Where to climb in and around Joburg

more than a year ago
With the sport's debut inclusion in the 2020 Olympics and the success of Alex Honnold’s Free Solo documentary (try watching it without getting sweaty palms), climbing is no longer the niche solo sport it once was. More and more people are giving it a try.

We are in no doubt about its increasing popularity in South Africa, and in Joburg in particular. Indoor gyms such as City Rock, and Friends and Allies, have worked hard to grow interest and encourage people to get outdoors to climb some real rock too.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker, wanting to get fit, or just looking for a new social activity, climbing is a great way to get active and meet new people.

What you need to know

Rock climbing comes with inherent risks and its important to make sure you have the proper equipment and are familiar with all precautionary measures. Both City Rock and Friends and Allies have experienced staff members who can take you through all the basics and the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) also has introductory meets to take you through everything you need to know.

Climbing shoes are a must, if you’re unwilling to buy them you can rent the shoes at City Rock and Friends and Allies. The good thing is that the climbing community is always happy to welcome new faces and have plenty of second-hand and spare gear which you can make use of if you don’t have your own.
The Mountain Club of South Africa hosts regular outdoor climbing trips.

Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA)

The overarching body for all things climbing, hiking and camping in South Africa, the Mountain Club of South Africa has stakes in many of the areas around Joburg suited for climbing. Members get discounted rates when accessing these sites. Check out their website for updates on events and activities and how to's as well as any additional information on the various areas we’ve listed below.
2023 annual memberships cost R880, R480 for those aged between 18-25 and R150 for juniors.
Strength training at City Rock.

City Rock

City Rock gives the most extensive climbing experience in Joburg with both tall walls (longer more sustained climbs using ropes) and bouldering (smaller climbs usually not more than five metres with a soft pad below you to land on) as well as a kids section with climbs geared for the little ones. In addition to their climbing walls City Rock has a yoga and pilates studio and a fully equipped strength and cardio gym. It's a great place to learn to climb and they host regular outings, screenings and more.
Friends and Allies prepare to put up a new set of routes.

Friends and Allies

Friends and Allies opened in 2020 and their team has been pushing hard to add more stoke to Joburg’s climbing scene. Located on the second floor of a small warehouse in Strijdom Park, Friends and Allies is a smaller, more community-focused gym than City Rock. They still offer plenty to do though with a bouldering wall, yoga studio and small weights section. Their staff are incredibly friendly and helpful and are constantly arranging trips to climb or slackline in Joburg’s beautiful surrounding areas. Push yourself on the climbing wall before enjoying beers from the craft brewery below while watching the sun’s slow descent over Roodepoort.
One of The Wilds lesser known sides is the boulders used by climbers.

The Wilds

No doubt one of our favourite spots to go for a walk in Joburg, the winding paths through the Wilds ridges hold a well-kept secret: a rock overhang which has been taken over by Joburg’s climbers. While all the routes are there you will need a bouldering pad to make use of them safely. This can be a steep monetary commitment so keep an eye out for excursions there at MCSA, Friends and Allies and City Rock or make a climbing buddy with someone more experienced so you can join them.

Northcliff Ridge

There are about 50 top-rope climbs along the hills of Northcliff with all of them being relatively short and not too difficult. It means that provided you have the equipment you can spend an afternoon climbing before ending it with well-earned drinks underneath Northcliff’s water tower.


Strubens Valley is a great destination for beginner climbers and mainly offers shorter top-rope routes. Located in Roodepoort, Strubens Valley is on public land so no permit is required to climb however ropes and proper safety gear are a must.
Belayers watch as someone ascends a climb at Choss.


Sitting just above Hartbeespoort Dam, Chosspile is an excellent option for those looking for a day outing. There are 88 routes between the three main crags you would be climbing with difficulties ranging from 11–34 (lower is easier). Unfortunately due to security issues only registered MCSA members can go though and they are allowed to bring guests. Don’t fret if you’re not a member as Friends and Allies arrange trips throughout the year so you can give ‘Choss’ a try.

Kings Kloof

One of the few reasons to go to Krugersdorp, Kings Kloof is a popular spot amongst hikers and climbers alike. Its rocky slopes offer climbs ranging from beginner to intermediate. Make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen as once you’re up at the climbs there is limited shade. The climbing routes are located on Rocky Valley’s property and a R30 day pass is required to climb there.
Waterval Boven is one of the best sports climbing in South Africa, and is also a gorgeous getaway.

Waterval Boven

While this one is a bit of a drive from Joburg (around three hours) we couldn’t leave it out as Waterval Boven is probably the best spot in South Africa for sport climbing with more than 1000 routes on its quartz rock faces. There are frequent gatherings there as climbers set up their tents and hammocks for the weekend. With lush valleys and the spectacular Elands Falls even if you decide you’d rather sit by the campsite reading it makes for an excellent escape. Access is restricted with day passes costing R60 and R30 for MCSA members.


Connect via social media
google sign in button
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE