South African Mountaineering Development and Training Program (MDT)

This website will give prospective climbers, hikers and abseilers the information they need on mountaineering standards in South Africa. The MDT is the industry standard for mountain skills, training and assessments. The South African Mountaineering Development and Training Program (MDT), was established in 1994 to develop and maintain nationally recognised standards for the many clubs, organisations and individuals active in mountain related activities. The program, managed by the South African Mountaineering Development and Training Trust, a legally constituted body registered with the master of the Supreme Court, coordinates and administers the functioning of the National Training Program. Training and or assessment courses are run by Service Providers approved and accredited by the National Management Committee.

Skills Training

A selection of skills courses aimed at the recreational abseiling, hiking and rock climbing enthusiast wanting formal training without the need for assessment. See the courses here

Supervisor Training

A selection of courses (and associated assessment) aimed at the abseiling, hiking and rock climbing supervisor responsible for group activities. See the courses here

Instructor Training

A selection of courses and assessments created to ensure standardisation of skills instruction across the MDT syllabus. See the courses here

MDT Syllabus Tree

Courses are designed to flow in a complimentary system toward each level. Some systems (R.I.A / K.I.A) require additional modules as their scope of operation overlaps with those programs. For example a Rock or Kloofing Instructor requires Walking Group Leader as a supplement. Likewise an M.I.A can have Kloofing exclusion.

Awards Glossary


  • M.I.A: Mountain Instructor Award
  • I.M.L: International Mountain Leader
  • M.L.I: Mountain Leader Instructor
  • M.L.A: Mountain Leader Award
  • W.G.L: Walking Group Leader
  • R.I.A: Rock Instructor Award
  • M.P.S: Multi Pitch Supervisor
  • S.P.S: Single Pitch Supervisor
  • A.S.A: Abseil Supervisor Award
  • W.S.A: Wall Supervisor Award
  • K.I.A: Kloofing Instructor Award
  • K.L.A: Kloofing Leader Award