Koloniesbos Trail – Swellendam
Koloniesbos Trail – Swellendam
Short Day Hike
I participated in a camping and hiking weekend with the SAPSTAP Hiking Club from 13 – 15 July 2018. We used the Swellendam Caravan Park as our base camp for day hikes in the Marloth Nature Reserve. They have recently renovated several of the chalets in the Caravan Park and we were impressed with the look of the accommodation and the facilities provided in the refurbished chalets.
How to get there
The Overberg town of Swellendam is situated on the N2 highway between Riviersondend and Heidelberg in the Western Cape. It is located 218 km from Cape Town and a similar distance of 212 km from George in the Southern Cape.
According to Capeinfo.com, Swellendam is
“… the fourth oldest town in South Africa, with a population of 35,916 inhabitants (2011 census). The town has over 50 heritage sites, most of them outstanding examples of Cape Dutch architecture.”
The Marloth Nature Reserve is situated just above the town of Swellendam, in the Langeberg Municipal Area.
Opening Times – Swellendam Caravan Park
The Swellendam Caravan Park is located at 34 Glen Barry Street, Swellendam. The office hours and contact numbers of the Swellendam Caravan Park are:
08h00 – 13h15 and 14h00 – 17h00
Tel:+27 (0)28 514 8575
The Caretaker person, Ms Nokwazi Fadane can be contacted at 073 394 6281
Chalets cost between R533.60 and R643.80 in total per night for the chalet. Each Chalet can accommodate a maximum of 4 persons on single beds.
No pets are allowed in the chalets
Opening Times – Marloth Nature Reserve
The Marloth Nature Reserve is managed by Cape Nature. The office hours and contact numbers of the Marloth Nature Reserve are:
Office hours: 07h00 – 16h00
Tel:+27 (0)28 514 1410
Mobile +27 (0)82 496 2450
The Conservation fees are R40 for adults and R20 for children between the ages of 3 – 12 years.
Entrance is free for Wildcard holders.
The Speedy Review (tl;dr)
The Koloniesbos (Afrikaans for Colony’s Forest) Trail is a short (2km) day hike. It is a relatively easy walk that takes you on a circular route through the forest in the Marloth Nature Reserve. It should probably be enjoyed in conjunction with one or two other short hikes on offer in the nature reserve, like the Duiwelsbos Trail. It can be enjoyed by the whole family if done at a regular pace.
Nina rated this trail 0/5 paw prints, because there are no dogs allowed in the Marloth Nature Reserve and she felt quite left out. She did spend the weekend with Mom so it wasn’t too bad.
The Nitty Gritty
This is a circular route that begins near the lower parking area inside the Marloth Nature Reserve, Swellendam.
We started the hike at about 13h50 from the Koloniesbos Circle Route wooden sign just before the lower parking area. The route distances in this blog were calculated by the Strava App. I have also included distances calculated by my Garmin Etrex 20X to show the difference in the distances calculations across the two devices. The elevation at the start was 197 m.
We were 10 hikers in the group which consisted of 3 ladies and 7 men. All adults. The trail began on a grassed jeep track. After walking for about 5 minutes, the trail split left and right and we went to the right. The distance at that point was about 400 m.
A few minutes later, after covering a further 100 m, we came to a large wooden framed structure titled Koloniesbos. After entering through the wooden gateway into the forest, the trail split left and right again. We followed the trail to the right again and after a short distance crossed a small wooden bridge. The trail then began to climb further into the forest. It was quite a steep climb along that section until just before the river where the trail started to descend again.
At 14h15, we reached the river after covering a distance, according to Strava of 1 km and 992 m for Garmin. The elevation was 335 m. This was the perfect spot to fill up water bottles and to take a short break. There were signs up at the river warning that the trail there was slippery and to take care when crossing the boulders in the river bed. On the other side of the river, the trail continued to descend quite quickly.
At 14h23, we reached another stream after walking a distance of, according to Strava, 1.4 km with a time of 33 minutes. The GPS tracked us at 1.38 m. The elevation was 236 m at that point.
A couple of minutes later, we had come full circle and arrived back at the large wooden structure titled Koloniesbos, this time from the lower trail on the left hand side. We passed through the wooden structure and turned right on to the grassed jeep track and headed back towards where we had started the trail. At about 14h30, we completed the hike.
The total hiking distance, according to Strava was 2.0 km while Garmin showed it as 1.97 km. The hike took us about 40 minutes to complete.
The elevation gain for this hike was about 127 m according to Strava and 138 m according to the Garmin GPS device.
Watch the Relive video to get an idea of the route and the elevation profile of this hike.