Things To Do in SwellendamSelf Drive Swellendam to Witsand
Where? Start in Swellendam.
Route: Swellendam, Bontebok NP, De Hoop, Malgas, Witsand.
When? Best during daylight hours.
How much? Free
Route: Swellendam, Bontebok National Park, De Hoop, Malgas, Witsand
Description: the rolling countryside of the Duineveld (west of the Breede River) and Ruggensveld (south of Riviersonderendberg and east of the Houhoekberg)
Length: roughly 220 km
Time: a day, at least
Overnight: Any of the villages and national parks are worth an overnight stay but our favourites are Swellendam and Witsand.
From the Swellengrebel Street entrance to Swellendam cross the N2 and take the gravel road to the Bontebok National Park. You will start to see bontebok almost immediately. The park can get incredibly hot during summer, so start early.
Leave the park by the same route to the N2 and take a left. You will cross the Breede River. Just beyond the bridge take a left for Malgas and Infanta (gravel road) past the beautiful scenery of the Overberg's rolling wheat fields.
Around 22 km after turning off the N2 take a right for the little village of Ouplaas and De Hoop.
Another 13 km will bring you to a t-junction at which you take a right, past Ouplaas and a little later take a left to De Hoop Nature Reserve.
You approach De Hoop from a slight rise and are able to see right across the reserve, on a clear day, virtually to the beach. Pay the reserve entrance fee and then park at rerception. There is a lovely walk along the vlei towards the sea, or a walk along the beach on either side of Koppie Alleen (a 14 km drive from reception – great for seeing whales in season!).
There are places to have a picnic in the reserve, or lunch at the restaurant.
Leave the reserve and head to Witsand via the famous Malgas Pont (the only hand-drawn pont of its kind in the country). Turn right at the t-junction after leaving the reserve. Pass Ouplaas and the road you took from Swellendam on your left.
A little further along take a left for Malgas and Infanta.
You now head to the Malgas pont to cross the Breede River. At a t-junction take a right, and a little way along a left for Malgas. Cross the river on the pont.
On the opposite bank after about 3 km, take a right for Heidelberg. 3.7 km later another right and then at the intersection with the R324, another right. The R324 will take you all the way to Witsand, one of the best places along the coast to see whales, particularly from the beach restaurant, which has a telescope in place on its flat roof.
To head back, retrace your route to the junction 3 km before the pont, swing right and head back to Swellendam until you intersect with the N2.