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Marloth Nature Reserve, Swellendam

Marloth Nature Reserve, SwellendamThe Marloth Nature Reserve lies within the rugged and scenic southern Langeberg mountain range near Swellendam. In spring the mountain fynbos bursts into colour – many of the protea, erica and reed species seen only occur here.

Most of the animals that occur at Marloth are relatively small, shy and not easily spotted. Klipspringer and grey rhebuck occur in the fynbos, while bushbuck keep to the forests. Baboons are numerous and elusive leopards still roam the mountains. Be on the alert for puff adder, Cape cobra and mountain adder. The Cape sugarbird is the most conspicuous bird, but black eagles, buzzards and harriers can also be seen.


All trails and activities begin at the Marloth Nature Reserve office. Visitors can mountain bike, hike, horse ride or simply picnic.


Marloth offers various day trails, ranging from easy, short walks to more strenuous, longer hikes. The indigenous forest 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 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 Trails: The mountain peaks of Tienuurkop (1195m) and Twaalfuurkop (1450m) are an ideal challenge for fit hikers. Breath-taking 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.

The popular Swellendam Hiking Trail is closed due to fires that have burned down the overnight huts.

Mountain Biking:

The reserve and plantation roads offer good opportunities for exploring from the saddle. The bike trails vary from easy to more advanced. Details are available from the reserve office.

Horse riding:

For those with their own horses, trail opportunities are available in the reserve and adjacent plantation. Nearby private operators provide horses and guided trails. Details are available at the reserve office.

Picnics and Braais:

A 5km drive along a gravel road leads from the reserve entrance through the commercial pine plantations to the Duiwelsbos picnic area. Most of the picnic sites and the braai areas lead off this road, which is usually in a fair condition. The braai area may be closed at short notice due to extreme fire risks at certain times during summer.


Marloth has one fully-equipped self-catering cottage that sleeps up to 6 people.


From the Cape Town side of Swellendam’s main road, turn left up Andrew Whyte Street to the golf course. Look for the signboards leading to the reserve office, about 1km from the golf course.


Tel: 0861CAPENATURE (227 362 8873) Enquiries: Tel: (028) 514 1410 or E-mail

More info on the town of Swellendam More info on the Cape Overberg

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