Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Drostdy Museum
The Drostdy Museum is actually a collection of several historical buildings that include one of the oldest surviving examples of a Drostdy building in South Africa, hence the name of the museum.
Where? 18 Swellengrebel Street, Swellendam, 6740, Cape Overberg
How? Call +27 (0)28 514 1138
It is not only a beautiful museum that includes large grounds and a typically nineteenth-century Cape garden, but is also one of the country’s finest museums, perched on Swellengrebel Street, a particularly pretty road in Swellendam.
Built in 1747, the Drostdy served as the official residence and seat of the magistrate of Swellendam - the most important building in town for years. It is a gorgeous example of Cape Dutch, minus its original façade gable - it was enlarged to twice its original size between 1812 and 1825.
Today it looks exactly as it did in 1844 with a thatched roof, gentle curve above the front door, and walls of clay and unbaked brick in earth mortar, including a painted lime-plaster floor in the parlour in an attempt to imitate tiles or marble.
There is a beautiful rose garden that resides in the corner plot of what must once have been a magnificent garden, including vineyard and orchards that grew fruit, vegetables and herbs for not only the household but inmates of the gaol, built after the Drostdy and part of the Drostdy Museum complex.
The remaining buildings include the Ambagswerf - an open air section displaying tools and equipment that would have been used by artisans of the time; Mayville House, a water mill and some fine examples of 18th century furniture.