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Kloof - Rumdoodle Area Guide

If you didn't start by reading the general 'blurb' for Kloof Gorge, then you have only yourself to blame when things go horribly wrong. I suggest that you Go Back and read it now.

Route Descriptions

Go to the Route Descriptions page.


A couple of years ago there were a few ugly incidents where climbers were robbed at knife point on the path from the car park to the crags. A few arrests were made and this problem seems to have been sorted out. Nevertheless it would still make sense to go in as large a group as possible. To avoid the very slight possibility of theft by 'day-trippers' it is probably best not to leave anything lying around at the top of the crag whilst you are climbing. Take everything down into the Ravine where it will be 100% secure.

How To Get There

If you by-passed the "How to Get There" section on the main Kloof Gorge page then Go Back there to find out how to get to the Gorge and to the "Sign-In" building. From there, proceed as follows:

After signing in, reverse your winding approach back up Kloof Falls Road until you reach the T-junction with Albelia Road where you turn left. Continue a couple of hundred metres along Albelia Road and then turn left into Emolweni Road. Continue past the Kloof High School, straight on through a traffic circle, and on to the T-junction between Emolweni and Buckingham Roads. Turn right into Buckingham Road and continue down the hill. Towards the bottom of the hill, glide off right into Quentin Smythe Road. Wind along Quentin Smythe Road, past Ipivi Road and then turn left into Uve Road. Uve Road ends in a fenced, gravel parking lot where you may leave your car.

A  path starts from the gate that is located at the far end of the parking lot. Follow this well-worn path for about a kilometre. Avoid the occasional fork to the left as these lead down to the bottom of the gorge. After passing through a pleasant, shady thicket of bush and trees the path stops abruptly at a ravine where most of the routes are located.

A General Description of the Crag

The Rumdoodle crag basically consists of a spur surrounded by a U-shaped band of rock. A ravine separates the tip of the spur from its main body. The tip is called the "Island" and the body of the spur is known as the "Mainland". Access to the bottom of the crag may be achieved by abseiling from the Mainland into the Ravine. This requires leaving the odd piece of gear on top of the crag whilst you are climbing. Alternatively, you can follow the main access path to a point more or less in the middle of the patch of bush and trees mentioned above. From here it is possible to scramble down to either side of the spur (it is somewhat easier to the left) and then make your way through bush and scrub to the base of the rock which can be followed to reach the main climbing areas. Unlike the main path, these two side paths are nowadays virtually non-existent but, with a little scouting around, the 'way to go' becomes fairly obvious

Currently, most climbers tend to use a short, but steep scramble down through the rock face. This is located about 30 m before the ravine and on the right hand side of the main access path as you walk in. To locate this scramble, stand near the centre of (the top) of the Ravine, with your back to it, and look for a very large, house on the distant skyline and slightly off to your left. Walk straight towards this house for 30 m and you will be at the top of the scramble. A small (2 m) tree and a cairn currently mark this point. The top couple of metres of the scramble look quite intimidating at first, but there are good holds and after that it follows a much gentler zigzag route to the foot of the crag. Please exercise caution - especially when using this scramble for the first few times.

The Climbing

In brief, Rumdoodle has something to offer for almost all climbers - trad, sport, easy and hard routes are available. This is an ideal venue for summer climbing when many other local crags become too hot for comfort.

Most of the climbs are located in the Ravine and on Kloof Gorge side of the Mainland and of the Island (i.e on the left-hand side as you walk in). The Island face of the Ravine leans back from the vertical and provides several easy routes. However, the Mainland face of the Ravine is gently overhanging and most of the harder routes are located here. There are currently about 45 routes at Rumdoodle with grades ranging from 8 to 28. The lines are mainly between 10 m and 15 m long. Most of the routes rely on traditional protection and most may be top-roped if necessary. However, about 20 lines have been fully equipped as sports routes. Many of these were trad lines that were retro-bolted, an action that gave rise to a significant controversy. The existence of pegs [P], bolts [B] and chains [C] (or some other form of anchor, from which one can lower off) are indicated where appropriate. The existence of bolts or pegs does not necessarily indicate that a route is a fully equipped sport route. Please note: Some of the bolts at Rumdoodle are relatively old and do not meet currently acceptable standards. A program to replace these bolts is currently in progress.

The rock is Natal Series Sandstone of excellent quality and is typical of many climbing venues in Natal. The Ravine is in shade virtually all day and the Kloof Gorge side gets morning shade but can really bake on a hot summer afternoon. Climbs in the Ravine take at least a day or two to dry out properly after heavy rain.