White Umfolozi River

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In a nutshell, what you find at the White Umfolozi is a selction of over two hundred and twenty routes, including more than sixty sport routes, all on superb rock. It is only 3 hours drive from Durban and 4.5 drive from Joburg. This is a real "out of Africa" climbing venue and as a bonus, it is a wilderness area that will delight any nature lover.


The chances of rain at the White Umfolozi in winter are close to zero. Even in summer the chances are extremely low. This part of the river is in an arid, rain-shadow area. Even when it is pouring with rain along the coast, it is usually dry in this valley.


Trad and bolted routes

The climbing

There are about a hundred and sixty trad routes and more than sixty sport routes at teh White Umfolozi. These range in grade from 8/3 to 27/7c and in length from 5m to 45m. There are good belay points at the top of most routes and the majority of these can be easily top-roped.

Getting there

The White Umfolozi crags are situated in the heart of Zululand about midway between Melmoth and and Vryheid. (Consult the guide book for directions and see the map.) The crags on the north and south banks are now in the hands of separate owners. Climbers are no longer allowed unconditional access to both sides of the river. Do NOT stray across the imaginary line down the middle of the river. Check the MCSA-KZN web site www.mcsa.org.za/kzn or Gavin Peckham for the latest information.

Food and accommodation

There is camping and a rustic hut - consult the route book for information and contact details.

Guide Books/References

Rock Climbing at the White Umfolozi River by Gavin Peckham (Out of Print)

19 July 2006 An update for the White Umfolozi route guide has just been published. It has 16 pages with cardboard covers and colour photos. It will be included with all future sales of the route guide and is available free to anyone who has previously bought a copy. Either collect it from me personally or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to me at P O Box 593, Empangeni, 3880.

Notes: ** you will need to take your own drinking water

Route Info

For full route descriptions, topos and maps purchase Gavin Peckham's "Rock Climbing at the White Umfolozi River" - The book is printed on 80 bond paper in A6 format with ring binding and plastic covers. It has 172 pages which include detailed RDs for over 220 routes, more than 20 maps and topos as well as many photos in B&W and full colour. The cost in SA is R95 per copy plus R20 p&p. Contact Gavin at gpeckham{at}pan.uzulu.ac.za or 035 792 4543(a/h).