Day 5: 10th November, 2016
BIKE: Honeywood to Malgas to Fish Hoek – 55km
A downhill start through the green grainlands taking us down to the Breede River and our unusal crossing, which is on a pontoon pulled across by hand – the only human powered pontoon in the country. A quick lunch at the local hotel, then shuttle 250 km to Fish Hoek on the False Bay coastline, where we overnight near the ocean, well poised to tackle our last spectacular ride around the Cape Peninsula and into Cape Town.
HIKE: Marloth Nature Reservce– 15km
Marloth Nature Reserve lies in the majestic Swellendam mountains, between the towns of Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak. The reserve is 14 123 ha in extent and is managed together with another 16 532 ha of privately owned proclaimed mountain catchment land. The reserve’s office is approximately 1.5 km from Swellendam and adjacent to the Swellendam State Forest.There are eight day trails and the famous six-day Swellendam Hiking Trail. The day trails vary from short, easy walks to longer more strenuous routes. Indigenous forest walks: short and reasonably easy walks between 2 km and 5 km. The Plaat walks are slightly longer and range between 3 km and 16 km. The Peak walks: an ideal challenge for t hikers to the mountain peaks of Tienuurkop (1195m) or Twaalfuurkop (1450m). All the trails start and end at the reserve of ce, where vehicles can be parked
‘Arpad who did this walk last year told me I would ‘lose my lungs’ – he meant to say use my lungs, though after the amount of climbing that was involved in this walk I think he was right first time! It was a challenging though also very rewarding hike with spectacular views over the valley, which included the third oldest town in South Africa of Swellendam, dating from 1745.
Wildlife included soaring birds of prey and a tortoise that passed us on one of the climbs. Weather ranged from bright sunshine to light rain and winds as we climbed up close to the low cloud line.
The walk concluded with some of us racing up the last large hill, Arpad winning closely followed by Anna, while the rest of us quietly died below.
A bus journey, beer and as good a steak pie as I have ever tasted concluded a great day’
Tommy Webb, Petroceltic, Hiker