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Montagu Rock Climbing

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1km from Montagu

-33.8138, 20.0911

20 minutes walk in.

+27 82 696 4067 www.montaguclimbing.com

Moderate, Grade 7-35, Suitable for children

About

Montagu is a sport climber’s paradise with everything from easy slabs to bicep-pumping overhanging routes. Most of the climbing is single pitch, but there are also some multi-pitch lines, all on hard sandstone. Montagu is only a two-hour drive from Cape Town and offers a stunningly beautiful, tranquil setting. It is home to roughly half of all the bolted routes in the Western Cape.

It has everything from friendly beginners’ crags - like ‘Legoland’ where you can almost belay from the bumper of your car - to South Africa’s hardest route, ‘Mazawattee’ (35) at Jurassic Park.

The crags are spread out over a large area, with most accessed either from the main road from Ashton/Robertson or from the Ou Meul above town (in the Montagu Nature Reserve, where the Bloupunt Hiking Trail starts). Bad Kloof and neighbouring Donker Kloof are accessed from the latter.

Good beginners’ crags as you drive in from Ashton include The Steeple, where ‘The Gospel Express’ (17) is a fantastic route for its grade. Nearby is the newly-opened ‘Bold And The Beautiful’ crag, which has lots of routes in the 15-23 range.

There are plenty of great intermediate crags in Bad Kloof including, ‘Uriah Heap’, ‘The Playground’ and ‘Berlin Wall’. Also in this grade are the absolutely stunning multi-pitch routes on Cogman’s Buttress. The best are the four-pitch ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ (19), the seven-pitch ‘Another Day in Paradise’ (21) and the four-pitch ‘Burnt by the Sun’ (23). Taking spectacular lines up the great folded peak just outside town, these high mountain routes feel like real trad outings - but with the ease (and safety) of bolts.

It’s the ‘rock jocks’ who can really take advantage of the huge variety of routes at Montagu. Some of the must-dos include the steep five-star lines in Keur Kloof. This really beautiful area is crowd-free even on busy weekends, being slightly further from the road than most of the Montagu crags. It’s hard to single out the best routes when there are so many, but ‘Unless First A Dream’ and ‘Wild And Wet’ (both 25) at The Vision, and ‘Madiba’ (25) at Heaven Crag should definitely be on your list.

In Bad Kloof, Waterworld has some great climbing in the intermediate and hard-core grades, including ‘Arendsig’ (19), ‘Walk On By’ (23) and ‘Firestarter’ (29). However, the base can be flooded after heavy rain when the river changes course - so check at De Bos before heading out there. ‘Supertubes’ is another great intermediate/hard-core crag with iconic routes like ‘Thruster’ (26) and ‘Point Break’ (29). There is only a 5 minute walk-in here.

If overhanging routes are your thing you’re spoilt for choice in Bad Kloof. ‘Daze Of Thunder’ (27) is the iconic route at Worlds Apart. ‘Neuromancer’ (23), ‘Cyberpunk’ (25), ‘Burning Chrome’ (28) and ‘The Activist’ (30) are at The Palace. ‘Neanderthal Rex’ (28), ‘Cool Like That’ and ‘Monkey Pump’ (both 29) are at The Scoop. Then of course there’s the aforementioned über challenge, ’Mazawattee’ (35).

Eighteen kilometres out of town, on the R318, is Oorlogs Kloof, a less visited crag that has easy access and some superb climbing. ‘Wildcard’, on the buttress of the same name, is one of the best 25s in the Western Cape. If you’re up to the grade, ‘L'Abraxas’ (30) is another classic. ‘The Dream I Knew’ (32) is a five-star route in the Le Pique-Nique area, which has routes across the grades. These include easy routes such as the superb ‘Whack & Dangle’ (16) and ‘Stinky Cheese’ (18), and great intermediate lines such as ‘Le Pique-Nique’ (21) and ‘Mischief And Thuggery’ (26).

Climbing at Montagu is year-round – and with so many crags it’s not difficult to find shade. Since the area has a very low average rainfall it’s a very popular winter location. If it’s raining in Cape Town you will often find sun and blue skies in Montagu.

There is a small fee to climb in Bad Kloof, payable at the Ou Meul. De Bos, which has camping and bungalows, is a lively climber’s hub where you’ll get all the latest info on access and routes. There is also up-to-date info on www.climb.co.za.

Overberg

Western Cape

About

The Overberg is a region that’s easy on the senses and pleasing to the eye. Its landscape is a tapestry of colours and meandering patterns, both natural and manmade. 

The region forms a relatively small part of the Western Cape; it is mostly rural, and is blessed with stunning scenery and unique highlights. Its largest town, Hermanus, is said to provide the best land-based whale watching in the world. It also has exquisite beaches, including the blue flag Grotto Beach, and the nearby Hemel-en-Aarde Valley epitomises the majestic beauty of the region.

Across Walker Bay, the towns of Gansbaai and Kleinbaai are best known for shark cage diving to see great whites at the hotspot near Dyer Island.

L’Agulhas stands at the southernmost point on the African continent, and is the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

The Overberg fauna and flora is protected in the Bontebok National Park, and its nature reserves include De Hoop, De Mond, Salmons Dam, Marloth, and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Staying with wildlife, the penguin colony at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay is also a tourist favourite.

Swellendam and the small mission towns of Genadendal and Elim are amongst the Overberg’s historic icons. Others that are popular with visitors are Greyton, Stanford, and Napier.

In summer the farmlands are dominated by shimmering shades of brown, the fields stripped of their winter crops and the bare earth ploughed into meandering combed patterns dotted with tightly compressed wheels of straw awaiting collection. Labourers’ cottages hunker down beneath old blue gums and on a cold day smoke drifts from their chimneys.

Throughout the year the early morning and late afternoon sun accentuates the sensual curves of the ridges wreathed in fynbos. When the winter rains return, the undulating, sometimes tiered fields shrug off their brown and slip into the vibrant greens of wheat, barley, and oats, and the brilliant yellow of the iconic canola. On still, sultry mornings, blue cranes, South Africa’s national bird, float overhead craaaaaaking as they go.

The coastline is punctuated by long sweeping bays and rocky outcrops that fringe the southern boundary of this landscape. Here one can spend hours sitting on the white sand, being mesmerised by the eternal activity of the sea.

Add to this a scattering of charming inland villages; locally produced beer, cheese, and wine; lighthouses, bird watching, and wonderful food, and it becomes evident why one needs plenty of time here.

Look out for

Southern-most tip of Africa - at L’Agulhas, which is also the official meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. 

Shark cage diving - near Gansbaai there are several operators who do trips daily out to the Great Whites’ favourite hunting grounds near Dyer Island. 

Whale watching - the Overberg offers great land-based and boat-based whale watching (best between July and November). 

Beaches - the Overberg beaches are amongst the finest in South Africa. They include the longest beach in the southern hemisphere - at 14km - which curves along the coast at Struisbaai. 

Swellendam - is the third-oldest magisterial district in South Africa. At the base of the Langeberg Mountains on the N2 highway the town has an array of historic buildings including the Drostdy Museum.

Hermanus - On the coast in the west of the region. It is the largest town in the Overberg and popular with visitors all year round. It’s especially well known for its superb land-based whale watching.

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley - near Hermanus - this scenic area produces a range of wines and is known for its Pinot Noir.

Bontebok National Park - The smallest of South Africa’s National Parks, it not only protects the fauna within its boundaries but also endangered flora in the fynbos biome. In addition to the bontebok, the park is also home to Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, grey rhebuck, and Cape grysbok as well as 200 bird species. There are hiking and mountain-biking trails and fishing and swimming in the Breede River. The accommodation and campsite are situated at Lang Elsie’s Kraal amongst a riverine thicket of trees and aloes near the banks of the Breede River. This consists of 10 self-catering chalets with wheel chair access, and caravan and camping sites. There are also picnic spots with braai and ablution facilities for day visitors.

De Hoop Nature Reserve - Each year between June and November whales return to the rugged coastline of this 34 000 hectare reserve near Bredasdorp to breed. During this time the marine reserve supports 40% of the world’s Southern Right whale population. Although these may be the drawcard for many visitors there is much more in the line of nature-based activities for the visitor. Lowland fynbos is the dominant vegetation throughout the reserve and this supports bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, grey rhebuck, eland, and baboon, as well as many smaller mammals. It’s a great destination for ‘twitchers’, with the De Hoop vlei attracting a large number of water birds and pushing the recorded species to an impressive total of 260. Besides being able to walk anywhere in the reserve there are several day hikes and the popular 5-day whale trail. Accommodation options are varied from cottages and rondawels to restored houses and neat camping and caravan sites amongst the milkwood trees. Most accommodation is around what is known as Die Opstal near the fresh water vlei and park reception.

Wines - The region has some top class wineries that offer tasting and sales.

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