Gamkaberg offers good quality, single and multi-pitch, trad climbing with a doddle of an approach and easy descents in beautiful, pristine surroundings, with nice, comfortable camping. A very relaxing, family-friendly venue.
There are potential sensitivities from reserve management about climbing at Gamkaberg, and so it is best to keep a very low profile about climbing there. Don’t openly display climbing equipment around the office, camp site or walk-in and don’t tell staff that you are rock climbing, simply say that you are hiking. Gamkaberg is a pristine and beautiful wilderness environment. Please climb with the respect that this place deserves at all times.
Don’t even think about bolting anything!
Gamkaberg is a nature reserve in the Little Karoo managed by Cape Nature and is located south of the R62 between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, fairly near (east of) the Calitzdorp Hot Springs. The reserve offers extremely nice (but pricey) Eco Lodge bush camp accommodation, as well as a Stables dormitory and a small ordinary camp site – all beautifully maintained and well equipped. You can also make day visits. For accommodation info and a map of how to get there see the following page on Capenature.co.za.
The reserve (but not the climbing) was also featured in the March – May 2010 issue of SA Mountain Sport. The climbing is in Tierkloof on very good quality, hard quartzitic sandstone similar to Montagu but with many
beautiful, vertical finger cracks. Access is a short, level walk along a manicured hiking trail which runs up the kloof. A total of 32 routes have been opened so far, with potential for many more, both within the developed area and
higher up the kloof.
There is lots of shade in the kloof, many of the climbs are on shady south faces, and the kloof remains cool during hot weather. Depending on recent rainfall, there may be very little water in the kloof, but there is usually drinking
water around the weir – but best to take all drinking requirements.
Descent from most routes: pick a tree and rapp off – there are suitable trees on ledges everywhere on the crags. Some established routes have tat where there is a lack of a suitable tree. Some crags are easy to walk off.
Approach: From the camp site and reserve reception (GPS: S33.670838 E21.888915) take the most direct route up the Pied Barbet walking trail which runs up the wide kloof (start up the road, take first hiking trail right, at first fork take a left to avoid going up the side of valley, pass a bench off to the right, then take next right to stick to the bottom of the valley). A less than 2 km stroll takes you to the start of the narrow part of Tierkloof – leave the Pied Barbet trail to follow the trail up the kloof towards Oukraal and the Overhang.
A minute or 2 up the kloof you reach the bench (GPS: S33.68577 E21.89821). If you are staying at the Tierkloof Eco-lodge it is only a 5 minute walk to the bench. Climbs are ordered sequentially from the bottom of the kloof moving upstream. The location of each sector on the true left or right bank of the stream (ie. going downstream) is given.
Please forward information about new routes, or any comments, corrections etc about RD to Johann at firstname.lastname@example.org