Ice climbing in the Drakensberg
Did you know?
The Drakensberg is the highest African mountain range south of Kilimanjaro.
South Africa may be known for its warm climate, but the country also offers some icier adventures, like ice climbing. While it is considered an unusual sport in sunny South Africa, the demand for ice climbing as a sport, from both locals and visitors, is on the increase.
Among the best spots for ice climbing is the southern Drakensberg, which has several routes ranging in difficulty from a fairly simple but slippery walk to advanced climbs that will challenge even the most experienced ice climbers.
Three of the most popular routes in the Drakensberg offer a range of conditions and technical demands. The Sani Pass is the most accessible of the routes and the one most suitable for beginners, with short easy climbs on trails that are semi-protected from the elements.
At Giant’s Castle there are practice areas for beginners, but this area is generally for the more experienced climber, boasting some of the longest and best ice climbs available in the country. A big attraction is the presence of several major icefalls that remain virgin territory...for now. This area is only for the dedicated and experienced adventurer, as getting to the routes takes a few days and demands peak physical fitness.
Rhino Peak is more accessible than Giant’s Castle, though not always as popular. Routes are suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers.
If you are serious about climbing of any kind, particularly something as specialised as ice climbing, it is recommended that you join up with a local chapter of the Mountain Club of South Africa. They will be able to put you in touch with the best local professionals, and give you expert advice and support.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Peak High Mountaineering
Tel: +27 (0) 33 343 3168