I have just returned from an amazing 6 week trip in South Africa and what a trip it was! my first time back in South Africa since 2001 which was way before I had got into any sort of climbing. It was a place that I just had to visit and explore.
We headed out mid July and arrived in a smoky Johannesburg after a quick change over in Cairo. After a long wait for the other team member to arrive Jose, we got in our Fiat Punto and headed off east into the night. Thankfully the drive was fairly straightforward along the main highway as it got dark quickly.
There were few nervous moments when we pulled off the main road in the town of Waterval Boven and couldn’t find the dirt road up to the camp. After a while driving around in the pitch black we stopped and asked for some directions and was pointed the right way.The tarmac road quickly changed to dirt as we then realised why everyone drives 4×4 pick-ups in Africa! After a rather bumpy 7km up the hill side we arrived at the Tranquilatas Adventure Farm where we would camp for the next 2 weeks. We pitched our tents and quickly fell asleep.
The next day we awoke to this amazing campite, perched on top of the escarpment overlooking the cliffs. It was truly spectacular and we couldn’t quite believe our eyes! We were greeted by a great Africaans farmer who managed the site. He was happy that we were staying and in no time at all we were in his bakkie (africaans for pick-up truck) getting a ride around the site as he showed us all the different cliffs. It was a brilliant start and a true African welcome.
After seeing some of the crags that were just below the campground, we couldn’t get our bags packed quick enough and headed straight down to the cliff. We were greeted with some of the best climbing I’ve ever experienced. Bullet hard orange sandstone rising above the hillside for a good 30m. It was seriously impressive!
We then got into a great routine of 2 or 3 days on, one day off. Mixing it up between the God No sector and the Superbowl, two of the steepest and most impressive sectors in Boven. We basically threw ourselves at as many routes possible and climbed some of the most inspiring lines I’ve ever done. It was a sheer pleasure to be climbing such quality routes in the wilds of Africa with just a few other local climbers. Rest days were spent in the Kruger National park and mountain biking round the hillsides. Nights were spent sitting round a huge fire with a braai, eating large amounts of bourawors. It was perhaps the best 2 weeks climbing of my life!
We climbed so many awesome routes I could list them all but here were a few big hightlights 🙂
The Beast 8a+
Hypertension 8a (flash)
Jack of All trades 8a
Snap Dragon 7c+ (os) One of the best routes I’ve ever climbed!
Lotters Dersire 7b+ (os) Pure quality
Monster 7c+ What a MONTER!,
Tokolosie 8a (well hard!),
The Bovenator 7c,
Condor 7b+ (true sandbag!)
Rude Bushman 7a
Bikini Red 7b+
and the list goes on and on….