The Mountain Club of South Africa - Free State Section

Welcome to the home page of the Free State section of the Mountain Club of South Africa, one of the 14 sections in the country. See http://www.mcsa.org.za for the national home page of the Mountain Club of South Africa.

Please see this page for our latest activity programme and newsletter.

The Free State Section was established in 1954 and its headquarters have always been in Bloemfontein.  Although we are a bit far from the mountains, we have many to choose from within a 200 to 350 km radius from Bloemfontein, including the Eastern Free State mountains, the Malutis in Lesotho, the mountainous region of the North-Eastern Cape, as well as the mountains of the upper Karoo region.  We are one of the smaller sections of the MCSA, with about 90 members.  We mainly undertake backpacking trips, but also have a number of active rock climbers.

Our Section organizes regular backpacking trips, ranging from day trips to five-day trips, also ranging from easy to rather strenuous.  The majority of our hikes are not on trails or even where paths exist.  We mostly visit the Eastern Free State and Lesotho for ordinary weekend hikes, and over long weekends we like to visit the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, the North Eastern Cape mountains and Lesotho as well.  We also organise one or two extended backpacking trips per year (normally during school holidays) to places further afield, like the Eastern or Western Cape regions, Namibia or the northern parts of the country.

The rock climbers in the Section mostly organize their own trips, and often have to day-trip or go on even longer outings to get to good crags, as there is very little climbing in Bloemfontein itself. The dominant rock formation in the Free State is cave sandstone (geologically known as Clarens-formation sandstone), which is rather soft and not so good for traditional climbing, but has numerous excellent bolted routes. It's quite different from Magaliesberg or Table Mountain Sandstone, but still offers good and pleasurable, if somewhat abrasive, climbing.
Our Section holds social evenings from time to time, where slides are shown and sometimes interesting talks delivered. 

Our activities are open to the public and non-members are welcome to participate.  After certain requirements have been met (chiefly, the attendance of three meets), you can join as a member and enjoy all the privileges of Mountain Club membership.