Rock climber leads others to adventure

This week, we chat to Mark Mannheim about the exciting adventure activities he offers under his brand, Amatola Adventure.

Mark Mannheim

Q: What do you do?

A: I’m an adventure enthusiast who has been rock climbing and facilitating rock climbing since 2003. I promote tours that allow people an opportunity to go off the beaten track, experience fun-filled activities, and discover the hidden gems of the Eastern Cape.

Q: How and when did Amatola Adventures come about? What is the aim of this venture?

A: Amatola Adventures was founded in December 2023 out of a passion for adventure, life, nature and climbing. The business aims to give people — young and old alike — an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of our landscape and help cultivate an appreciation for nature. It also endeavours to create a sense of resilience, determination, and self-confidence within ourselves.

Q: What is the inspiration behind this business venture?

A: My vision, “Explore the Unseen”, is a personal invitation to promote interest in wonder and exploring. It encourages discovering the unknown, including our ability to push through our limits and personal fears to facilitate growth. Climbing a rock face can have a profound impact on an individual, cultivating resilience, determination, and self-confidence.

Q: What outdoor activity experience do you have? 

A: My hobbies have included off-road running, mountain biking, trail running, motocross and enduro, ocean sailing, and rock climbing. I have more than 20 years of rock climbing experience. I acknowledge that climbing a rock face can be a humbling experience, which has encouraged in me a healthy respect for the power of nature.

Q: Who do you work with?   

A: I work alone but I partner with concerns that help me meet the needs of my clients. Depending on the size of the group I take climbing, I involve assistants where necessary.

Q: What satisfaction do you get out of the work that you do? 

A: I enjoy being of service to others, by providing them an opportunity to enjoy new, positive experiences, as well as benefiting from the majesty and beauty of our natural surroundings. I also love to see people on the journey of self-discovery and growth.

Q: Are there any challenges that you have encountered? 

A: Rock climbing is relatively unknown in our area.  People don’t realise that we have ‘world-class’ climbing at our doorstep. In 2009, Adam Ondra, described as one of the leading climbers of his generation, climbed locally at NSA. People don’t know what climbing is and therefore there is a reluctance to commit.

Q: Who is the target audience for the Amatola Adventures?

A: Mainly school groups, however, any group of people seeking fun and adventure is most welcome, including corporations, gyms, public entities, or clubs.

Q: What are some of the goals or future plans that you have for your business? 

A: I’d like to see more schools and corporate entities taking advantage of climbing opportunities. I like to see awareness of the activity grow, and more fellow climbers participating in this social experience that helps promote camaraderie and teamwork.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who is also interested in starting a business around physical activities? 

A: There are several factors to consider when involving others in physical activities, the most important being safety and the well-being of others. Other factors to consider include researching the demand, indemnity from liability, and importantly, one’s physical fitness levels. First aid training is also vital.

Q: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know? 

A: Exposure to nature is a low-cost, readily available resource for combating many of the conditions that contribute to chronic illness.  Studies support that being in nature has a positive effect on our bodies.  Climbing a cliff requires a person to be fully present and focused on the task at hand. This can promote mindfulness and help reduce stress. Amid a rise in depression and anxiety amongst teens, schools and families can benefit from including this activity within their curriculum.

Q: Where can our readers find you? (contact details/social media) 

A: I can be contacted telephonically or via WhatsApp at 082-838-4181, or by email at My website details are 


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