Sheltered by the Langeberg Mountains and surrounded by wheat fields, Swellendam is known for being the perfect base for exploring the Little Karoo. As part of the Garden Route, you’ll know that the views and the scenery are amazing. Swellendam was first established in 1745, so it’s one of the oldest towns in South Africa. Remnants of the old Cape Dutch architecture are scattered throughout the main town. This beautiful streetscape lined with tall oak trees is guaranteed to take your breath away.
The best way to see Swellendam is from the mountains. Go trekking through the Marloth Nature Reserve, the Bontebok and De Hoop Nature Reserve. The latter is a great day-trip and one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching. You might also see a few land mammals braving the sand dunes, including zebras, bonteboks and antelopes.
A big draw to Swellendam is the vineyards. The fertile soils at the foot of the mountains are perfect for growing grapes. Try the wine routes at the Breede River Valley, Montague or the Klein Karoo. During your stay, you should also take part in some of the outdoor activities. Canoeing, water-skiing, mountain biking and horse trails are all popular pastimes. You could also try the golf course for something a little more peaceful.
You should really take the time to visit the Drostdy Museum during your stay. It was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1747, to be the official headquarters for the Landdrost. Soon after this place was built, many more official buildings started popping up. This was when Swellendam really started becoming a town. The museum outlines this growth and will transport you back to 18th-century South Africa (but with air conditioning). You’ll learn about the area’s tumultuous history which includes the British taking over the area. It also has amazing gardens, so don’t miss those.
Swellendam is often the first stop on a Garden Route tour. This peaceful spot will ease you into the Overberg, and the smell of the fynbos will calm you and prepare you for your journey. From here you can go on to explore areas like the Whale Coast, Cape Town and Hermanus. Use Swellendam as a starting point for your South African adventure.
Plan your trip to Swellendam today.