Best Summer Spots for
It's a new year and summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to get out there and have some adventures! Here are two of our favourite spots close to Gauteng where you can enjoy some lekker climbing and hiking…
Located in the North West close to Hartebeespoort Dam, Chosspile (known affectionately as “Choss” by the locals) has been closed in the past with limited access for climbers, so we’re psyched that this pristine crag is once again open for sending.
Choss offers some of the best climbing near Gauteng, with a few of the lines being some of the hardest in South Africa at the time of the crag’s opening. It consists of four climbing sectors with grades ranging from 11 to 34 and walls going up to 30m, meaning there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Access is granted at Mount Amanzi resort opposite the Highveld Crocodile River, at the base of the crag where it flows out of the Hartbeespoort dam. Entrance is R30 for MCSA members and R50 for non-members, and can be paid at the resort reception. While there have not been any recent reports of muggings at Chosspile, there have been safety issues in the past so we recommend going with a large group.
Murray Church - CityROCK JHB Shop Manager, climbing at Chosspile
One of the great things about climbing gear is that you can get pretty far just by sharing, which is very handy for new climbers who might not feel ready to commit to buying their own rope, quickdraws, belay device and cleaning equipment.
To climb at Chosspile you will need the following:
- Helmet (please, PLEASE always wear a helmet when climbing outside – your life is worth it!)
- Harness (remember to check your harness for any twists or buckles that need double-backing)
- Climbing shoes
- Rope (60m is perfect)
- Belay device (we recommend always using an assisted-braking device)
- Quickdraws (15 is the most you will need for the routes)
- Cleaning equipment (locking carabiners and 60cm slings / quad anchor)
- Sunblock & hat
- Water bottle (we love a Nalgene!)
- First aid kit
If you are using someone else’s gear, make sure to find out about its history and check out what kind of condition it’s in, and only climb with gear that is 100% safe to use. Above all, remember to safety check yourself and your buddies before every climb – it just takes one forgotten knot to turn your fun day out into a hospital visit.
Kingdom Trails (Hiking)
Next up, we’re looking at one of my favourite hiking spots: Kingdom Trails, a private nature reserve located within the exceptionally beautiful Olifant’s River Gorge. Kingdom Trails offers pristine wildlife hiking just a short drive from Pretoria; it's wild and rugged, with no power and no signal in several areas – and that’s why I love it! It feels like true wilderness, just outside the city.
There are four different rustic accommodation options spread over the farm, which are connected by several different trails, meaning there are plenty of hikes (day and overnight) to choose from! Although you can spend the night in the Kingdom Trails accommodation, all of these hikes are fully self-sustained (i.e. you will need to bring along everything you need for the journey).
Note that you will need a high-clearance vehicle if you access the farm from the main Kingdom Camp (entrance A). Make sure you enter through the correct gate for your chosen trail – the farm is 15 000 hectares big so you won’t be able to just drive across if you make a mistake.
As long as you have some good boots/shoes and a decent pack, you’re pretty much ready to go hiking. However, the better prepared you are, the smoother your sailing is set to be. Here are a few things we recommend taking along if you head to Kingdom Trails…
- Proper hiking boots and socks
- A good hiking pack (we love Osprey’s for their excellent quality and lifetime warranty)
- Breathable clothing with an SPF rating
- Rain shell (you can’t do better than the Black Diamond Stormline)
- Headlamp & spare batteries
- Hiking poles
- Camping stove & gas canister
- Pot, pan, cutlery & crockery
- Sleeping bag & mat
- Hat & sunblock
- You will be gathering water primarily from streams that fill up in the rainy season, so we recommend investing in some sort of water purification system, such as a microfilter, LifeStraw or disinfectant drops
- A rope and dry bags are highly recommended if you choose a trail with a river crossing.
- First aid kit & safety whistle
Make sure you also have the Wilderness Search and Rescue number saved (021 937 0300) in case of emergencies, and stay safe out there.
Thanks for reading folks – until the next one, happy adventuring!
By Michael McMicken
(Shop Manager at CityROCK Pretoria)