See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on Hiking
in South Africa.
Located in and around the Marloth Nature Reserve (which lies 2 km north of Swellendam), this hiking trail is often said to be one of the most beautiful in the Cape.
There are numerous shorter routes if six days of hiking is too long for you and, as an inevitable result, the trail has become very popular on weekends and public holidays.
Kruispad, near Proteavallei Hut, and the Vensterbank route provide short cuts over the mountain, thereby eliminating the western section. These options provide impressive views but are recommended only to shorten your hike.
On each day of the trail, stretches of shadeless fynbos alternate with cool, indigenous forest in the kloofs. The southern and northern Langeberg slopes offer far-reaching views of the Swellendam Valley, including the Bontebok National Park and the Robertson Valley respectively.
Other trail sections provide the sensation of being in a peaceful and secluded wilderness. The trail demands a medium to high level of fitness; the third day's walk is particularly strenuous.
Middelrivierberg, Leeurivierberg, Misty Point (1 710 m), Twelve o'clock, One o'clock and Ten o'clock peaks, as well as others, are encircled by the trail and are popular with mountaineers.
Misty Point is a particularly treacherous ascent because, as its name indicates, it often becomes rapidly shrouded in mist.
There are numerous paths into some of the densely forested kloofs such as Wolfkloof, Duiwelsbos, Koloniesbos and Wamakersbos. These paths also make fascinating day excursions, especially in hot, sunny summer weather.
Day 1: 15km 4-5 hours
Day 2: 10km 4 hours
Day 3: 10km 4 hours
Day 4: 13km 4-5 hours
Day 5: 21km 8-9 hours
Day 6: 10m 4 hours
Small animals, mountain fynbos, patches of afromontane forest and birds will be on show as you wind your way through Swellendam section of the Langeberg mountains.
Prohibitions and hazards:
This trail is fairly demanding and should only be attempted by fit, competent and well-equipped hikers. Fires are only permitted at demarcated sites at Glen stream and Wolfkloof huts due to the high risk of veld fires and the scarcity of trips. Be aware that trips should be well planned in advance as hikers are not permitted to leave the trail at any stage due to private property and the possibility of getting lost.
The trail should be avoided in rain, strong winds and mist, and by those afraid of heights.Accommodation:
Huts Accommodation is available at each overnight stop. Huts are equipped with mattresses for 22, field toilets and drinking water. Hikers must bring their own food, gas stoves, cooking and eating utensils, and bedding. The Glenstream hut is the first overnight hut and is where hikers arriving at Marloth usually overnight before hitting the trail itself. It is near the car park.