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The Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) is the largest and oldest mountaineering club in South Africa. It facilitates and organises various mountaineering activities including rock climbing and hiking). The MCSA is involved in mountain search and rescue, training, conservation of mountain areas and the procurement of access for mountaineering.


The MCSA was founded in 1891 and hence is one of the oldest mountaineering clubs in the world. The MCSA is one of only two mountain clubs in Africa which are affiliated to the world mountaineering body, the UIAA. Members of the MCSA have climbed and hiked on all the major mountain ranges throughout the world. Since its inception, the MCSA has published an annual journal. The MCSA Journal is one of the oldest mountain club journals still being published on an annual basis.

The Club is organised into 14 sections geographically spread over South Africa and Namibia and has more than 4000 members.

  • Amajuba
  • Cape Town
  • Eastern Province
  • Free State
  • Hottentots Holland
  • Johannesburg
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Magaliesberg
  • Namibia
  • Paarl/Wellington
  • South Cape
  • Stellenbosch
  • Tygerberg
  • Worcester

The objectives of the Mountain Club of South Africa are to further the interests of mountaineering in South Africa and elsewhere, and in doing so inter alia to:

  • Organise and facilitate mountaineering
  • Procure and protect real rights in and access to mountains and mountain areas
  • Initiate and support actions towards protecting the natural beauty and wilderness character of mountains and to promote their effective conservation management
  • Promote the safety and training of mountaineers
  • Organise search and rescue parties
  • Promote the study of mountains and their environments, the preservation of historical and archaeological sites on them and the dissemination of information on mountains and mountaineering.


MCSA Search & Rescue is a volunteer run organisation formed under the auspices of the MCSA and funded by MCSA members and donations. We offer wilderness rescue services to bona fide emergencies without charge as a community service. We work in conjunction with other public and private emergency services agencies such as the South African Air Force, WSAR, Off Road Rescue Unit, K9 Rescue, Police, Fire Services, Private Medical services and many others.

MCSA Search and Rescue's area of specialisation lies in the mountains. We therefore are able to respond to incidents in a mountainous or wilderness area which involves missing, overdue, stuck or injured persons.

For emergencies contact:

  • Western Cape: Tel 10177 or 021 937 0300
  • South Cape (Plettenberg Bay/Knysna/George): Tel 10177
  • Eastern Province (Port Elizabeth): Tel 10177 or Convenor: 082 990 7626
  • Kwazulu Natal (Durban / Pietermartitzburg): Tel 0800 005-133
  • Gauteng / Free State / North West / Limpopo / Mpumalanga: Primary Tel 074 125 1385, Secondary Tel: 074 163 3952 Alternatively contact Metro on Tel 011 315-0203


A great deal of work is done by the MCSA to keep access to climbing areas open, please adhere to all access arrangements and help keep climbing and hiking areas open to all. We are seeing many climbing areas overseas losing access and the same is happening in South Africa. Please support our efforts and help stem the trend.

Please contact the MCSA before visiting unknown climbing areas which might be sensitive to access, very often negotions are in progress and you visiting the area can upset them or even close the access. Always keep noise levels down at climbing areas, never litter, preserve the fauna and flora, do your ablutions far from rivers and bury them thoroughly. Remember that fires are usually prohibited in most areas, please respect this and other access conditions the owners may have set (e.g. in many areas you may only arrive and leave in daylight hours).

Above all remember that many of the properties you climb on are privately owned and upsetting the owner (which has proved to be very easy) often causes them to close access.


The MCSA (specifically the Johannesburg and Magaliesberg Sections) owns and manages several of the kloofs in the Magaliesberg. Access to these kloofs is controlled for conservation reasons. For conservation reasons the number of permits is limited. Up to 20 persons per day can visit a kloof via a permit system (depending on which kloof). The permit fee goes towards conservation work on the properties (e.g. eradication of alien vegetation as well as fire breaks). MCSA members does not require permits to access MCSA properties when carrying their membership cards, in addition each MCSA member may be accompanied by a guest. Note that no facilities are provided and paths are not marked.

Permits are available, subject to availability, at R30 per adult per day, R20 for students and high school scholars and R10 for children under 13 years (fee subject to change). Different rates apply to commercial activities please enquire.

Area Contact name Contact details
Castle Gorge Marion Hüfner (JHB Hiking Club) 087 940 1903 (Mon-Fri, Weekdays 8h30 to 12h30) -
Dome Kari Lowl 087 808 3729 (Mon-Fri 08h00-10h00)
Grootkloof Kari Lowl 087 808 3729 (Mon-Fri 08h00-10h00)
Mhlabatini Kari Lowl 087 808 3729 (Mon-Fri 08h00-10h00)
Tonquani complex (incl. Cederberg Kloof and Boulder Kloof) Uschi Magg (011) 807 1310 (Uschi Mon-Fri, 08h00-10h00)
Wolkberg (Hut) Uschi Magg (For members only) (011) 807-1310 (Uschi Mon-Fri, 08h00-10h00)
Other Uschi Magg (011) 807-1310 (Uschi Mon-Fri, 08h00-10h00)