Monteseel is one of the the most popular climbing venues in Natal. The crag is easily accessible from Durban or Pietermaritzburg and has the shortest walk-in in Natal (50 m). It has a selection of about 300 traditional routes of all grades between 8 and 28. These are mostly one-pitch routes that vary in height between about ten and thirty metres. The rock is superb quality sandstone of the Natal Group and is characterised by good edges and horizontal rails.
The crag comprises two major sections, the Eastern and Western Buttresses. Each of these crags is well over half a kilometre long. In the gap between these two major crags, and at a lower level, is the Lower Middle Buttress. Because of its ready accessibility, most of the climbing at Monteseel has focused on the near Eastern Buttress. However, there are numerous worthwhile routes scattered along the entire length of the crag. Climbers are urged to venture beyond the central area to sample the many other delights on offer.
Location and Access
The Monteseel crags are roughly half way between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From either city, take the N3 toll road and turn off at the “Hammersdale” off-ramp (exit 34). If approaching from the Pietermaritzburg side, then turn left at the end of the off-ramp, follow the road round a sharp bend and back in the direction of Pietermaritzurg. If approaching from the Durban side, you obviously turn right at the end of the off-ramp, cross the bridge over the N3, then follow the road round the same sharp bend. Continue on for about two kilometres, cross a bridge over a railway line, and then, a couple of hundred metres further, take the turn-off that leads sharply back to the right. This road winds up a hill, past Cordies Hotel (formerly the Colorado) on your right, and reaches a T-junction about a kilometre from the previous turn-off. At the T-junction, turn right and follow the road that winds up to the top of Inchanga Hill. About two kilometres from the T-junction, just before the top of the hill, take the
* Eastern Crag * Lower Middle Buttress * Western Buttress