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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 9:09 pm
Posts: 5
Hi everybody!

first of all - i tried to do my homework and search about best climbing spots i SA but... looks you have so many good crags, and I only have 5 weeks and need to choose sth :) So I need some advise from local climbers and would appreciate any help.

I'll be in mid June in SA with my girlfriend and we have a plan to rent some cheap car/wreck (any first suggestions?? JNB airport) and climb, climb and... climb ;) I usually try to fight with gravity on grades 24 to 29 +/-, my Better Half on easier stuff (17-21), sport climbing.

For sure we want to visit Waterval Boven - looks amazing! but also found that it may be nice:
a) Umgeni
b) Kloff
c) Oudtshoorn (stay at De Hoek?)
d) Montagu
e) Wow prow
f) Harrismith

What do you think?? And WHAT ELSE? :)

Is there (a-f):
-reasonably safe?
-good climbing? ok for winter time?
-where to stay? (campsites/other cheap accommodation options/ok for tent?)

Thanks for any suggestions and if anybody wants to climb with us (or drink beer or two :wink: ) somewhere it would be great to meet You!

Martin from PL


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 7:19 am 
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 7:34 am
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Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Brenda Marx
Hi Martin
Oudtshoorn (yes, stay at De Hoek) and Montagu (stay at De Bos - www.debos.co.za) are great venues!
Also, if you are planning to be in Cape Town, there are several crags worth visiting for a day, e.g. The Mine, The Hole or even Silvermine Main crag). But be sure to check out Hellfire as well as Paarl Rock for something different.
The self catering chalets at De Hoek are really worth it.
You can camp in a tent at Montagu.
All these are good places to go in winter, and safety should not be an issue.
And DO visit some wine farms if you're in the Stellenbosch area!


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 9:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:39 am
Posts: 46
Real Name: Mike J
Call Gustav or Alex at the Roc 'n Rope about a place to stay in Boven. They can set you up with a place to crash at the lodge. You can alternatively camp at Tranquilitas.

Since your better half can't climb 28, skip Wow prow.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 10:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
5-weeks is a decent time frame for sure, but you will probably find that you can't do all the major areas. Doing Mpumalanga (Boven); KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape might prove to be too much travelling; especially if you plan to spend decent time at the best locations. I would go for something like this:
Boven - climb
Drive down to Harrimsith (Eagle Mountain) - climb
Explore the Eastern Free State - Golden Gate & Clarens - chill & scenery
Drive down to Oudtshoorn - climb
Do the Garden Route or Route 62 - chill & scenery
Montagu - climb
Cape Town - climb & be a tourist
Rocklands - Sport climbing & bouldering

alternatively, from Harrismith go and do the KZN crags. Both are very good options.


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:53 pm 
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Brenda, Mike, Willem - thanks for advice! :thumright

Yep, 5 weeks is not so short, but for sure not enough time to see most of good looking climbing spots in SA...
So we'll take 2 weeks for Boven (already emailed Alex)+ Kruger, perhaps 10 days for climbing in KZN and last week just ride throw country, chill, look around and maybe climb a day or two in Oudtshoorn/Montagu or Wow.

as for KZN - can you recommend where to stay at Umgeni and Kloff George? (campsites for tent or cheap chalet/room). Found some info on forum that safety is not an issue there and climbing+surrounding looks very nice!


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:55 am
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Location: Pretoria
Real Name: Brian Weaver
As someone who's pushing 29 as a maximum, Wow Prow might not be as fun as you're hoping. It could be a bit tough. The entry route there is hard bouldery move resulting in a 28 route then it goes to 31, 32, 32, 33. The lines are amazing but very tough. There is a badly bolted 25 there which has the reputation for destroying ropes as well...

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:19 am 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 9:09 pm
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Thanks for reply Brian! I just wanted 'to taste' Wow a little bit cause it looks amazing :) 14 years of climbing (and visiting places like Verdon, Yosemite or oldschool sandstone in CZ) teached me being very humble, especially in new climbing destinations... and I'm ok with that, always learning :)

ps.. does anybody can recommend where to stay at Umgeni and Kloff George?


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 12:16 pm 
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For a place to stay near Kloof Gorge best search for backpackers or B&Bs neat Kloof or Hillcrest. The Edge is probably the closest to most of the crags. It is on Watsonia Road which is near Boneyard and the Canyon. http://www.edgeonkloof.co.za/?page_id=51 For Umgeni, stay at the reserve. Choose one of their bush camps: Indulo camp (if you don't want to walk far) or Cycad camp if you want to be in a beautiful remote location amongst boulders with cool problems on them and don't mind a gentle 4km walk-in to your bed. You can also stay in their chalets (less hiking, more facilities but not as cool) if you are happy to pay a bit more. Just visit their website here for reservations. http://wessa.org.za/regions/kzn/kzn-environmental-education-centres/umgeni-valley/accommodation.htm Anywhere in Howick will be close enough for you to drive everyday.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:48 am
Posts: 605
Real Name: Warren Gans
I suppose you could also be a little more choosy and say whether you prefer face or overhang/cave. As you keen on Boven I assume the former, in which case please tick Dance Macabre at Boneyard.

If I only had 5 weeks I would probably take either Western Cape or "upcountry" as their is enough to do in either. Harrismith is fun, please do a few multipitches there (Pigeon Power might be the best 21 in the country).

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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Posts: 599
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
for a 5 week trip, the last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin, and spend most of your time behind the wheel.

In June time W Cape weather can be iffy, but Montagu and Oudtshoorn are good escapes (although it could take you as long to drive from Cape Town there as to wait out the weather!) whereas around Mpumalanga / Boven and KZN weather is usually better that time of year, and there will be more than enough to keep yourself busy.

So decide if you want to travel more, climb less, and see more places, or travel less, climb more and see less places. Neither is right or wrong, depends if you ever plan on going back for another trip, and maybe leave one area for another time.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 9:09 pm
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Candice B - THANKS! :thumright that was exactly what we were looking for about accommodation :) Especially Wessa camps looks nice & cheap so perhaps we'll start with Umgeni. As for Kloff we will see - maybe this b&b for short time or sth like this: http://www.queensburgh.caravanparks.co.za - 20km from kloff but cheaper (we'll be on slightly tight budget). Safe enought?

Warren, Chris, also thanks for your feedback! Slight overhanging with crimps and/or two finger pockets is what i like most, but actually all of this crags in KZN and Boven looks really good, so I don't care much about it.

And Yes, more climbing than riding preffered, so we'll leave western cape for next time ;)

Do you know if I can buy somewhere near Umgeni guidebook and some outdoor stuff like gas cartridge (like Primus)?

cheers,
martin


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:39 am
Posts: 46
Real Name: Mike J
You can get canisters a few places, like Cape Union mart, but they're not nearly as easy to find as in Europe or North America. If you have a multi-fuel stove I would opt to bring that instead.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 35
Real Name: Deon Wessels
Go to Wow Prow.. Even if you cant climb a route its still worth it. I struggled on the "badly bolted" 25 and it was awesome. There is also a cool 16? for your better half. Best crag I have seen.

If you are into multi pitch sport climbing you can try Swinburne (also harrismith). It has some of the best multi pitches around for all grades.. Do Wolfmothers Wallpaper or Long Bolt to Freedom, its awesome everytime...


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:48 am
Posts: 605
Real Name: Warren Gans
Gas is widely available, however certain chain stores don't take it as seriously as others. On the way to Boven you drive past two places that stock it: Trappers Emalahleni (AKA Witbank) and Trappers Middleburg. Both are in large malls close to the N4, however the former is more convenient than the latter. I would also do your grocery shopping there as Boven is sparse for these sorts of things (with the exception of a good butcher and bottle store).

You will not find Primus branded gas in RSA, however they should have other brands you are familiar with (MSR, Jetboil, Providus etc).

If you are cunning you can avoid the next tollgate by cutting through town and along to Middleburg, but that can be a tedious drive (Hopefully they have repaired the bridge). As you are camping you can also avoid one of the most expensive tolls in the country by turning off at Machadodorp, But as I can't remember the names of the roads to get through that way I will have to ask that someone else replies with this info. The upshot of this is that route takes you straight to Tranquilitas, rather than through Boven itself.

Quite obviously Nelspruit also has several stores with gas, no doubt you will head there at some point to restock on food etc.

Assuming you will then go from Boven on to Harrismith you are better stopping at JJ Wapens/Wildman Ermelo for more gas. If they don't have there is a Campworld across the road that should have. FYI Wildman Ermelo is the largest private arsenal in the country. The N11 will be the most rural "African" road you take , and I recommend taking photos of kraals etc along the way.

As you are going to Harrismith I highly recommend at least a day climbing or hiking in the Drakensberg. It is perfectly reasonable to day trip Witsieshoek from Harrismith, and so please try do Angus Lappan (trad), Paradigm Shift (if you are brave, but it is sport) or simply hike via the chain ladders to the top. There is some great curios shopping to be had in that area too.

As we are talking about more touristy things to do in that area a drive through Goldengate, and a pit stop in Clarens are compulsory. The drive along the western edge of the Freestate is one of my favourites anywhere, and takes you to Clocolan. After Ladybrand the roads get bad, and unfortunately there is no climbing there yet (Zastron needs serious attention).

Ok, I am going to stop writing now or I will get too jealous (I live in Cape Town)

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:39 am
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Real Name: Mike J
Warren G wrote:
As you are camping you can also avoid one of the most expensive tolls in the country by turning off at Machadodorp, But as I can't remember the names of the roads to get through that way I will have to ask that someone else replies with this info. The upshot of this is that route takes you straight to Tranquilitas, rather than through Boven itself.


Speed limit on the N4 drops to 80 kmh as you pass the Machadodorp exits. Take the first one into town. Turn left when you get to the church. Stay on that road until you see signs for Slaaihoek, then turn left. Stay on that road until you see signs for Waterval Boven. Left again onto the dirt road. Keep going until you get to Tranquilitas. If you keep going down the dirt road it will take you into Boven where the Roc n Rope is located. Saves R67 in tolls.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:11 pm
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Real Name: Lizelle Makovini
Quote:
Saves R67 in tolls.

Now R71 :(


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 5:53 pm 
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Posts: 349
Real Name: Jonathan
KZN weather in winter is usually quite nice between now and October - dry and dusty at times, but rain it doesn't rain nearly as much in summer.

There are plenty of B&B's in Howick (for Umngeni crags), try Google. Howick is best known for the place where people go to retire these days, its a very nice pleasant town. You can also go climbing at Howick Falls (a 95m high waterfall), although I have never climbed there, so I don't know how the quality of the routes - but the falls are probably what the town is best known for. Its worth visiting for a few minutes on the way through.

A stop at the Drakensberg is a must. Not necessarily for climbing, but there is plenty of climbing (although some can be dodgy). The chain ladders are a fun way to spend half a day, but if you are looking at a nice way to spend a full day - go to Didima and climb Cathedral Peak. It is classified as a climbing route, but it is just some scrambling on a hike. Its a nice way to spend a day, and the view from the summit is one of the best you will ever find if you are lucky enough to have clear weather. The trail is very easy to follow and is strong through to the top, but if you are worried, you can hire a guide from Cathedral Peak Hotel.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 9:09 pm
Posts: 5
WOW! I'll bankrupt, but what the hell, beer for all!!! ;) Thanks! looks You have really nice climbing community in SA.
hope to see u at crags!


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