Crag Spotlight: Misty Cliffs

Check out the first superstar in our new Crag Spotlight series...

South Africa is a haven of rock climbing with a wide range of stunning crags that each have their own unique atmosphere. In our new Crag Spotlight series, we’ll be highlighting some of our favourite spots to climb in SA, including some lesser-known gems that you may not have visited.

We’re starting off with the absolutely gorgeous Misty Cliffs in Scarborough, Western Cape! Situated about an hour’s drive away from the Cape Town CBD, Misty Cliffs is a small, seaside conservation village with great ocean views and, as per the name, some pretty epic cliff faces. There are three crags: Misty Cliffs Boulder and Bloc Party for the pebble-wrestlers and, the star of today’s article, Main Crag.


Misty Cliffs is on private property, so a permit is required to climb at the crag. These are R50 per person per day, and can be purchased online at the button below:

Main Crag started out with a couple of trad routes that were established back in the 1960s. Three sport routes were later bolted in 1985, followed by one in 1990 and ten more in the past few years. Climbers lost access to the crag for over 20 years, which only opened for climbing again in 2021 thanks to a lengthy negotiation by Jono Cohen and Sean Maasch. It is therefore vital that climbers obtain permits before going to Misty Cliffs and adhere to the area’s code of conduct so that we can preserve the crag and continue to be granted access by the landowners.

You can view the code of conduct in the permit application form at the above button.

Note: Dogs are allowed in the Misty Cliffs area, but there are a number of rules that must be followed – give them a read here.


The drive to Misty Cliffs from Cape Town is about one hour, and parking for the crag is on the shoulder of the Main Road near the turn-off for Old Camp Road, as per the pictures below.

The turn-off to Old Camp Road (start your approach from here).
Park on the side of the road just after the small red bridge.

The approach starts at Old Camp Road and is fairly steep for a few minutes, after which you turn right onto the contour path and enjoy a fairly gentle walk following the cairns through the fynbos for another 10 minutes or so. There are a few spots where the path fades away a bit, but it’s fairly easy to navigate the right way even if it’s your first time at the crag. Make sure to stick to the established path as much as possible and, as always, leave all rocks, flora and fauna as you found them.


As stated above, Main Crag offers two trad routes (a 12 and an ungraded line) and 14 sport routes ranging from grade 21 to 28, meaning it’s a fairly difficult crag without much for beginners. That being said, it’s such a great place to spend the day even if you don’t climb, and you can always try top-roping or back-climbing a route to check out the moves even if it’s above your sending grade.

The rock itself is superb and the route quality is top-notch, plus it’s one of the few crags in the Western Cape offering properly long sport climbing, with some routes reaching 35m. Make sure to bring a rope long enough and the right number of quickdraws for the climbs you’ll be trying. You can check out the route guide on TheCrag at the button below to plan your session:

Main Crag’s route layout. Image from


One of Misty’s best perks is that it is shielded from the infamous South Easter, which renders other crags like the Hole and the Mine pretty un-climbable. That being said, it’s called Misty Cliffs for a reason, so it’s best to visit when the skies are clear and clouds are few. If it’s a rainy morning followed by some sun, the routes will most likely dry out enough for an afternoon climb.

The base is great – large and shady for most of the day, with arguably some of the best views of any crag in Cape Town. Remember to bring along plenty of water, sunscreen, and some ziplock bags to carry out any waste and toilet paper.

And that’s all for this Crag Spotlight, folks! Head out to Misty Cliffs for a guaranteed beautiful day, and keep your eyes peeled for the next one…