I love hiking in Marloth. But “Hiking” and “Hiking with small children” are two completely different activities. If this is your first time hiking with small children I would recommend Duiwelsbos. We have hiked Duiwelsbos quite a few times and wanted to try something different. A while ago I trail runned the Plaat West and wanted to see how far we could get with our boys aged 4.7 and 6 years old.
When “grownups” hike the Plaat they can start at the Malroth main office. But if you want to you can drive 800m past the main gate. There is parking for one or two vehicles and shortens the hike. With children (and some grownups) every meter counts :)
Our boys started out with shoes, but ended up bare foot. Along the route I used motivation, bribery and threats. My wife believes in hugs, but hugs don’t get you up the mountain :) We did not even get close to hiking Plaat West but it was still a great time spent in the mountain. The children find joy in the most ordinary things. When Rock Climbing in Montagu we came back with silk worms and during this hike we caught a tadpole in one of the water bottles. The boys also found these “things” that explode like a dust-bomb when you hit it. While hiking the two of them were constantly looking for dust-bombs to activate.
After hiking most of the first section of Plaat West (also the start to hiking 12uur kop) we took a detour on one of my mountain biking routes. This route passes houses where workers stay permanently. So when you pass these houses, be aware that there will be dogs barking at you. The route we hiked was about 4km and took us 2hours 40minutes. Check out the route on Endomondo or Google Maps. I forgot to stop Endomondo before we stopped at a coffee shop, so the start and stop should be at the same spot.
Even though we did not complete the Plaas West, we still ended up hiking the same distance as we would have. We did do a little less climbing. By December I hope to hike Plaat West with my boys. Or at least with the one who reacts best to bribing and chocolate.
Afterwards we went to La Belle Alliance for lunch. This coffee shop/ restaurant is in a beautiful setting along the Koringlands river and in the shade of the trees. They have newspapers and a children’s area. I can recommend the Italian Ciabatta.
Time: 2hours 40minutes
Distance: +- 4km with 200m of climbing
Water: 2x750ml water, 1liter bottle of water
Food: 4 peanut butter-and-jam sandwiches, raisins and nuts,
10 Marshmallows and 4 bananas.
Cost: R40 per grownup, R20 per child, Wild Card = Free