When the Marloth Mountain Challenge took place in September 2015, the organisers agreed that Swellendam is very unique in how close the hiking and mountain bike trails is located in regards to the town's tourism hub and Drostdy.
Today's hike took less than 3 hours - from start, to a walk in the clouds, to holding a cappuccino in my hand.
My friends and I met each other at Swellendam Information Office (next to the Drostdy) and drove 1.8km down Berg Street to the Two Feathers Horse Trails Gate. Our day (morning) of hiking started here. Along the route we met a 75-ish year old "oom" that said that he saw my bakkie parked at the gate. He wanted to know why we drove the 1.8km from the Drostdy instead of hiking it. We told him it was because of time constraint, but it was more a fear of leg constraint. In hind sight we could have easily started the hike at the Drostdy/Swellendam Information Office. The "oom" did :)
We hiked counter-clock wise, but the route can be hiked clock wise as well. Either way the first third is hard on the legs (straight up), the middle third is flattish with breath taking views and the final third is straight down.
The hike started out in thick mist and we could not see more than 20m ahead. As we climbed higher we surfaced above the clouds/mist and the views were spectacular. Each of us took a long their own water bottle. One of my friends (the fit one) had a flask of coffee and some cookies in his backpack, which we enjoyed just before starting our descent.
After the hike we enjoyed coffee and cake at Coffee Culture. The view you can enjoy after such a short hike is really unbelievable. We met each other at the Swellendam Information office at 7:00 and were enjoying our coffee and cake just after 10:00.
Spending quality time like this with friends or family is priceless.
Hike name: Plaat East
Duration: 2hours 53minutes (which included 30 minutes of drinking coffee, enjoying the view and talking nonsense)
Where can you buy a permit: Swellendam Information Office or Marloth Main Gate
Permit Cost: R40 (or Wild Card)
Coffee Culture Marloth Mountain Challenge 2016