Duiwelsbos: A devilishly delightful hike
A relatively easy walk in Marloth Nature Reserve, the Duiwelsbos trail rewards your efforts with some stunning scenery and a great little waterfall at the top.
Marloth is something of a gem hiding in plain sight. Located in the shadow of the mountains that loom large behind Swellendam, this idyllic nature reserve has much to offer the casual rambler, as well as those interested in spending some serious time in the wild, without straying too far off the beaten track.
There was a devastating fire in the area back in 2013 but thankfully the patches of indigenous forest that dot the mountains were largely unaffected.
One of those patches is the site of the hike up to the Duiwelsbos waterfall. A nice easy walk alongside the river that flows calmly down a crack in the mountainside, this hike is perfect for those looking for a short, relatively easy afternoon ramble to tackle while they’re in the Swellendam area.
After finding your way through the management roads to the parking lot at the base of the hike (or walking there from the reserve office, which will add about 45 minutes of exposed walking to your hike in either direction), you begin the hike on a flat trail which immediately takes you into the shaded forest.
The change in temperature on warm days is quite drastic, as the shade provided by the indigenous plants and trees keeps the area cool, compared to the baking summer sun in Swellendam. You won’t need much in the way of warm clothing on a dry day, though, given that just a few minutes later the trail begins to climb steeply, an incline that doesn’t relent until you’ve reached the waterfall.
However, don’t be put off by the uphill nature of this hike. Such is the beauty surrounding you that you won’t be able to avoid stopping at regular intervals to marvel at the dense forest on either side while the river flows gently on your right. The ideal way to tackle Duiwelsbos is slowly and with an eye to enjoying the environment, rather than breaking any land speed records as you make your way to the waterfall.
The waterfall itself is a wonder to behold. It’s not large by any stretch of the imagination, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. You could find yourself sitting on the rocks at the edge of the pool below the waterfall for hours, basking in the tranquility and calm. You can also take a dip in the small pool at the base of the waterfall, though you’ll have to be willing to brave fairly cold water temperatures.
The walk down is just as enchanting as the hike up, offering a different perspective on the small slice of forest. Once done, you can travel back to the reserve entrance, seat yourself at one of the picnic tables located in shade, and enjoy a well-earned snack and cold drink.
For those looking to explore Marloth’s other hikes, please click here. And remember, Marloth offers self-catering accommodation at the Bushbuck Cottage for weekend getaways, or longer stays, with space for up to six people at a time. Click here for more details.
*We urge the public to ensure safety when hiking. For comprehensive hiking safety tips, please download our PDF guide here.