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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.


This Nature Reserve is entered from the Marloth Main Office, situated near the Swellendam Golf Course. Get your hiking permits at the Marloth Main Office.

Marloth Nature Reserve


Hot Summers and Cold Winters
Most rain: March, October and November
Occasional snow
Marloth Office Tel: +27 (0)28 514 1410
Emergency Tel: +27 (0)82 496 2450
Cabin bookings Tel: +27 (0)87 087 82500


> Do you need a 4x4 in Marloth? No. 

> Dogs are not allowed.

> This is Africa. Remember sunscreen, hats and water.



The hiking trails offer a wide range of difficulty. From the first water pool at Duiwelsbos, which can be hiked with a toddler, to the strenuous and challenging 12uur kop, from where you can see the ocean. All routes are well marked. The hiking trails shown above start from either the Marloth main office or the Duiwelsbos/Koloniesbos parking.



In Marloth Nature Reserve you can ride the non-technical gravel road that starts at the Marloth Nature Reserve Main Gate and leads to the Duiwelsbos/Koloniesbos Parking area. You can buy your CapeNature permit at the Marloth Nature Reserve Main Gate.

The Swellendam Mountain Bike Trails was built in 2020. This trail layout borders Marloth Nature Reserve, but never enters the reserve or plantation. Riding in the plantation is prohibited.


Top things to do in Swellendam