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Climbing TypeTrad
Rock TypeSandstone & quartzite mix
SeasonNOT Winter
ProvinceWestern Cape

How to get there

Towerkop stands on a few km west of Ladysmith (Cape) on the Laingsburg road. From the R62 from Cape Town at the junction in the middle of Ladysmith turn L. The road curves R. At the junction turn L. 4.6km further turn R into Bo-Buffleskloof. 2.7km further turn R into a gate that says trespassers will be prosecuted. 1.3km along the river the road curves L for 200m to the farmer’s complex. Turn R in the direction of Towerkop in the farmer’s complex. 400m to a gate. 200m to a dam. Park at old house under trees.


This is a major walk-in. Expect to walk 6 - 10 hours to cover the 12.6km from the car to Nel’s Cave. Walk in one push or start out in the late afternoon & sleep over at Shepard’s Hut, which is about 8km from the car.


Access is not restricted, but please contact the Cape Town Section on the Mountain Club to be advised of the current situation. Access to the general path is through Mr Volschenk 0285512037. Remember politeness & manners will rule the day.


There are extensive histories recorded in numerous MCSA Journals. Basically; Gustav Nefdt, a local farmer, solo climbed to the top of the Western Summit in 1885. This is the first recorded rock route in South Africa. In September 2010 Towerkop was officially incorporated into the Eastern Cape. Announcement made at the 125 anniversary of Nefts successful summit.


There are shaded & sunny faces, thus Towerkop offers all year climbing. Winter will be very cold. With potential for snow. Being on the edge of the Mediterranean region, Towerkop will get more winter rain. The caves seep badly a few days after heavy rain. Summers are hot in the sun, but quite cool in the shade. Bring a hat & down jacket.


There is still a fair amount of potential for new routes on the two main summits & plenty on Nel’s Buttress. The purpose of this guide is to show the next climber what still needs to be opened. Eastern Province Section


More than 100 traditional routes. There are no bolts at all. This is not a sport area & no bolts what so ever should be placed. This is a situation where there are bad men who will do something. There are numerous sport lines at Waterkloof, Oudtshoorn & Montagu, all not far away.


Not an issue at all. While in Ladismith the usual precautions apply.


Please educate your entire group properly on all these points. Never presume that they would know.

  • 1. The major issue is taking a crap. Please take this seriously. At Nel's Cave there is a natural stone boggie with a sweet convenient path. It's a boggie with a view. Please use it. Please don't throw any rubbish in the boggie, only turds and paper. When it is full there is not space for a new one. Please don't smear as the misty cool conditions on Towerkop are not conducive to this meathod. If you do decide to bury, please move away from any water courses. Move far away from the cave or path. Don’t impact anyone.
  • 2. Swim in the stream (far below), but do not use any soap.
  • 3. Do not spit tooth paste in the water or on rocks.
  • 4. Carry water to wash dishes away from the drinking water. Don’t wash in the water cave.
  • 5. Don’t waste water!
  • 6. Feel free to trim the paths, but don’t go bos. Hack as many wattles as you care to!
  • 7. Don’t leave any rubbish. Not even braai bones. And not foil. Smokers we see your stompies...come on!
  • 8. There is a braai grid & a set fire place in Nel’s Cave. Please only use that one fire place.
  • 9. Wuzzie (you will know him!!!...he will find you!) is a protected species.


  • 1. Lovely hot springs at Carlitzdorp & Warmwaterberg. Good steaks at the restaurant at Warmwaterberg.
  • 2. Good Port & hotties on the Port tasting tours at Carlitzdorp. Leave the credit card in the car...the hotties have seen it all before.
  • 3. Carlitzdorp has a few conglomerate sport lines.

Download PDF

Updated PDF Guide

See also