Bouldering in Rocklands is for a bouldrist the same as getting to heaven. While in Europe the similar sanctuary is Fontainebleau, sometimes you just need something different. And so we left (some of us not for a first time) to South Africa – to Rocklands.
The flight from Prague through Istanbul to Cape Town was long but pleasant. My friends have already waited for me at the airport so I did not have to deal with administration around renting a car. We had a one micro car for two people, which was enough for two crash pads and the rest of my luggage. You can handle the rental easily at the airport or beforehand online through the airport website. Then you have an approximately 250km drive north to Clanwiliam and then Rocklands.
We have been accommodated at Traveler’s Rest Farm Stall & Restaurant by a very nice proprietor Charite. In Rocklands you can stay either in bungalows, common house or camp – we stayed in a bungalow and were satisfied. Prices are very agreeable, but it is essential to book a long time ahead. There is a huge demand for Charite´s bungalows in the “winter” months so it is good to book 3-6 months ahead if you are a larger group and plan to stay for a longer period, because there are ideal conditions for bouldering and sport climbing in winter (May-September).
I would highly recommend Rocklands for climbers of all different levels, be them beginners or pros. I as a beginner had a lot of opportunities to try the best things Rockland can provide, but I enjoyed Riverside sector best, because despite being August = winter, we could refresh ourselves in natural pools in a river that winds through the whole sector.
Finding boulders is pretty easy. The guide book is usable although sometimes we had to use a bit of fantasy we found all we wanted because of the well crained paths. You can probably climb here any time of the day, any season and in any weather. All you need to do is find the right boulder for current conditions – be it in caves, in shade or at the sunny side. There are plenty of classic boulders such as The Rhino 7B+ which is a must, Who the fuck is Minki 7C or harder test pieces like Witness the sickness 8A or Black Shadow 8A+.
And here are a bit of statistics: There were 12 people in our Czech and Slovak team, some stayed in Rocklands 3 weeks, but most for 5 weeks, we have visited more than 10 large sectors, the hardest boulders climbed Tomaso Greksak (The Arch 8B) and Martin Spilka (Tai Chi sit start 8B), Brani Goga climbed over 150 boulders and unfortunately we had some injuries as well (sprained ankle and shoulder, torn knee tendons and a tick borreliosis) but all in all most of us left whole and happy.
We were not vaccinated for any exotic disease, we saw no snakes and just two scorpions, baboons took mostly to themselves and no geckos have chased us. People in the Traveler´s Rest are very pleasant and as we found out, it is not necessary to bring much clothing because they will wash it for you for a few Rands, they cook deliciously and you can even buy here some basic climbing gear (tapes, chalk…).
We spent our rest days in the thermal baths, visited Cape of Good Hope, enjoyed safari where we saw the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) and we travelled around experiencing African culture and nature. There is a new communal project where you can go out climbing with local kids and teach them to climb every Saturday and they will dance and sing for you in return. All in all Africa is beautiful, fascinating and the sun sets are unforgettable. I am looking forward to going there again already.