What to do in Swellendam?
Interesting facts about Swellendam
- Swellendam is the third oldest magistrate district in South Africa, Cape Town being the oldest!
- It was voted the best municipality in the country in 2016.
- The town has over 50 heritage sites, including De Oude Pastorie.
- In 1743 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district and was named after Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel, the first South African born Governor, and his wife, Helena Ten Damme.
- Some of the well known families that settled in the region and have stayed for decades are the Barry family, the Moodies from Scotland, the Steyns, the Streicher family, the van Eedens, the Rothmanns, the Tomlinson and the Dunn family.
- Swellendam was the last outpost of Dutch civilisation on the eastern frontier and thus the services of the residents of the town were of utmost importance
- The region has a predominantly Mediterranean climate.
- The area is botanically diverse with an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos.
- Wildlife such as the formerly endangered bontebok and Cape mountain zebra inhabit the area. Other species include bushbuck, klipspringer, grey rhebuck, Cape grysbok, baboon, mongoose, genet and the occasional leopard, as well as a species of ghost frog and a unique forest emperor butterfly.
- Over 200 bird species found near the town include waterfowl, the crowned eagle, black eagle, Narina trogon, paradise flycatcher and the Knysna woodpecker.
Marloth Nature Reserve
Marloth Nature Reserve is a hidden gem in the majestic Swellendam Mountains.
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.
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.
Swellendam Golf Course
This golf course was designed and built by Ken Elkin just after World War Two and is rated as one of the top nine hole golf courses in the country. Swellendam's par 72 golf course is nestled at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg mountains, with views overlooking the town, surrounding farms and the Hermitage Valley. There is a good variety of difficulty, which offers a true test for all levels of golfers.
Open to the public 7 days a week, this club welcomes visitors local and abroad. The clubhouse is manned daily from 07h30 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. With permanent irrigation and proper tending, it has become a jewel in the Western Cape with bent grass greens.
Come and enjoy our unforgettable hospitality. We have low green fees, great accommodation and lots of other activities for the rest of the family.
(extract from The Good Life in Swellendam)
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.
Dutch Reformed Church
The corner-stone of this building was laid on 25 November 1910. The church with its diversity of architectural syles was officially inaugurated on 10 June 1911 by Prof. C F J Muller.
Field & Fork Restaurant Bistro
The passion and attention to detail of Chef Francois du Rand makes this a dining experience not to be missed. Combining modern fare with panache and believing in the culinary vision of bringing locally sourced quality produce from the field to your table, adds to the culinary experience.
Field & Fork is located in Swellendam’s heritage area and forms part of the Drostdy Museum. This building is one of the oldest in South Africa. If you like quality wine, you will not be disappointed.
Field and Fork
7 days a week, 362 days a year - 5pm for drinks and 6pm for dinner service
CLOSED: 24, 25 & 26 December
(extract from The Good Life in Swellendam)
Koornlands Restaurant is located in the historic Overberg town of Swellendam, roughly two hours’ drive from Cape Town. A range of excellent accommodation is available in the town and Swellendam is an excellent base from which to explore world-famous wine estates, our beautiful coastline and the Klein Karoo; all are within an hour’s drive from the town. Koornlands Restaurant is a comfortable 7-minute walk from De Oude Pastorie guesthouse.
About Your Chefs
We are Stephen and Marianne Altham, Chefs by nature not nurture. We possess very well-honed talent which was gained and refined in the restaurants which we have opened and run.
We began in 1995 with the restoration and conversion of the Rheenendal Water Mill into a fully functioning restaurant known as De Molen. This bistro style of operation served us well for almost six years, when we decided to open a full-service establishment: somewhere to show case our talents to a wider Swellendam.
Thus Koornlands Restaurant born with the concept of Cuisine Du Cap; a concept born from our visions of Cape Fusion Cuisine and enabled by the suppliers of excellent quality produce in our region. Over the next several years we served and delighted thousands of patrons at our restaurant until a terrible night when a fire destroyed the building, a national monument at 5 Voortrek St. To our dismay, the restaurant became homeless.
For a number of months we continued to serve our guests in the conservatory at Schoone Oordt Country House until we we able to re-establish ourselves. In June 2011, we purchased a historic property at 192 Voortrek St. After three months of major renovations to the building, we we finally able to re-open, this time in our own custom-renovated building.
After 15 years, the new Koornlands Restaurant is open, thanks to our patrons and the support of our community. Our new venture is our life. It is daunting. It is an adventure. It is undeniably and unceasingly satisfying.
Fifteen years on and fifteen years of excellent service.
(Extract from the Koornlands website)
Powell House restaurant
Powell House Restaurant is owned and run by Alan and Cheryl Caw in Swellendam South Africa. Alan is Scottish and takes care of the front of house. Cheryl is South African and works her magic in the kitchen. They draw on years of restaurant experience and have a very hands-on approach. A 2-minute walk from De Oude Pastorie guesthouse.
Rain Spa & Retail
We create handmade bath & body products and hand crafted home ware using natural ingredients with African origins.
Rain products are responsibly handmade with love and care for our customers, craftspeople and the environment.
RAINFOREST DAY SPA – SWELLENDAM
9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
9am to 4pm Saturdays
11am to 3pm Sundays
Bookings can be made on +27 (0)28 514 1737
Wildebraam Berry Estate
Come and join us on our berry estate where you will be warmly welcomed in our stunning valley just outside Swellendam, and overwhelmed by our gastronomic delights!! Our private cellar produces a range of delicious liqueurs including Youngberry, Honey, Aniseed, Rooibos, Peppermint, Lemon and Hazelnut. In addition , the farm kitchen produces a tempting array of liqueured fruits, jams, dessert syrups, chutneys, relishes, pickles and gifts which can all be sampled and purchased in the infamous “tasting room”.
It is so beautiful here you will be sorely tempted to pick your own berries in season and then relax with your picnic baskets just absorbing the countryside serenity.