The small town of Swellendam, is located at the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountains, on the N2 approximately 220 kms from the city of Cape Town making it the ideal destination for a weekend getaway and close enough for tourists to visit. Known as South Africa’s 3rd oldest town, Swellendam is home to over 50 provincial heritage sites (most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture) which still stand to this day. Swellendam is also a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers looking for some scenic trails to try out and is surrounded by three nature reserves.
Interesting Places In Swellendam
Bontebok National Park
Bontebok National Park is a place of simplistic beauty and peaceful charm. The majestic Langeberg Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for this Park of colorful riches. The perfect place for a day visit with the family or friends, when in the surrounding area of Swellendam and surrounding towns. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Breede River, or braai at one of the designated braai spots, or Die Stroom function centre, also on the banks of the Breede. Other activities include game drives and bird viewing
Marloth Nature Reserve
Marloth Nature Reserve is hidden away in the imposing 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.
Marloth Nature Reserve is named after the pioneer botanist who, together with a deputation of Swellendam residents, petitioned the Minister of Lands and Forestry in 1928 to set aside part of the mountain as a nature reserve. During 1981, the reserve was enlarged to include the rest of the State Forest and the Swellendam hiking trail was opened. The reserve’s vegetation is predominantly mountain fynbos, with patches of forest. There are several species of protea and more than 25 species of erica, most of which flower in November. Marloth, like the rest of the southern Cape, has hot summers and cold winters. The higher mountain peaks are occasionally dusted in snow during the cold winter months.
The Drostdy 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. The first Landdrost to be appointed to this district was Johannes Theophilus Rhenius and he was assisted by a board of burger heemraden and subordinates like secretary and a gaoler as well as many slaves. From 1827 the Drostdy was occupied by the civil commissioner who, with the resident magistrate, replaced the board of Landdrost and heemraden when they were abolished by the British colonial government. 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.
Activities In Swellendam
Swellendam is the ultimate gateway to several surrounding wine farms located in the Overberg. Some of these wine farms are:
- Sijnn Wines (Malgas)
- Joubert-Tradauw (Barrydale)
- Van Loveren (Robertson)
- Zandvliet (Robertson)
*Wine tours can be arranged with prior notice.
Are you training for a race like the Trans Baviaans or just looking for an Epic adventure? Then Swellendam is the perfect place to start your journey. The network of dirt roads used by local mountain bikers are endless and have resulted in great ABSA Cape Epic, Attakwas and Trans Baviaans results. With the cost of stage races and difficulty to get an entry, you might want to build your own personalized stage race, the benefit being that you can decide the distance traveled each day, how many days and the cost of accommodation. The relation between distance traveled and wine consumed will also differ from one rider to the next.
Swellendam’s 9 hole, par 72 golf course is unique in it’s beautiful setting – nestling at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg mountains, with views overlooking the town, surrounding farms and the Hermitage Valley. Open to the public 7 days a week, this club welcomes visitors local and abroad. The clubhouse is manned daily from 08h00 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. The course was founded in 1947, and with permanent irrigation and proper tending, it has become a jewel in the Western Cape.
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