Towerkop (2 189m)

The Klein Swartberg is a mountaineer's paradise with five of the eight highest peaks in the Western Cape situated within 15 km from Ladismith. 

Although Towerkop is not the highest in the range, it is certainly the most well-known and difficult to climb.  Towerkop itself is a domed-shaped rock, 122m in height, cleft in two by a fissure 30m wide at the top, tapering to 3m at the bottom.

It is situated north of the town and is visible for hundreds of kilometers, altering in shape and appearance as the traveller changes position.  Towerkop (Withchery head) derives its name probably from its changing appearance, but there is also a legend that a witch was crossing the mountain one night during a thunderstorm and found the rock obstructing her passage.  In anger she struck it with her magic wand, splitting it into two!   The first person to conquer Towerkop was the 23-year old Gustav Nefdt who accomplished this in September 1885.  At this stage it was considered as one of the most difficult peaks in the world to climb. Mountaineers consider Nefdt's achievement as almost superhuman, especially as he scaled the rock without ropes.  The route that he followed is described as extremely difficult and exciting, requiring the utmost skills.  At first sight, is seems impossible to negotiate this route.  The first stage of about 12 m is classified as F2.  Following this there is a traverse, followed by a chimney of about 30 m high.  At this stage the climber has nearly reached his goal.  It is stressed that the western route is dangerous and unexperienced climbers should not attempt to tackle it on their own.  There are more than a dozen routes up Towerkop, varying from difficult to extremely difficult.  

   Permission must be obtained from La Grange Volschenk  (cell:  ) on who's farm the route starts and where vehicles can be left.  Overnight accommodation is available. 

Seweweekspoort Peak  (2325m)

This is the highest peak in the Klein Swartberg range as well as in the Western Cape.  It can be approached from Seweweekspoort - the so-called Rocklands route which starts at Aristata.  This route is clear and it is not necessary to negotiate steep rock formations.  This is the shorter route and should take about 5 hours to climb.  There is a comfortable cave at 2 000 m, as well as a perennial stream which runs even during droughts. 

  The South Ridge route is  long, pleasant and well-defined, with a footpath up to approximately 1 800 m.  This route takes you up to a steep climb from the farm Broadacres to the summit.  There is a 4x4 route with a hut at the end of it.  From the hut it is a 300 m climb to the summit. Permission to leave vehicles must be obtained from the owner of Broadacres, Gerrit Nel:  Tel:  +27(0) 28 5611628

 Peak Plaats (2138m)

This beautiful peak is the second highest in the Klein Swartberg mountain range and bar two other peaks, the highest in the Western Cape.  It is a full day's adventure for a fit party to climb the mountain from Knuyswagensdrift.

Other peaks:  Steenslang (2228m), Toorkop (2143m), Elandsberg (2127m) as well as several others.

For more information routes and detailed maps, visit


Copyright © 2016 Ladismith Tourism Bureau - Klein Karoo, South Africa. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.