Rock climbing in Africa offers the opportunity to go somewhere different and adventurous for a rock climbing holiday. Some of the best climbing to be found in Africa are at Rocklands in South Africa and the Moroccan Mountains, particularly at Tafraoute and the Todra Gorge.
There are many different places to go rock climbing in South Africa, with lots of solid rock that is of great quality, which is often located in beautiful settings. The variety of climbing is huge from well-developed sport climbing at places such as Waterval Boven (around 600 routes) and Montagu (around 400 routes to traditional climbing at Mount Everest and Swinburne, as well as remote multi-pitch climbing in the Drakensberg Mountains. However, it is the bouldering at Rocklands that is turning into a world-famous destination that is attracting climbers from all over the world.
Rocklands is located in the beautiful Cederberg Wilderness area (a type of National Park) providing striking red, grey and black sandstone boulders set against a blue sky and surrounded by wild flowers – a truly magical place to climb. The bouldering is concentrated in two main areas Pakhuis incorporates all of the areas on the Clanwilliam side of the Pakhuis Pass and Agterpakhuis (beyond Pakhuis) features all of the areas beyond the pass. The Kliphuis camping area is located in the Pakhuis area and is a popular place for climbers to stay. Find out more…
Morocco offers a different type of rock climbing holiday, is only a short flight from Europe, and is relatively cheap to visit and stay. The rock climbing is good on generally solid rock with the choice from bouldering, sport climbing or tradition multi-pitch climbing to choose from.
The Todra Gorge is situated in the High Atlas Mountains. The scenery is spectacular with high limestone cliffs that provide bolted sport routes up to 300m long. This area is one of Morocco’s largest and well developed climbing areas with over 400 routes across a wide range of grades, particularly from F6a to F7b, that are easy to reach on foot.
The Taghia Gorge is also situated in the High Atlas Mountains, and provides the best big wall climbing in Morocco with routes up to 800m long. There are currently over 100 routes developed with the grades generally starting at F6b and the vast majority over F6c.
Situated around 125km southeast of Agadir, Tafraoute provides adventure rock climbing and has everything from bouldering, single pitch roadside crags to long multi-pitch routes on big walls and summits. The area has only recently been developed and hence still offers excellent opportunities for developing new routes and exploring. The climbing is on solid superb quartzite rock of the Jebel el Kest massif, with the style and ethics being traditional, requiring the placing of cams and nuts for protection. There is a wide range of grades to choose from particularly in the lower to mid-grade range. The whole area is also scattered with granite boulders, providing an enormous amount of excellent bouldering. Find out more…
The South Western Europe & Morocco Rock Climbing Atlas has information about the climbing at Tafraoute, Todra Gorge, and the Taghia Gorge in Morocco. This useful book describes the different crags, number of routes, style of climbing, how to get there, where to stay, and general information about the area, though it doesn't describe any individual routes. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
The main climbing area in Egypt is situated around St Catherine at Mount Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula, near Sharm el Sheikh. This area is huge and has only recently started to be developed, and has excellent opportunities for developing many new routes. The climbing is on red granite rock and the routes vary from single pitch to multi-pitch routes up to 700m long. The style and ethics is purely traditional, requiring the placing of cams and nuts for protection, with many crack and slab climbs. St Catherine is at an altitude of 1500m and therefore the temperature varies considerably during the day and night. The best time to climb is from mid-March to the end of April, and from October to the end of November. The routes face all directions so it is always possible to climb in the shade – this is the desert after all.
To the north of Sharm el Sheikh, and situated by the coast is Dahab and the Wadi Qu’nai valley. Here there are a small number of sport routes, but the main interest is for bouldering on excellent granite rock.
The Greece and Middle East Rock Climbing Atlas has information about the climbing at St Catherine and Dahab in Egypt. This useful book describes the different crags, number of routes, style of climbing, how to get there, where to stay, and general information about the area, though it doesn't describe any individual routes. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
Oman is the best place to rock climbing and sport climbing in the Middle East. There are over 25 climbing areas mainly around the capital Muscat. Between the cities of Muscat and Adam is an extensive mountain range that offers long alpine style trad rock climbing, at places such as Jabal Misht. Here at Jabal Misht there are routes up to 1,000m long with many multi-pitch routes around 500m long. Another popular place is Wadi Bani Awf due to its short walk-ins and easy descents. Wadi Bani Awf has a good mixture of bolted sport routes along with short and long trad routes.
There are other climbing areas along the coast between the cities of Muscat and Sur, where there are some excellent sport climbing crags such as Wadi Daykah and Kubrah Canyon. Just outside of Muscat is a rugged coastline and small islands with steep sea cliffs. These limestone cliffs provide many opportunities for Deep Water Soling (DWS).
The best place to go rock climbing in Lebanon is in the tiny mountainous village of Tannourine. Located about an hour’s drive from the coastal town of Byblos to the north of Beirut, Tannourine offers excellent sport climbing on limestone rock. The limestone walls that dominate the valley provide routes of all different styles, across a wide range of grades. There is everything from; easy slabs with an abundance of holds; vertical walls with lots of crimps, corners and aretes; to bulging walls and roofs with lots of pockets and tufas that provide hard and powerful routes.
Wadi Rum is the best place to go rock climbing in Jordan. Located in the south of Jordan, the style of climbing found here are long trad multi-pitch routes on sandstone rock. Wadi Rum is an isolated national park, and hence the multi-pitch routes often have complex descents. Most of the popular routes are in the VS to E3 grade range, and between 5 and 12 pitches long. The best time to climb at Wadi Rum is from November through to April, when the weather is at its coolest.