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 Post subject: Honeymoons for Climbers
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
I am looking for honeymoon ideas. (Christine - go read another thread immediately!)

Why am I asking for honeymoon ideas on the climbing forums? Three reasons:
  • I am not looking to spend a parliamentarian's year-end bonus. Climbers are sensible people when money is concerned... sometimes.
  • I'm competent out of doors - be it up mountains or out at sea. I don't need warning labels on my coffee to tell me that it's hot. Just about everything targeted to tourists is pre-chewed and tasteless, lest they hurt themselves. Local knowledge is likely to lead to much more fun, a little chaos and that ethereal commodity: adventure.
  • While the future-missus may be a little miffed if I go ahead and plan a pure-climbing honeymoon, some climbing would be good.

Here are the vital statistics: We are getting married in Cape Town on the 23rd of June, this year. We don't want to travel too much and would like to keep it to southern Africa if possible. We will probably have about three weeks to get lost, together.

My initial idea was to head to the Drakensberg for half the available time - taking day walks in the mountains and snow, spending time in front of a fire-place, somewhere - and then head to a warm beach on the East coast (Wild Coast?) to thaw out, patrol the beaches and swim in the warm Mozambique current.

I considered planning a nice, long, and likely secluded hike but thought better of it - we want to be able to be spontaneous and don't want to be committed to finishing a multi-day hike after the first day. Day walks are better - we can stay indoors the day after, if we choose.

Personally, I'd like to include some sport climbing. I'm climbing up to about grade 20 at the moment and I'm pretty sure I'll have made 21 by June if I apply myself. She's keen to follow just about anything.

I value seclusion and adventure highly. I don't want a commercial palace with rounded corners and warning stickers. I certainly don't want to stay in one of a hundred cookie-cutter houses with a "private" balcony separated from a dozen other "private" balconies by an adjoining wall.

Please make your suggestions and comments! Places to stay, things to do in the Drakensburg or Wild Coast area, alternative or wacky ideas - they're all welcome. Questions for further information are also welcome.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:52 pm
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Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Johann Lanz
If you're driving from Cape Town, spend a few nights in the Tierkloof bush camp at Gamkaberg en route - very secluded, romantic, indoor fire place, nice sunny days in June, beautiful walks - lots of good (but only trad) climbing on your doorstep.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:46 am
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Real Name: Tony H
If you're flexible on the "not travelling too much" part, I'd be jumping on a plane to Madagascar and climbing on the island beaches. Honeymoon vibe, awesome climbing.
We're headed there as part of our climbing trip (also disguised as a honeymoon) later in the year


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:19 pm
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You could do a road trip from the cape, passing through Montagu, Oudtshoorn, heading up to Durban via the Drakensberg. Umgeni valley near Durbs is also pretty cool, with nice cheap little cottages and beautiful views - also some rad climbing. Most climbing places have some nice hikes around too. You can keep it cheap by camping where possible.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:12 am 
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
@bonesfromaus: I did think of Madagascar. I like your idea very much. Where are you going? Where are the climbs? What sort of grades are we talking about? Have you found a good place to stay?

@johannlanz: Thanks - helpful ideas!

Trad. is my thing but she has been deterred from trad. by unsafe people she has climbed with, in the past. Also - don't have a trad. rack. Wedding expenses aren't helping me buy one, either. I'll be at the Tradathon in March and climb trad. at every opportunity, but I am equipped for sport and so sport will remain my domain for a while, yet.

If we drive, we probably won't want to drive for hours and hours on the day after our wedding so we will probably be keen to find somewhere nice in the winelands or Cape Town area. This means that we're either flying to our first stop or finding a first stop near home and driving after a few days.

Does anyone know any little places in the winelands or Western Cape mountainous regions that don't cost the world?

Re. Camping: we don't want to waste time faffing around with tents and gas stoves and stuff. We do that on all our other holidays. For this one, I am happy to abandon my mock-the-chick-with-the-hair-straightener-up-the-mountain attitude and indulge in the luxury afforded by bath tubs, real beds, couches, cocktail bars and a roof. Also - camp sites always introduce an element of chance into any holiday. They might not have space (unlikely in June) or they might be full of annoying South Africans playing "house" from their car speakers (far too likely) or school children. They might not even exist - even if you successfully made a reservation over the phone.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:38 am
Posts: 723
Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
Citrusdale Baths is such a winner for honeymoon. Hot springs(private/indoor+outdoor)...+awesome resturant>>> not too far from Rocklands.

Back roads to Nieubethesta, walk up Compassberg.

Pinnacle Gorge for an element of adventure & sport routes.

Calitzdorp Spar...hot spring! Affordable>>>not too far from Oudtshoorn(climbing)+wine routes+++

Avoid crowds & potential threat(crime).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:22 pm
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I strongly suggest and very highly recommend going to Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape. There is a very romantic little eco-lodge there called The Shire and is run by a family of climbers (http://www.shire.co.za/) there is fantastic bouldering in the forest and good multi-pitch sport. It is also close to NSA crags. This is by far the most stunning and romantic place for climbers I have ever been to. Try to book one of the cottages with an outdoor shower..they have hot water and are awesome. Hope this helps.
Nick


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:38 am
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
I second Nick's recomendation of The Shire in Stutterheim. Those wooden huts are truely awesome & romantic. The bouldering was loverly. Didn't get to the sport.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 7:34 am
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Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Brenda Marx
On your first day you could also consider driving to Kleinmond/Betty's Bay and climb Kleinmond crag. Lots of good routes under 21/21... Or even drive there for the day and spend the night in Hermanus area. I'm sure if you google for some self catering accomodation you could find something within a reasonable price range.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:46 am
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Real Name: Tony H
Re: Madagascar, there are two main developed climbing areas.

The Nosy Hara Archipelago on the northern tip of Madagascar is a series of islands with bolted seaside sport climbing and seems to have a good spread of grades. The easiest place to stay is with NewSeaRoc, a French climbing company who have huts on the beach, all the topos, and organise food and boats between the islands. It looks ideallic.

Tsaranoro is a huge granite cliff in the center of Madagascar, with 800m+ face routes on small edges, mostly above grade 21 and sparsely bolted. Camp Catta at the base of the crag is the climbers camp and has space for tents or bungalows.

We are heading there for a month as part of a big climbing trip this year, planning to be in Madagascar in September for the best weather.

Some links for more info:

http://www.newsearoc.com/
http://www.campcatta.com/
http://www.peaksandpasses.co.uk/the-tsa ... massif.htm
http://www.gdargaud.net/Climbing/Madagascar.html
http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3079
http://www.alpinist.com/doc/ALP17/newsw ... -tsaranoro


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:50 am 
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Location: South Africa, Garden Route
Real Name: JuliHeps
oh my word climbers are awesome!!! :D cuuuute!
Hope u find something amazing to go and do


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
Wow! Helpful replies, guys. Thanks.

Things are up in the air at the moment but I am loving the idea of NewSeaRoc (Madagascar) and Stutterheim... perhaps with a 2 days stop-over at Tierkloof on the way to the eastern cape.

What are the requirements for entry into Madagascar? I will be travelling on a South African passport (although this might change to a British one in the very near future) and she will be on a Zimbabwean passport. (I'm guessing that things will be complicated because Madagascar is neither a British colony nor SADC.)

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Real Name: Stephen Martindale
Re. Madagascar: are there any entry-level routes around there? It looks like their are some incredible routes for the hard-core but, hey, we're only climbing up to about 20 at the moment and so we probably won't have much fun on 8a's.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:46 am
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Real Name: Tony H
Xharlie wrote:
Re. Madagascar: are there any entry-level routes around there? It looks like their are some incredible routes for the hard-core but, hey, we're only climbing up to about 20 at the moment and so we probably won't have much fun on 8a's.


Not too sure about the spread of grades sorry, but there are at least a couple of routes sub 20. Maybe email the guys at Newsearoc to get a better idea? Otherwise you could post on the Australian climbing forum http://www.chockstone.org, one of the regulars there ('Onsight') spend some in Madagascar recently and may be more help.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:18 pm
Posts: 10
Madagascar looks great.
I found this while researching taking a job out there:
http://www.gdargaud.net/Climbing/Madagascar.html
Got some nice pics and at least mentions that there is some easier (6a, 7a) stuff out there.
Looks like a brilliant honeymoon. Have fun!


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