pn
Group discounts available

Houdenbek Campsite:

The campsite at Houdenbek (50km outside Ceres towards the Cederberg) has about 4 sites to pitch your tent, but only one party is allowed to camp there.  So you and your partner/friends will have the campsite all to yourself (Max 10 People).
There are hot showers, clean running mountain water and a toilet.  No electricity.



The Houdenbek campsite


View of the Campsite from the crag – the red outlines the approximate camping area


View of the Sport Crag from the website.


Sites closest to the water


Houdenbek Sport Crag

check  website for latest

9 Responses to New Crag at Houdenbek in the Koue Bokkeveld

  1. sam Jan 12, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    A pity they don’t have a camp site – this would make the place accessible to so many more people.

  2. Marelé Lamprecht Jan 12, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    nice! agree on the camp site…perhaps we can twist an arm to hire a cottage and pitch a tent or two!

  3. Brenda Jan 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Wow! This looks awesome! Thanks to all the bolters and route finders!

  4. Toni Jan 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Gals, maybe we should speak to the owner regarding camping?

  5. Greg Jan 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Awesome find Russel!!!! Well done! Looks a bit like Silvermine Main crag – perfect! Agree glue-ins essential in that softer rock. Ive long held the belief that the softer more weathered rock faces are the way to go for sport potential, the bulletproof stuff (although beautiful) doesnt produce as many holds and is most often better suited to trad as it forms cracks readily.

    Great stuff, giving me itchy palms to grip rock again!

  6. Richard Jun 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Sport Route update: Concensus grading needed.

    Far left of Applestar Galactica:
    Twin Towers – 21 (rock quaility is not very good, but cleaned what could.)

    right of Applestar Galactica:
    Granny Swish – 22

    right of Granny Swish:
    iClimb Fujitsu – 23/24

    Thanks to Russell for letting me open these three routes.
    Please note that the remaining project is closed and marked as such.

  7. Willem Nov 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Hi guys, can any of you tell me of any of the routes can be top roped?

  8. Russell Mar 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    A top rope can be set up fairly safely on most of the problems.

  9. Russell Feb 4, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    The project between One more bite and More than I could chew is now an open project as Rina will not be able to get to Houdenbek anytime soon.

Leave a Comment/Reply/Review