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The CapeRoutes Krakadouw Climbing Guide by Leo Rust (Free PDF Download)

This PDF guide can be downloaded here for free.

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How to get there

Fees & Permits

Accommodation & Food

Attractions & Activities


Tired of the crowds? Need some time away? Look no further than Krakadouw....

Krakadouw is an area of the Northern Cedarberg. It is similar to the better known Tafelberg and Wolfberg climbing areas, but has a different, more remote vibe. The walk-in is easier than tafelberg, but takes about as long. The climbing takes place on amphitheaters on the Southern and Western sides of the Groot Krakadouw peak, as well as some single pitch routes on middle Krakadouw. You'll need a Cape Nature Conservation permit. No bolting allowed, and no fires. Need further convincing? Picture gallery [here]

Getting there

Driving (3h45m)


Drive up the N7 for 215km.

Take the R364, passing through Clanwilliam and over the Pakhuis pass (Rocklands). Turn right after 42km on to a gravel road towards Wuppertal / Biedouw.

Turn right after 26km towards Heuningvlei (signposted), then follow the signs to Heuningvlei.

Just after the final descent and stream crossing, about 1km before Heuningvlei village you will notice a turn-off to the left (not signposted).

Turn left and drive about 300m up the road where you can take a road to the right. About 75m up this road you will see a gate and a Cape Nature Conservation signboard. Park in the cleared area before the gate on the right.

NB: GPS maps think that the 11km road directly from Pakhuis to Heuningvlei village is do-able. Unless you have friends in the CNC, keys for the gates and a good 4x4/donkey cart you'll need to follow the directions above...

NBB: Safe parking at the Heuningvlei village - See: Crime at Krakadouw

Walking in (3hr)

From the parking lot, follow the road to the Heuningvlei hut (a small stone hut). From the hut, leave the road and cross the marshy stream (heading South) and walk up a steep, clearly defined path to vlakte.

On this vlakte there is an obvious pointy beacon. Here, you must choose whether to follow the path to the summit, or to take the climbers track to the neck between groot and middel Krakadouw.

Summit path (clearly marked): From the beacon on the vlakte just above the hut follow the path along the vlakte. You will pass though a line of cedar trees and the path will take you up a valley towards the summit. From the top of the valley (last reliable water) you can follow a cairned path towards the Southern trig beacon (some scrambling required). Roughly 250m NE of the S summit beacon there is an obvious S facing cave which can sleep several people.

Climbers Path to Nek: From the beacon on the vlakte just above the hut leave the summit path and walk towards and through a clump of dead cedar trees. Walk up a sandy gully and onto another vlakte. Keeping a cedar grove on your right head up the valley towards the nek following the cairns. Camp on the Nek or traverse towards the amphitheaters to a small bivvy cave.

General Climbing Info

GPS Coordinates


32.21235S; 19.10594E

Veldwagters Hut

32.21519S; 19.08976E (Good for overnight, Close to water)

Path Junction

32.2196S; 19.08487E (Keep Left/South for Summit, Keep Right/West for Saddle)

Saddle Camp (Middle Krakadouw)

32.22861S; 19.06724E (Sheltered, but NOT rainproof)

Saddle Water

32.22618S; 19.07009E (Drip under a rock. Reasonably constant)

Groot Krakadouw - Cave marked in RED on Summit Map

32.2395S; 19.06323E (Good Cave. Sleeps 5 to 7. Water close by)

Abseil Point at Gendarme (Approximate)

32.235820S; 19.062416E

Climbing Locality

Krakadouw locality


Map drawn by Mike Hislop, 1992 journal.

Summit Map

Krakadouw Summit Map

Map Origin Ernst Lotz
Ernst Lotz - Click here for more information on this climbing legend

Descent Notes

Version 1: Follow stone beacons from the trig survey summit, down to a grassy vlakte. A beacon indicates where one breaks left, towards Clanwilliam, down a subsidiary gully. From here, follow from 'Wolfberg Cracks-like' passages, climbing down chockstones until eventually emerging the massive grey tower separating the two climbing amphitheaters. Follow the right hand (i.e. Heuningvlei side) gully behind it, down more chockstones till above the saddle halfway up the tower. Three abseils down on the Heuningvlei side to get down. Note: The directions are given as one descends, facing outwards. Written by Mike Scott, 1988 MCSA journal.

Version 2: Walk and scramble into the large grass filled gully between the main and subsidiary amphitheaters. Follow this towards the wall. Water will be found here. Just after this point stay left and scramble down into a grassy gully. Follow this to a point where you can traverse right (facing out). Just above and to the right of the gendarme a good abseil anchor shall be found (look around for it). 30m takes you into the gap. The next abseil anchor is towards the subsidiary amphitheater. Author unknown!

MCSA Journal Articles

Smith, K.M. King Kong. A new route on the Krakadouw Amphitheatre, Cedarberg. 83: 69, 1980. Tec.

Smith, Kevin. Some recent climbing at the Cedarberg Krakadouw. Nobody-sauras; Juggernaut; Rastus; Leviathan. 86: 94-96, 1983. Tec.

Lomax, Chris. New routes on the Krakadouw, Cedarberg, Cape. Monkey Tricks; Kayaman. 86: 97-98, 1983. Tec.

de Klerk, Andrew. New routes at Krakadouw. God of Thunder; Icthyasaurus. 87: 137, 1984. Tec.

de Klerk, Andrew. New routes at Cedarberg Krakadouw. Exodus; Random Winds; Total Eclipse. 89: 140, 1986. Tec.

Curson, Clive. New roofs in the Cedarberg. Coming of age; Chicane. 90: 124-125, 1987. Tec.

Scott, Michael. Krakadouw Amphitheatre. An updated description. 91: 139, 1988. Tec.

Middlemiss, Stewart. A new route on Krakadouw. Hanging Round. 91: 145, 1988. Tec.

Shewell, D.V. New routes in the Cederberg. Clash of Wants. 91: 142, 1988.

Hislop, Mike. More Routes On Krakadouw. 94: 188-189, 1991. Map, Tec. 2 rtes.

February, Ed. Monkey Tricks. Krakadouw, Cederberg. 94: 199, 1991. Tec.


Neither the artist nor origin of these drawings are no known to the poster.

Australopithecus and The Last of the Great Explorers - 23

"Another masterpiece in route finding. The absolute must do" FA: T. Versfeld, E February, C. Jackson - 1993

Australopithecus 23
Australopithecus 23

Gorilla Grooves - 22

' "A totally anthropoid experience!!!" D. Cheesmond in his 50 Selected Routes ' FA: G. Orilla, G. Lacey, D. Cheesmond - 1977

Gorilla Grooves 22

Icthyosaurus - 21

"The obvious layback crack up the amphitheater. Mega!" FA: E. February, A. de Klerk, T Versveld - 1983

Icthyosaurus 21

Piltdown Man - 21

(Previously: On Hold) FA: L. Rust, T. Versveld - 2001 "Just Pull down man!"

Piltdown Man 21

New Routes

Panic Sloot

Panic Room

This is the first of the three caves as you walk down the panic sloot (camping cave)

Free Flow Agent (E551) (25) ****

  • 1. 12m (25) Starts at the back, on the right hand side of the cave on a large undercling. Follows the break tending rightwards with cool funky climbing. Finishes out right and tops out.

FA: Wesley Black, Alex Bester (Jan 2016)

Bottom Cave

The last big room you get to as you walk down the panic sloot

Panic Prow (24) ***

  • 1. 10m (24) Fun little prow in the right back corner of the large room. Bouldery start with somw big moves at the end. Escape left at the big flat roof.

FA : Danie Moolman, Phlip Olivier (Dec 2016)

Black Wall above the Gendarme

This is the wall above the ledge from which one abseils down behind the Gendarme. Some climbing has been done on this wall in the past but, to the best of my knowledge, never been written up. So the routes described below may not be first ascents.

Ammonite (23) ***

This line takes the prow at the left hand end of the Black Wall buttress just above the gendarme abseil point.

  • 1. 20m (23) Start on the left, about 2.5m below the base of a narrow corner, with a hairline crack at the back. Move up to a rail and right, where difficult moves gain arête at the top left side of the corner. Continue up on good holds to the face above. Traverse right, and then up featured rock to stance on top of a white ramp.
  • 2. 30m (20) Move up and right. Tricky moves up to a horn, then pretty much straight up on excellent, grey rock to the top.

FA?: Richard Halsey and Caroline North (Dec 2014)



Gondwana Sunset (22)***

Just left of the centre of the wall is a heavily pocketed roof at a height of about 8m. Some 10m left of this roof is a left facing corner crack. Start on the face below and left of this crack. Descent: To escape from here traverse 15m to the right passing behind a big ake into a gulley. Follow this back to the main access gulley where a 15m abseil takes one back down.

1. 25m (22) Climb the face to the left of the yellow patch and move into the corner crack. Climb this, then rail left until it is possible to pull through the left end of the double-tiered roof. Move back to the right along the lip until able to pull up into another crack which is followed to a stance in a recess with chicken heads. 2. 40m (19) Climb the layback crack above and then, at the gulley, step right and climb faces and cracks to a ledge.

FA: 2004, Jayson Orton and Steve Davis (Dec)

Ice Man (24) ****

Just left of the centre of the wall is a heavily pocketed roof at a height of about 8m. Start directly below and 1m right of the right side of the roof.

  • 1. 45 m (24) Head up over a bulge and then up and left to the right side of the pocketed roof. A short ramp leads to a distinctive fin-like feature over the next narrow roof. Fight through the fin and then straight up the thin face above. Move diagonally up and left to a position where a delicate, balance move leads left into a tube-like feature. From here head straight up on featured rock.

Abseil point in situ (as of 2015).

FA?: Richard Halsey and Marian Penso (Dec 2015)

The Crystal Chamber (24/25) *****

Just left of the centre of the wall is a heavily pocketed roof at a height of about 8m. Start below the centre of the roof.

  • 1. 45 m (24/25) Steeply up 3D feature to gain wall above. Pass next roof on right side then step back left to a rest. Diagonally up and right to a rail (strenuous). Transverse ~1m right and up boulderly moves to next rail. Straight up to layback though bulge. Join Ice Man for a few moves to big ledge. Continue diagonally up and left to top (in situ anchor). At the big ledge it would be more direct to continue up Ice Man finish.

FA?: Richard Halsey (Jan 2023)


Left to right. Godwana Sunset (direct start), The Crystal Chamber, Ice Man

Grimposaurus (20) ***

On the bottom, right hand side of the wall the ground rises up to meet a short ledge. On the left this ledge ends at a short, blunt, undercut prow about 10m off the ground. Grimposaurus starts just left of this prow at ground level (ie. below the ledge).

  • 1. 40m (20) Start up a crack just left of the small roof (undercut prow). Continue slightly left into the obvious, big crack which heads up and back right towards the top.

FA?: Caroline North, Richard Halsey, and Mo Thilo (Dec 2014)

unknown (20) ***

On the bottom, right hand side of the wall the ground rises up to meet a short ledge. On the left this ledge ends at a short, blunt, undercut prow about 10m off the ground. Start at the left hand end of the ledge.

  • 1. 40m (20) Climb up and left to pass the roof at ~8m on its left. Head up to a narrow, slightly leftward tending, layback crack. Climb this and then continue straight up to the top.

FA: unknown

unknown (18) ***

On the bottom, right hand side of the wall the ground rises up to meet a short ledge. On the left this ledge ends at a short, blunt, undercut prow about 10m off the ground. The left half of the ledge is capped by a small roof at about 8m height. Start on the ledge below the right hand end of the roof.

  • 1. 40m (18) Climb up a break just right of the roof above then step left into a corner system just above the roof. Continue up the corner system / crack, past a large pinnacle, to the top.

FA: unknown


Left to right. Grimposaurus, approx lines for the unknown routes.

Subsidiary Amphitheatre


Megalodon (24) ****

On the ledge above the second, shorter abseil on the Gendarme there is a huge block up and on the climber's right. This route follows the striking arete above the end of the ledge.

  • 1. 20 m (24) Start on the right of the arete. Climb to the rail below the crux and place some solid gear. Use small crimps on the right hand face to reach a thin rail and then ease left to the big hold on the arete. Alternatively, a bit more satisfying but a grade or two harder, use a pinch on the arete itself to go straight up. Crank a couple more moves until able to get in more gear then head to the top.

FA: Richard Halsey and Douw Steyn (Dec 2014)

Main Amphitheatre

Burning Man (27)

About 10m past the right hand end of the huge roof an obvious rounded smooth layback crack starts about 10m off the ground. The start is directly below this under a little overhang.

  • 1. 20 m (27) Hard boulder problem gains overhang. Move left and pull desperately through to stand. Up to base of layback. Climb desperately to ledge on right.
  • 2. 15 m (14) Traverse left till just past base of blonde arete.
  • 3. 40 m (21) Ascend right to thin crack just left of arete. Pull up right and ascend arete till it blanks. Move left and up on rails (crux) to grassy crack. Up this then step right and gleefully climb juggy face to ledge. Easy climbing leads to a higher ledge. Belay on left where the ledge runs out at a small corner.
  • 4. 25 m (23) Climb straight up to where corner blanks. Hard move up right gains good edge. Bold climbing slightly left gains a good rail. Up to open book. Climb this and final headwall. (Original pitch went left when the corner blanked. This is about 25)

Descent: Traverse right on the large, grassy ledge and then either down climb the frontal, rap it, or scramble/climb up it to the top.

FA: Clinton Martinengo, Adam Roff (2008)

Hybrid Man (21) ****

A variation of Indecent Exposure and On Hold. Climbs the superb first pitch of Indecent Exposure. Then climbs and extends the second pitch of On Hold. Lastly, it adds a new, long pitch up to the big halfway ledge.

  • 1. 25 m (21) Climb the leftward tending layback crack (pitch 1 of Indecent Exposure). Traverse left just below the bushy rail and up to the stance directly below the crack (pitch 2 of On Hold).
  • 2. 20 m (18) Ascend the crack as in the second pitch of On Hold but pass the gnarly ledge on the right and go to the next ledge on the left.
  • 3. 40 m (21) Ascend the face to the right of the stance to another ledge. Climb the rounded crack to the roof. Move left and pull through the obvious break in the roof. Move a couple of metres right, and ascend the face to the massive ledge.

Descent: Traverse right on the large, grassy ledge and then either down climb the frontal, rap it, or scramble/climb up it to the top.

FA: Douw Steyn, Francie Buhrmann, Julia Wakeling (2008)

Adam & Eve & The Ape (20) ****

On the far right hand side of the main amphitheatre, about 30m past the layback crack of Indecent Exposure's first pitch, is a big, dark red recess with a crack in the corner. The route goes up the crack then skirts the roofs above. It then follows a couple more corners before some immaculate face climbing to finish on the big, grassy halfway ledge. Start on a platform below a block at the base of the corner.

  • 1. 35 m (20) Climb up the block to access the crack. Climb the corner until the crack runs out then traverse left on the rail until below the next recess. Climb this recess to the roof then rail right and up onto an awkward, grassy ledge below another corner.
  • 2. 45 m (20) Climb the short, steep corner exiting left at the roof onto a large ledge. Climb the layback corner above on the right for 10m and then proceed up the juggy face to stance just below the black streaked headwall.
  • 3. 25 m (18) Move up and left and pull through the roof at a shallow, orange recess. Move slightly right onto a line of huge holds. Continue straight up and exit via the left hand of two cracks onto the big ledge. Alternatively, at grade 20, follow the steep, leftward trending flake from the stance to the black crack which is used to turn the roof. Then stretch out left to the line of huge holds.

Descent: Traverse right on the large, grassy ledge and then either down climb the frontal, rap it, or scramble/climb up it to the top.

FA: Adam Roff, Douw Steyn, Francie Buhrman (2009)

Southern Amphitheatre

The Southern Amphitheatre can be accessed in one of two ways. One can climb one of the routes on the right hand side of the Main Amphitheatre to the huge ledge about 3 pitches up. Then walk right on this ledge around the corner to the Southern Amphitheatre. Alternatively, one can walk across the top of the mountain and down through the Panic Sloot gulley which opens out overlooking Clanwilliam. Directly in front of one is a pinnacle (Coming Of Age climbs directly in front of this pinnacle). Scramble down to the left of the pinnacle to a rap point on a bollard. One abseil of just over 50m gets one down to the ledge where the routes start.

Velociraptor (25) ****

About 50m right of Coming Of Age are three parallel, rightward tending cracks like giant Velociraptor claw marks. The route climbs the middle crack.

  • 1. 25 m (21) Climb the crack past two overlaps to the roof. Reach out right and pull round the roof and onto a small, bulging slab. Make a semi-hanging stance here. Combining this and the next pitch could work but rope drag might be a problem.
  • 2. 10 m (25) Climb the steep crack to the big roof. Hanging stance in the corner.
  • 3. 35 m (21) Rail right and pull through the roof in the crack. Follow the crack until it runs out and then continue up on the grey face to the top.

Descent: Scramble up and left into the big Panic Sloot gulley and thence to the top.

FA: Douw Steyn and Richard Halsey (Dec 2014)

Staggersaurus (24) ***

About 100m right of the 3 cracks marking Velociraptor is a beautiful, long, clean arete above a bulging, pocketed roof. The route starts on the face below and left of this roof and bypasses it to reach the base of the arete from the left hand side. The first pitch wanders a little and the second is hard, a bit grotty in places, and run out. The top, arete pitch, however, is superb so an option is to rap in from the top to the ledge from which one starts this last pitch and just do that.

  • 1. 25 m (19) Start off a long block about 10m left of the corner below the pocketed roof at the base of a thin crack. Reach up high to a couple of small edges and pull up onto the undercut face. Head up the crack and rightwards to the top, left corner of the pocketed roof (about 15m up). Rail left underneath the small overlap and then up the corner on its left side to stance on a ledge with some blocks and capped by a roof.
  • 2. 25 m (24) From the right hand side of the ledge pull up delicately onto the smooth slab above the roof. Move left and a little up until able to do a difficult move left into an obvious crack. Follow the crack up as it widens, past a small roof and an unprotected, vegetated section, to a good ledge.
  • 3. 55 m (17) From the ledge head up and right towards the arete on the skyline. Follow this superb arete all the way to the massive ledge.

Descent: Walk left along the ledge, through a bit of a dip, and up into the big Panic Sloot gulley which is followed to the top of the mountain.

FA: Richard Halsey and Douw Steyn (Dec 2014)

Babalasaurus (20) ***

Single pitch that climbs the centre of the face to the left of the final pitch on Staggersaurus. Abseil in from the top to the ledge about 50m down.

  • 1. 50 m (20) From the ledge head up and right towards the arete until able to pull onto the face. Traverse back left and follow a series of layback features to a narrow roof. Pull through the roof and then continue straight up the face until the top.

FA: Richard Halsey and Marian Penso (Dec 2015)

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