Rocklands guide

Climbing ethics: If you haven’t already, read our climbing ethics and conservation guidelines. Rocklands is an ecologically sensitive, protected area – that means climbing access is conditional and can be revoked at any time. Please help us protect Rocklands and promote a positive climbing culture.

Water: Please use water sparingly and respectfully, and be grateful along with us, for ALL rainy days. Tap water in Rocklands is generally safe to drink.

Where to stay: Accommodation options in Rocklands central include: Alpha Excelsior, De Pakhuys, Die Poort, Kleinfontein, The Storytellers and Travellers Rest. Further afield, you can also stay at LaFras and Kerneels, Bushman’s Cave, the Biedouw Valley, the Cape Nature Kliphuis Campsite, the Tea Garden or Clanwilliam town.

Where to eat: There are two restaurants in Rocklands central that have been feeding hungry climbers (and selling them great coffee) for years: The Hen House @ Alpha Excelsior Guest Farm and Winery; and the Traveller’s Rest Farmstall and Restaurant. Both offer wi-fi. Die Poort also hosts a traditional West Coast fish braai on a Friday night, booking essential! In the 2020 climbing season, local chefs from the community had planned to offer pop-up, traditional food experiences at VerhaalKraal, a landscape education centre built near the plateau. These will launch as soon as travel bans lift. Otherwise, accommodation in Rocklands is self-catering, with supermarkets in Clanwilliam – the SuperSpar, Pick ‘n Pay and Shoprite – stocking the bulk of general groceries.

Connectivity: There is only coverage from one cellular service provider in Rocklands – MTN. If you have an MTN enabled phone, then you will have full access to calls, texts and data-based apps such as WhatsApp etc. Otherwise, both the Hen House @ Alpha Excelsior and the Travellers Rest farmstall and restaurant have wi-fi coverage, as does De Pakhuys. Some guest houses offer wi-fi, others offer fixed internet points – for more information, contact the accommodation providers directly.

Getting to Rocklands without a car: if you don’t feel like renting a car, there is always the Rocklands Lift Club Facebook page. There is a lot of traffic between Cape Town and the Cederberg during bouldering season, so you’re bound to find a ride. Otherwise, contact your accommodation provider for contact details of the bus service or the weekly shuttle service. Clanwilliam town is about 25 kilometers away from Rocklands central, so planning for hitching rides to the shops is essential.

Permits: As of 2014, no climbing is allowed in Rocklands without a valid climbing permit. Land owners often conduct inspections in the climbing areas and anyone found without a permit will be asked to leave the climbing area. Buy your Rocklands Bouldering Permit online or at CapeNature’s Kliphuis campsite office; De Pakhuys campsite office; or Traveller’s Rest farmstall and restaurant.

Crash Pads: There are some crash pads to rent in Rocklands. These can be hired from the De Pakhuys campsite office or the Kliphuis campsite office on the Pakhuis Pass. Alpha Excelsior has a limited number of pads solely for rent to their guests – enquiries can be made when booking.

Guide Books: In 2018, a new edition of the Rocklands Guidebook was launched. Apart from the inclusion of countless new routes and climbing areas, author Scott Noy has revamped the topos using detailed drone photography, making it much easier to navigate to the bouldering sectors. Once there, actual photographs of the boulders – with routes marked on the pictures – make it easy to orientate yourself. The guides can be purchased at the De Pakhuys campsite office; The Hen House @ Alpha Excelsior; and Traveller’s Rest farmstall. Guide books can also be purchased online directly from the author.

Alternative guides: In partnership with the guidebook author, the Rocklands bouldering areas have been mapped for 27 Crags (www.27crags.com) and these topos can be downloaded to a smart phone. Adding to the great info and drone shots of in the book, 27 Crags .premium topos offer pictures of all the problems, plus GPS navigation and trail details. The app works  for offline use in the app, topos are available even when there’s no internet. Go to https://27crags.com/areas/rocklands.

Emergency contact numbers:

  • Police: 10111
  • Emergency services (Cederberg Medical Rescuers / Ambulance / Fire Department): 10177
  • Clanwilliam Police Station: 027 482 8181
  • Clanwilliam Fire Department HQ: 027 482 1775
  • Clanwilliam Ambulance Services: 027 482 2576 / 022 433 8700
  • Clanwilliam Provincial Hospital: 027 482 2166
  • Clanwilliam Primary Care Clinic: 027 482 1692
  • Dr. Strauss (office): 027 482 1629
  • Dr. Uys (office): 027 482 2111
  • Clanwilliam Pharmacy: 027 482 1226