About Swellendam

Swellendam is a town in South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch),  situated in the Western Cape province. The town has over 50 provincial heritage sites and is situated on the N2, approximately 220 km from both Cape Town and George. Early travellers and explorers who visited the Cape in the 16th century traded with the Khoikhoi people who lived on these shores and in the interior.

 

By the middle of the 19th century, the eastern districts had been colonised by the British settlers and Swellendam was a thriving metropolis. The town served as a useful refreshment station on the long, slow journey up the coast. Today Swellendam is a flourishing agricultural area, and has many attractive and historic buildings which serve as a reminder of its past.

 

In June 2011, the Swellendam Municipality area, which includes Barrydale, Suurbraak, Malgas, Infanta, and Stormsvlei, re-declared itself a Republic. This republic is dedicated to the principles of the New South Africa, and celebrates rural life,

To do List

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Food and Wine

Swellendam area has many restaurants to visit during the day or evenings.  To find a restaurant to match your needs CLICK HERE.

Wine Tastings

Swellendam is surrounded by many wineries.  Some in the familiar route Bonnievale and Robertson region, but then there are a few smaller ones that very few are familiar with but are definitely worth the visit.  Olivedale Private Vineyards were created after a meeting of minds between the creator, Carl van Wijck, and his Belgian friends. All wines can claim their own uniqueness. Olivedale is not open to the public and works by appointments only.  

 

At Sijnn wines, everything they do revolves around their unique location and terroir. They believe in natural farming and natural winemaking, and focus their skills on blending Mediterranean-style varieties that are best suited to the climate. They are situated in Malgas and are open every Saturday from 10:00 - 15:00 or by appointment during the week. For more info contact +27(0)21 880 1398.  

 

Joubert Tradauw farm has been in the Joubert family for 61 years. Meyer Joubert, an award-winning winemaker, studied viticulture at Elsenburg near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape and thereafter in California's famous Napa Valley for two seasons, before returning to South Africa to make his own wine.  His wife, Beate Joubert, is the author of a cookbook. To add to the wine experience guests can visit their Deli Alfresco which specialises in Klein Karoo tapas.  Best to book or check if open at +27(0)28 125 0086. 

At Wildebraam one can experience beautiful surroundings, friendly enthusiastic staff who eagerly share the intricacies of liqueur making and berry farming, and the opportunity to taste ten unique South African Liqueurs. From November to January picking your own youngberries and blackberries is an additional activity and the fun-filled Wildebraam Berry Festival takes place every year in early December. Owners Natalie and Martyn Turck have grown Wildebraam Berry Esate from scratch in 1996 into Swellendam’s “BERRIED TREASURE '' with an unwavering focus on quality and hospitality.

Open Mon - Friday 8 am - 5 pm; Sat 9 am - 4 pm; Sun 9 am - 1pm. Contact +27(0)28 514 3132 for more info.

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Sport and Outdoors

Swellendam area presents many sporting activities.

Swellendam
Golf 
Course

This golf course was designed and built by Ken Elkin just after World War Two and is rated as one of the top nine hole golf courses in the country. Swellendam's par 72 golf course is nestled at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg mountains, with views overlooking the town, surrounding farms and the Hermitage Valley. There is a good variety of difficulty, which offers a true test for all levels of golfers. Open to the public 7 days a week, this club welcomes visitors local and abroad. The clubhouse is manned daily from 07h30 to 19h00, except on Sundays when the club’s opening hours are shorter. The best time to play in summer is early morning or late afternoon, and Swellendam’s mild winter climate makes play possible all year round. 

Buffeljags Dam Watersport

Umshanti is situated next to the Buffeljagsdam and delivers a variety of watersports. Visitors or groups can book a sunset boat cruise. Minimum of 10 people at a cost of R150 per person for 3 hours.  Bring your own food and drinks. Wood and a grill included for guests to braai.  Visitors can also hire a double canoe for R250 which you can use to explore the dam for as long as you wish.  Bring your own snacks and drinks as there are no facilities on the premises. Booking is necesarry at +27(0)28 512 3787.

Hermitage Horse Riding

Debra-Leigh Mohle's love for horses is contagious.  She offers horse riding lessons and trails in the Hermitage Valley at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain. Lovely adventure for all ages especially families with children.  Booking is essential at +27(0)76 452 8347

Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park is a species-specific national park in South Africa. It was established in 1931 to ensure the preservation of the Bontebok. It is the smallest of South Africa's 18 National Parks, covering an area of 27.86 km.  The park is part of the Cape Floristic Region, which is a World Heritage Site.

The park is located 6 km south of Swellendam, in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains. It is bordered to the south by the Breede River. Bontebok National Park lacks major predators or other large dangerous animals, and thus allows several outdoor activities. These include self-navigated game drives, a large picnic area, fishing, swimming and kayaking on the Breede River, mountain biking (along the reserve's gravel roads, or a dedicated 9 km MTB trail) and several marked walking/hiking trails.

Three hiking trails start near the rest camp (accessible for day visitors from a dedicated parking area, or via a short link path from the overnight camp):

  • The Acacia Trail is a circular route of approximately 1.6 km which is mostly flat, circling through acacia veldt

  • The Aloe Hill Trail is a circular route of approximately 3.3 km (2.7 km if leaving from the rest camp) which passes the original building of Lang Elsie's Kraal (c. 1734-1800) before climbing a small hill, returning along the river with a few easy rocky scrambles

  • The Bushbuck Trail, a 5.4 km out-and-return route along the river from the trailhead to Die Stroom (the picnic area) and return

 

Further inland from the river, the Blue Crane Trail is a 3.2 km route along a jeep track, passing some of the small dams. A fifth circular trail of about 6 km, the Termite Loop, commences near Die Stroom and climbs a long gentle incline before crossing Western Drive and descending back to the river.

The Park is a good location for birding, with over 200 species recorded. Large species commonly see here are the Denham's (Stanley's) Bustard, Blue Crane, Spur-winged Goose and Secretary Bird. Other noteworthy species are Malachite and Southern Double-Collared Sunbird, Fiscal FlycatcherKlaas's CuckooAcacia Pied BarbetRed-faced Mousebird and Pearl-breasted Swallow.

Day visitors can access all areas of the park except for the Lang Elsies Kraal Rest Camp. However, a dedicated picnic area at Die Stroom has ablutions, braai (barbecue) facilities, a children's play area, and access to the river to swim, fish or kayak. Contact them at +27 28 514 2735.

Marloth Nature Reserve

Marloth Nature Reserve is a hidden gem in the majestic Swellendam Mountains, between Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak.  The peaceful reserve which is 14, 123 hectares in size, is managed together with 16 532 hectares of privately owned land, and is a World Heritage Site. Things to do are: Bird watching; Hiking and walking; Horse riding; Mountain biking; Picnicking. The Nature Reserve is entered from the Marloth Main Office where the hiking permits can be purchased (situated near the Swellendam golf course). Marloth Office Tel: +27(0)28 514 1410 www.capenature.co.za

Swellendam
MTB

Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy some awesome mountain biking on Swellendam's custom built trails, which starts at various points in Swellendam. There is a bike park to play around with 4 other routes testing the capabilities of all riders. The White route is 5 km and well suited for the beginner and kiddies. The Green route with 13km, Blue  with 22km and Red with 39km all offer stunning mountain and Overberg landscape views. With all guest houses as starting points and very close to the trail network this is no logistical nightmare. The routes are lying at the foot of the Langeberg mountains alongside Swellendam town.

Pottery Workshop

Arts and Culture

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Swellendam area has many restaurants to visit during the day or evenings.  To find a restaurant to match your needs CLICK HERE.

Pottery Workshop

Arts and Culture

Swellendam has many arts and culture to experience and many historical places to see.

The Drostdy
Museum

The Drostdy Museum was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1747 to serve as residence and official headquarters for the Landdrost. Soon after a Gaol, a house for the secretary, a mill and various outbuildings were erected.In 1846 the government sold the Drostdy and the property was subdivided. In 1855 the former Drostdy was bought by the Steyn family and it remained in the hands of this family until 1939 when it was bought by the government of the Union of South Africa for the purpose of establishing a museum. The museum is spread among several historic sites: the Gaol, the Ambagswerf, Mayville and Zanddrift and houses a fine collection of late 18th and 19th century furniture.  The collection of buildings is of great architectural value and the surrounding traditional Cape gardens add a lovely aesthetic.

 

Opening times: Monday - Friday 07:45 am - 1pm, 1:30pm - 4:15pm.

The Continent
of Sulina

Sulina is the home of Ian and Minky Sulin, lovingly shared.  Their Enchanted Garden is left for the Natural Caretakers to take care of and the humans just help with the heavy stuff, watering and composting! No poisons or chemicals are used here.  As a result the Garden runs on its own ecosystem and everything lives here.  It has truly become a tiny Magical Nature reserve! This Magical Home and Garden is Loved by Children of all ages. The Adoption Centre is for all the unique creations that come through Sulina's creative family.  Everyone can enjoy the magic that goes in every little nook and corner and guests can adopt one to take home. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm.

Under the Oaks Market

This quirky country craft/farmers market is every Saturday behind the Grace & Merci restaurant on Voortrek Street by the river.  Here one can find locally made great food, bakes, crafts, art, plants, gifts and curios as well as fresh organic produce and herbs.  There are kids activities available and a play area to play at.  Open every Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm (Summer) and 10 am - 2 pm (Winter).

Cherie Prins
Ceramics

Cherie Prins is an artist who creates beautiful modern ceramics in her studio in Swellendam. She also gives classes where she teaches you how to create your own. A lovely activity to do while in town.

 

Contact her at +27(0)76 410 0585 or email cherieprins@gmail.com.

Bukkenburg 
Pottery

David Schlapobersky and Felicity Potter: South African Studio Potters working together in the tradition of high temperature, reduction-fired pottery (stoneware and porcelain) since 1973. Their working studio is situated in Swellendam and is open daily to visitors to browse and enjoy the environment.  It is advisable to call ahead if travelling from afar.  They also deliver pottery workshops and courses. 

 

Call: +27 (0)28 514 1644 or +27(0)82 342 5453.  

The Drostdy
Museum

The Drostdy Museum was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1747 to serve as residence and official headquarters for the Landdrost. Soon after a Gaol, a house for the secretary, a mill and various outbuildings were erected.In 1846 the government sold the Drostdy and the property was subdivided. In 1855 the former Drostdy was bought by the Steyn family and it remained in the hands of this family until 1939 when it was bought by the government of the Union of South Africa for the purpose of establishing a museum. The museum is spread among several historic sites: the Gaol, the Ambagswerf, Mayville and Zanddrift and houses a fine collection of late 18th and 19th century furniture.  The collection of buildings is of great architectural value and the surrounding traditional Cape gardens add a lovely aesthetic.

 

Opening times: Monday - Friday 07:45 am - 1pm, 1:30pm - 4:15pm.

The Continent
of Sulina

Sulina is the home of Ian and Minky Sulin, lovingly shared.  Their Enchanted Garden is left for the Natural Caretakers to take care of and the humans just help with the heavy stuff, watering and composting! No poisons or chemicals are used here.  As a result the Garden runs on its own ecosystem and everything lives here.  It has truly become a tiny Magical Nature reserve! This Magical Home and Garden is Loved by Children of all ages. The Adoption Centre is for all the unique creations that come through Sulina's creative family.  Everyone can enjoy the magic that goes in every little nook and corner and guests can adopt one to take home. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm.

Under the Oaks Market

This quirky country craft/farmers market is every Saturday behind the Grace & Merci restaurant on Voortrek Street by the river.  Here one can find locally made great food, bakes, crafts, art, plants, gifts and curios as well as fresh organic produce and herbs.  There are kids activities available and a play area to play at.  Open every Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm (Summer) and 10 am - 2 pm (Winter).

Cherie Prins
Ceramics

Cherie Prins is an artist who creates beautiful modern ceramics in her studio in Swellendam. She also gives classes where she teaches you how to create your own. A lovely activity to do while in town.

 

Contact her at +27(0)76 410 0585 or email cherieprins@gmail.com.

Bukkenburg 
Pottery

David Schlapobersky and Felicity Potter: South African Studio Potters working together in the tradition of high temperature, reduction-fired pottery (stoneware and porcelain) since 1973. Their working studio is situated in Swellendam and is open daily to visitors to browse and enjoy the environment.  It is advisable to call ahead if travelling from afar.  They also deliver pottery workshops and courses. 

 

Call: +27 (0)28 514 1644 or +27(0)82 342 5453.  

 
 
 
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Shopping & Day Trips

Whether you want to stroll amongst interesting shops or have special needs, Swellendam area which includes Malgas, Infanta, Suurbraak, Barrydale and Stormsvlei, is the perfect stay over if you want to explore the area and surroundings.. 

 

During whale season one can take a drive to the picturesque DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE or just go have a look and have lunch. 

 

We also recommend going to the most Southern point in Africa in Agulhas.