Manoutsa or Strijdom Tunnel is a good traditional climbing area in Mpumalanga. The area was first ‘climbed’ back in 1975 and slowly more and more routes have been added. The climbing is generally very good with superb views of the lowveld.
The routes are all natural mostly 5 to 7 pitches long.
The rock varies from one climb to another, but is normally excellent. It tends to be rather featured making apparently blank faces quite climbable, while providing excellent gear in both vertical cracks and on the faces themselves.
The cliffs tend to be north facing and as such will be very hot in summer. The best time to climb will be winter, although spring and autumn will not be too bad. There are a lot of black-jacks present in the early winter which will make the descents a little less fun.
Take plenty of water, and allow for a 2 hour descent back to the car.
From the N4 travelling towards Waterval Boven take the road to Lydenburg just after the Machadadorp Toll Plaza. After about 15km, turn left onto the R36 towards Lydenburg. Continue along the R36 through Lydenburg and Ohrigstad and down the Abel Erasmus pass to the tunnel. The climbing area is just upstream of the JG Strijdom tunnel on both sides of the road. This road leads down the escarpment on the Abel Erasmus pass towards Tzaneen.
Manoutsa is broken down into a number of climbing areas, each with their own parking, approach and descent. They are thus described in more detail in these sections.
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