Marloth Nature Reserve
is a hidden gem in the majestic Swellendam Mountains
Marloth Nature Reserve is hidden away in the imposing Swellendam Mountains, between Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak. Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa and has many interesting cultural-historic features. The peaceful reserve, which is 14 123 hectares in size, is managed together with 16 532 hectares of privately owned land, and is a World Heritage Site.
Marloth Nature Reserve is named after the pioneer botanist who, together with a deputation of Swellendam residents, petitioned the Minister of Lands and Forestry in 1928 to set aside part of the mountain as a nature reserve. During 1981, the reserve was enlarged to include the rest of the State Forest and the Swellendam hiking trail was opened.
The reserve’s vegetation is predominantly mountain fynbos, with patches of forest. There are several species of protea and more than 25 species of erica, most of which flower in November. Marloth, like the rest of the southern Cape, has hot summers and cold winters. The higher mountain peaks are occasionally dusted in snow during the cold winter months.
The reserve boasts 7 day trails, all varying in difficulty, length and landscape. Let your imagination run rife and compose a tune or two during your day outings to consider the various possibilities on where the trails’ names come from.
Accommodation at Marloth Nature Reserve:
Marloth offers charming and comfortable accommodation in a self-catering cottage that sleep up to six people at a time.
Bushbuck Cottage is a fully equipped self-catering cottage. It is perfect for a weekend getaway or as an overnight stop before starting the six-day Swellendam Trail. Bushbuck Cottage sleeps six people in three separate rooms. One bedroom has a double bed, while the other two rooms have two single beds. Guests will need to stock up in Swellendam, as there is no shop on site.
Hot-water bath and shower
Bedding, linen and towels:
Yes, and braai (firewood is sold on the reserve)
Activities at Marloth Nature Reserve:
Marloth offers various day trails, ranging from easy, short walks to more strenuous, longer hikes.
- Indigenous forest walks
These trails lead into the cool green depths of the indigenous forest remnants where rock pools, waterfalls and
ancient trees wait to be explored. The walks are generally short (between 2km and 5km) and reasonably easy. Look
out for bushbuck and baboon.
- The Plaat
The Plaat walks are slightly longer and range between 3km and 16km. They include a short, steep zig-zag section to
reach the mid-band of the mountain at about 600m. Here hikers are rewarded with inspiring views and a variety of wildflowers and birdlife. The many streams en route provide ample cool mountain water to quench the thirsty.
- The Peaks
The mountain peaks of Tienuurkop (1195m) and Twaalfuurkop (1450m) are an ideal challenge for fit hikers. Breathtaking views of the entire Langeberg mountain range, the Rûensveld and even the Indian Ocean are guaranteed. Hikers are advised to carry sufficient water and be prepared for rapid climatic changes and extreme weather conditions.
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