Rocklands Bouldering Permit

Ulan Batar, Rocklands

Antonio Moreno on Ulan Batar 7b at Rocklands. Photo by: Micky Wiswedel

From 1 June 2014 no access allowed anywhere in Rocklands without this permit.  Also available from de Pakhuys office and campsite, CapeNatures’ Kliphuis Campsite, Clanwilliam Tourism Office and the shop at Travelers Rest

You can purchase permits with and without a credit card.

You will not be able to see if permits are sold out and if a certain permit appears sold out you have to get in touch with on the above people/establishments you’d like to get in touch with the event organizer directly, you’ll be able to ask them about getting additional tickets.

The permit guarantees entry to all bouldering areas in Rocklands for the validity duration, including CapeNature, de Pakhuys and Travellers Rest area’s

All climbers visiting Rocklands must be in possession of this permit to climb on any land and must carry this permit with them at all times .

Booking Terms and Conditions:

The following Terms and Conditions apply to all bookings (walk-in or pre-paid):

Damage / loss / death

It is a distinct condition of admission to any protected area, that the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board and the property owners accept no responsibility or liability arising from a visit(s) howsoever caused:

* For any death, injury or illness sustained or suffered by any person.

* For theft/loss/damage to any property, whether allegedly due to the negligence of the board/officers/employees/agents or arising from the use of any facilities supplied/made available.

* CapeNature and the landowners accepts NO responsibility for clothing or any items left behind at our facilities.

* From any alleged defect in any utensil/equipment/ services/vessel/vehicle.

* From any other conveyance supplied/made available, or from any liquid/food supplied.

* From any other matter arising, in any other manner and from any other cause whatsoever.

Breaking of the rules

CapeNature and the landowners reserves the right to deny access or to evict guests who do not adhere to the rules and regulations of the CapeNature and landowners and/or its reserves. Money paid for these bookings will be forfeited.

These rules include, but are not limited to the following:

• Visitors are to have their bouldering permit with them upon entrance to the reserve.
• No pets allowed on reserves, the only exception will be guide dogs for the blind.
• No collection of bait, removing, damaging or disturbing of fauna or flora
• Rowdy or unwanted behavior
• All tariffs are subject to change without notification.
• Stick to the marked walking trails
• No puff or resin allowed
• Carry out what you carry in

Rocklands Bouldering Permit

35 Responses to Rocklands Bouldering Permit

  1. Cuan Jun 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    And we wait for the backlash 😛
    The prices are not too bad considering the discount for longer periods. I can’t find any mention of Wildcard discounts though…Any idea?

  2. Thys Kruger Jun 11, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Cuan, Wildcards will no longer be valid for bouldering access.

  3. Johann Jun 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    What is this Puff/Resin mentioned second to last?

  4. jacques Jun 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    haha johann, dont worry, Puff does not refer to the magic dragon…. As far as I know, its a resin shmeared on holds to make it grippier? bad practice imho…

  5. Richard Jun 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    It looks like there needs to be some clarification here.

    It is called a Rocklands Bouldering Permit, but on the permit website it says “no access allowed anywhere in Rocklands without this permit” and elsewhere it says: ” must be in possession of this permit to climb on any land”.

    So does one need a bouldering permit to go sport climbing? and for trad climbing or walking? Surely not.

    Thys, do you know what is still covered by the Wildcard?

  6. Greg Hart Jun 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    Whats the point of getting a wildcard then? They should offer some kind of discount at least? It gets you into any other reserve free, why not there?

  7. Zoe Jun 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    A local rate / South African discount would definitely make sense, with a Wildcard or whatever – considering how much we earn compared to foreigners. Most other countries do this with their national parks. Also would be good to have some kind of system where you could buy a ‘pack of ten’ day permits or something at once, which are valid for a year, for a discounted rate, which you could use when you wish. What happens if you buy a permit ahead of time and then plans change last minute and you can’t use it?

    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Zoe, no need to buy the permit online – so if you plans might change, rather stick to getting a manual permit on site!

  8. Ebert Nel Jun 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    This card makes it way better to go to Rocklands, though it should be cheaper for locals and even cheaper for scholars and students. Any idea whether scholars and students can get discount or is this a standard price system for all persons on this planet?


    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Hallo Richard

      This permit applies to sport climbing, trad climbing and bouldering only Richard. Hiking still covered by Wildcard

  9. Evan Margetts Jun 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    In terms of the amount of permits available, is there a large possibility that they will run out in June/July? And if so, when should we get them buy in order to make it in time?

    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      The system puts no limit on the amount of permits per season Evan

  10. Cuan Jun 12, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Thanks Thys,

    I was involved in the negotiation (as you know) and I recall there being mention of a discount for Wildcard holders (NOT completely free though).
    I presume this permit is then for all areas and not just Cape Nature?
    Some clarification would be great as Cape Nature (to my knowledge and I’m on the committee) has not officially informed the Rock Sub Committee of the WC MCSA regarding their final decision, so I was just taken aback a little with this post, that’s all 🙂
    Cheers for now,

    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Cuan, the landowners had numerous workshops after that meeting where the MCSA had input and you will notice the rates are those proposed at that meeting. The wildcard would have complicated things because of the private landowners involved. Yes, the permit are for ALL areas in Rocklands.:)

      • Cuan Jun 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

        Thanks for the clarification Thys, can’t wait to come back soon 🙂 Pity this weekend is looking so krap with the weather 🙁

  11. Keith Jun 12, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    In the past if you camped at De Pakhuys and bouldered only at De Pakhuys, the bouldering fee was included in the camping fee.

    For De Pakhys bouldering, It sounds like you need to pay an additional R60 on top of the camping fee even if you do not set foot on Cape Nature land.

    Thys, is this the case?

    What would the cost be if you camp at De Pakhuys and do not boulder there or on Cape Nature land, but go sport climbing at De Pakhys?

    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Keith, you need this permit, no matter where in Rocklands you stay.

  12. Keith Jun 12, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Relative earnings and jingoism aside, the system still seems skewed against local climbers.

    This is because local climbers tend to come out on the weekends, whereas foreign climbers tend to come for a single chunk (say two weeks).

    So a foreign climber might spend fourteen days in Rocklands in a year (one chunk), and a local climber might also spend fourteen days in Rocklands over a year (over 7 weekends).

    But… because of the nature of the payment system it costs the local climber a lot more in permit fees than the foreign climber although in both cases the same amount of time is spent in (the) Rocklands.

  13. Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    The wildcard still applies to hikers but not for bouldering, trad climbing or sport climbing in Rocklands.

    We need to see this as a step in the right direction, certainly not a perfect system. I wish I could tell you what a mission it has been to get to this point!!

    We are running a trail for this season and will, with inputs from the climbing community, re-valuate after a year.

  14. Steve B Jun 12, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Great work on the permits Thys. I think it’s a great success for climbers.

    Keith does have a point about local weekend warriors getting a bit screwed. Maybe in the future there could be a weekend warrior rate that covers weekends only for 3 months?

    Anyways, well done on getting this set up.

    • Thys Kruger Jun 12, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks Steve and we will most certainly revisit pricing options after this season

  15. Evan Margetts Jun 12, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Thanks Thys! I know this will make it much easier for climbers traveling to different areas without the mission of getting permits.

    And if you use the pass enough then you will actually save money ! See you soon!

  16. Jurie Jun 14, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Dogs allowed anywhere?

  17. Mikey Jun 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Out of interest is Tea Garden area still closed for this season? or has it been reopened?

    • NickT Jun 16, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      Negotiations are underway with the Teagarden landowner. Until we can come to an agreement with her the area will remain closed. However, there is a good chance it will re-open in the near future under certain conditions….

  18. Daniel Jun 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    A reality is that the W Cape does not have a shortage of bouldering (or climbing) opportunities. While the pricing system may make sense to foreign visitors (or even upcountry visitors on a two week trip), it does not make sense to me as a local for the occasional weekend trip. Sure Rocklands may have a certain cachet but for me there is no logic to spending all that money to drive to Rocklands for a weekend, pay for accommodation and still get nailed with a climbing fee. I can spend far less on petrol and still have a significant bouldering weekend for free (and if I want to sport climb, it sure ain’t going to be at Rocklands – at least now).

  19. Paddy Jun 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I can appreciate that landowners feel that they should derive a direct benefit from climbing on their property. However, there is a dynamic at play here which the landowners do not seem to appreciate. While the boulders/cliffs etc are on their property and have value for their climbing utility, this value was only acquired by reason of the development efforts of the climbers themselves. I am not aware of single route (sport or bouldering) being developed by a landowner. To turn on climbers and charge them for the very value they created is exploitation. This is particularly so for sport climbing. By my reckoning there are approximately 75 sport routes in Rocklands. This represents an investment in the area by climbers at today’s prices of approximately R200 000 (material/ labour/ overheads such as petrol).

    The other dynamic at play is the benefit to the local community in general from the money spent locally by climbers on accommodation, food etc. Based on this I would think that the local community would do all they could to encourage more climber’s visiting the area. It must be remembered that Rocklands does not have a monopoly on quality bouldering.

    Contrast this approach with that of Kalymnos which is very much like Rocklands in the sense that climbing is an important revenue resource for the area. Climbing is free and routes often locally subsidized. In turn the local community benefits significantly from the money spent in the area by climbers on accommodation, food etc. I think the Kalymnos community genuinely appreciates that encouraging climbing benefits both the community at large as well as those businesses focused on climbing.

  20. Greg Hart Jun 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    @ Paddy, I guess in Kalymnos the locals all own businesses that benefit directly from visitors or if not they benefit from the increased revenue circulating the community as a result. Whereas in the Rocklands area all farmers/landowners see is erosion with no real compensating benefits?

    I would have to agree that we aren’t short of rock here and I would also likely spend my time and money elsewhere exploring new ground.

    That said something needed to be done to deal with the impacts the vast (by local standards) number of visitors leave behind. So well done to Thys for negotiating a way forward. Yet, I do hope the landowners aren’t shooting themselves in the foot, if you look at attempts to profit from climbing in other countries (eg Sardinia) via high permit fees, the climbers generally have rebelled and boycotted those areas.

  21. Stewart Jun 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Will be interesting to see if climbers will now continue to visit Rocklands.
    I’m guessing not as many locals will make the trip anymore, while the internationals plans won’t change too much.

    • Justin Lawson Jul 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      Not with the current exchange rate! (all prices dropped by 50% essentially)

  22. Chris F Jun 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    I think international interest may have moved on to “the next big thing” and interest in Rocklands may have peaked. Be interesting to see how this winter plays out, I hope I’m wrong.

  23. NickT Jun 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    The organising of the one permit system has been a major collaborative effort between the MCSA bouldering sub-committee, Thys from De-Pakhuys, Cape Nature and a small amount of input from the remaining land owners. The ideal behind the system is that it is simple and permits are easy to attain. There have always been permits required for climbing in Rocklands however only in the past few years have the Cape Nature section been enforcing these permits. To put something into context is that last years permits for the pass were R60 a person per day and before the one permit system was initiated this year, they were charging R120 per person per day!!!!! The efforts of MCSA and Thys were to help stop the exploitation and create an easier multi stakeholder system that served everyone. As it is the first year of implementation we will see a number of teething problems however we hope to see it improve over time. One primary point that the MCSA will be looking at is figuring out a locals rate. Another ongoing issue is maintaining access and discussions are underway to get the Teagarden open again (with the exception of the Black Shadow boulder which has been closed now forever!).

    From a personal point of view, it is becoming largely un-affordable to do weekend/longish trips to Rocklands as a result of this system, however we hope through further meetings/discussions we will be able to get better prices in the future. The system needs to be figured out and all the stakeholders will need to agree on something so it may take a little time. But hopefully it will happen


    • Thys Kruger Jun 18, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Nick, just one correction – if you buy a Weekend permit, valid from Friday to Sunday, you actually get access on 3 days for R100 – just R33 per day.

  24. Thys Kruger Jun 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Paddy, from you response it’s quite clear that we have never met………….I’ll leave it with that. Thanks for the insight Nick.

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