Swellendam, Cape Overberg

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Swellendam, Cape Overberg

Swellendam, Cape Overberg

Once you've booked your accommodation in Swellendam, explore our pages for info on attractions and what to do in Swellendam.

The picturesque little town of Swellendam is just off the N2 about 240 km outside of Cape Town and connects the Southern Overberg with the Garden Route.

Swellendam lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and has become popular in recent times as a place to retire and as a retreat for artists seeking a lifestyle outside of the city rat race. One of the oldest settlements of colonial times, Swellendam is seeped in history and buildings such as the Drostdy date back to the time when Swellendam was declared a magisterial district in 1743 and named after Governor Hendrik Swellendgrebel and his wife, Helena Ten Damme.

The Tourism Bureau in Swellendam provides a brochure, aptly entitled ‘Swellendam Treasures’, full of appealing snippets of information about the various National Monuments in Swellendam and the surrounding area and the Drostdy Museum is definitely worth a visit to ogle the amazing collection of late 18th and early 19th century Cape furniture.

Swellendam, Cape Overberg
Today Swellendam, apart from being a peaceful and certainly an appealing town with its numerous restaurants and pubs that make it such a popular stop-off en route to the Garden Route, is also a flourishing agricultural village.

Swellendam is the largest youngberry growing area in the world, due mainly to the unique microclimate of the Hermitage valley just a few kilometres outside of Swellendam, and includes farms such as Wildebraam Liqueur farm, which offers liqueur tasting and a cellar tour. The foot of the Langeberg is home to a number of fruit and dairy farms whilst the dryer and flatter region, further in from the mountain, is predominantly sheep and grain farming.

Swellendam, Cape Overberg
Only 6 km outside of Swellendam is the Bontebok National Park, home to the rare and beautiful antelope of the same name and dedicated to saving it. 126 different species of bird have been identified here and there are other small buck and charming picnic spots on the banks of the Breede River. The Marloth Nature Reserve offers gorgeous examples of the local wild flowers and fynbos and the hiking trails alone make it worth the visit. The 81 km Swellendam trail provides a number of stopover huts at regular intervals and there are several day walks.

Swellendam has retained its ability to refresh both gastronomically and cerebrally - it began its life as a refreshment station for those undertaking the rather tedious journey up the coast - with the beauty of its surroundings and the fine fare provided by its coffee shops and restaurants.

Additional Reading:
For more info about Swellendam see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
Sultry Swellendam
It's a Lovely Day for Swellendam
The Swellendam Hiking Trail - A 6 day hike in the Langeberg Mountains
Swellendam - A swell weekend getaway

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Swellendam Reviews

average visitor rating: 5/5"A common misperception is that Swellendam is just a beautiful place to stop for lunch or for a one-night break in the journey. As discovered by those who are ..." - Amanda Shackley, Swellendam

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Visitorials: We Love South Africa

Swellendam Visitorial

I Love Swellendam because ...

Featured in: Visitorials: We Love South Africa

We’ve asked those in the know to share their favourites things about Swellendam. Find out where locals go for the best cup of coffee, lunch suggestions and much more. We’re letting you in on all of their secrets ... I Love Swellendam because ...

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Featured Attractions in (or near) Swellendam

Bontebok National Park

Sheltered by the Langeberg Mountains and bordered to the south by the Breede River, the Bontebok National Park provides a refuge for not only bontebok, but also for other species such as the Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and grey rhebok. The park is situated within the Cape Floral ... more information

Boosmansbos Wilderness Area

Boosmansbos Wilderness Area lies in the beautiful Langeberg Mountains, over 14 000 hectares that is, in turn, part of the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. It is regarded as a hiker's domain, a great space in which to scale peaks to reach views that are virtually unsurpassable, if clambering up ... more information

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. It is not only a beautiful museum that includes large grounds and a typically nineteenth-century Cape garden, but is also ... more information

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

Lying in the heart of the Langeberg Mountains, roughly 22 kilometres north-west of Heidelberg in the Cape Overberg, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is exactly as its name denotes - a wonderful large section of forest - 250 hectares of the largest remaining example of indigenous forest in the Langeberg. This ... more information

Marloth Nature Reserve

Lying just three kilometres from the pretty little town of Swellendam, the Marloth Nature Reserve conserves the central Langeberg Mountains that lie between the towns of Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak. The Marloth Nature reserve includes what residents of Swellendam call ... more information

Mountain Treasure Route

Based on the Overberg Tourism map, the Mountain Treasure Route starts on the N2 en route to Swellendam, past Riviersonderend. Riviersonderend is a beautiful little town with incredible mountain and river scenery that takes its name from the perennial Sonderend River. It it's mountains and fynbos ... more information

Tradouw Pass

Thomas Bain's Tradouw Pass is a masterpiece. A drive through this wonderfully rugged terrain will soon acquaint you with why he was known as 'the man with the theodolite eye' (an instrument used to measure horizontal and vertical angles), for the pass' sheer magnificence is inspiring ... more information

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Things To Do in Swellendam

Self Drive Swellendam to Witsand

Where: Swellendam
How much (per person): Free

Route: Swellendam, Bontebok National Park, De Hoop, Malgas, Witsand Description: the rolling countryside of the Duineveld (we ... more information

Grysbok and Bushbuck Trails

Where: Heidelberg
How much (per person): Price on request

Start: Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, near the little village of Suurbraak or Heidelberg Finish: Grootvadersbosch Reserve ... more information

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Restaurants in Swellendam

Bukkenburg Pottery Studio

Where: Swellendam

Bukkenburg Pottery Studio is a beautiful studio and workshop spread over a gorgeous Victorian house, cow shed and barn with stunning surroundings. There is a large variety of pottery available and ... more information

Rasondale Farm Stall and Restaurant

Where: Swellendam

If you are looking for the perfect pit stop on the way back from the Garden Route to Cape Town (or vice versa of course) then make sure you stop in at Rasondale Farm Stall and Restaurant. Located ... more information

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Events and/or Festivals in Swellendam

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On Holiday in Swellendam

Swellendam Map
Things to Do in Swellendam
Swellendam - A Visitors Perspective
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It's A Lovely Day For Swellendam

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