For climbers, it’s always peak season in this town


The dirt road off the R62 is long and unyielding, heading directly for the imposing rock face. In Montagu, where does a climber go but straight to the mountains? With blue skies year round, the shade of the crags provide a welcome relief. Justin Lawson is a regular visitor to The Farm, a dedicated climbing spot seven kilometres outside the small town.

Wedged between the Breede River Valley and the Karoo, Montagu is a mountaineer’s paradise. Rock formations composed of jagged sandstone characterise the town. The mountains are nothing short of dramatic. At The Farm, climbing enthusiasts have mapped out scores of routes, each more exhilarating than the next. “Climbing up The Farm sector is a dream for an adventurous soul like me,” Lawson says. Purposefully designed, the trails differ in intensity, allowing even beginners the opportunity to experience these heights.

Lawson, a travel writer and climbing guide, favours the more daring options. Extending his right hand toward a crevice, Lawson hauls himself up. He takes no notice of the vertiginous drop. The panoramic views are unlike anything he’s seen in his 32 years of taking on rock faces. “I’ve climbed all over the world,” Lawson says. “But coming back to Montagu, it’s something that I’ll always love.” With over 500 routes spanning these mountains, he’s bound to discover new thrills every time.