Magical Marloth: One of the Overberg’s best-kept secrets 


With names like Duiwelsbos, Doktorsbos, and Wamakersbos, the Marloth Nature Reserve should capture the imagination of any hiker.

The Marloth Nature Reserve is situated just above the town of Swellendam in the Overberg. It covers more than 14,000 hectares of fynbos and indigenous forests (interspersed with some invasive trees). 

And it includes an array of fantastic hikes, from strenuous to fun for the family.

We’ve not tested all the hikes yet (The Twaalfuurkop and Tienuurkop hikes were closed for maintenance when we visited in September 2020).

Appelsbos Loop

Don’t let the first kilometre of this hike put you off. It starts with a challenging climb. But this trail provides some fantastic views of the rest of Marloth Nature Reserve, as well as Swellendam itself.

We emerged from the low mist and cloud on the mountain into a beautiful field of flowering Erica species. From here it was a series of gushing waterfalls (we drank this delicious water) and magical indigenous forests.

The pinnacle of the hike, though, comes after the trail turns and you start heading back. Besides longer stretches of indigenous forest, you’re gifted rock pools that are large enough to swim in (albeit a very chilly swim).

One, in particular, captured the magic of the Marloth Reserve – reminiscent of the Tsitsikamma forests.

The final stretch of the hike was a little humdrum – taking you through pine trees via jeep tracks (although there were still stunning views). Finally, it was a steep, slippery hike back down the track and to the car park.


CapeNature’s map labels the hike as a moderate 11.6km hike, which could take you around three hours to complete. Our Garmin watch said the hike was closer to 13km, and took us four hours to complete, including some rock pool swimming.

Remember to look out for the Wamakersbos signs, or numbers 3 and 7 (there are no Appelsbos signs on this path).

Duiwelsbos Hike

No one seems to know how this forest got its name.

But it could stem from the number of times you’re tricked into thinking you’ve reached the highest point – only for the trail to sneak around another corner, and up another steep incline.

This is a short 1.5km hike up – to a breath-taking waterfall, where you can catch your breath and stop for a snack. The entire hike flows through the sheltered interior of the Duiwelsbos forest.

This is a great hike for the family and will keep young kids engaged.


CapeNature’s map labels this hike as 2kms, which will take you around one hour to complete. Our Garmin watch said the hike was around 3kms (in total) and took us about an hour (including a swim).  


For more info on the Marloth Nature Reserve, visit

Heather is our content writer. She enjoys helping our clients formulate their message and loves to run her way across beautiful mountains, to explore new places and is always ready for an adventure.

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