Activities - Things to do during your stay in Swellendam
Swellendam is so much more than a stop-over! There are guided walks, mountain-bike trails, berry-picking, wine farms, unique shops, world-class restaurants, historic buildings and our museum to name but a few. You have to experience it.
What to do in 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 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.
Marloth is a photographer's paradise and extremely popular with hikers and mountain bikers.
La Sosta has been serving excellent cuisine since 2006 and is rated the top the restaurant in Swellendam by TripAdvisor. La Sosta is also ranked 2nd in the Overberg Region and 10th in the entire Western Cape by TripAdvisor. In 2014 La Sosta won the EAT OUT Award as " THE BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT " in South Africa, which is an amazing achievement for a restaurant located in a small country town.
1 November 2017 saw the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the life of La Sosta Restaurant when the restaurant was sold. As before, it is still family owned and run and the goal is to continue to develop La Sosta to be an even better restaurant than it was. Nina and Salvatore Branda, the new chefs have already been praised for their delicious and beautiful dishes, by everyone who has eaten in the restaurant, since it reopened.
La Sosta still offers three different menus
"THE LAND " (emphasis on meat)
" THE SEA " (emphasis on fish)
" THE GARDEN " (Vegetarian)
You may choose dishes from all three menus for example the starter from the Garden menu, the first course from the Sea menu and the main course from the Land Menu. Menus change from time to time and will follow the seasons to guarantee the best seasonal, organic and local ingredients for our guests. To compliment our food, we have a comprehensive wine list, offering an extensive selection from across the Cape including some imported wines from Italy to suit our dishes.
We also have a good selection of other refreshments, giving diners a wide choice of drinks to enjoy before, with and after their meals. La Sosta also offers a free 'taxi' service, which will collect you at your guesthouse, bring you to La Sosta and then take you back after spending the evening with us. Please make use of this service, as it makes your evening completely stress free, allowing you to really enjoy yourself.
We invite you to make a booking and come and enjoy dinner the 'La Sosta' way. You will have a great culinary experience and a most enjoyable evening.
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.
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.
(Extract from the Koornlands website)
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, marmalades, 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.
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)
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.
The passion and attention to detail of owner and chef Francois du Rand and his excellent team 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. And of you enjoy the finest of quality wine, you will not be disappointed.
Field and Fork
7 days a week, 362 days a year - 6pm for dinner service
CLOSED: 24, 25 & 26 December
(extract from The Good Life in Swellendam)
Christelle's is a French-style bistro with a mouth-watering menu. Chef Josh (formerly of Just Amy's at Jan Harmsgat) and his beautiful Christelle will host the perfect dining experience for you: whether you sit inside in their cosy restaurant with the Eiffel looming over you, or outside in their sunny garden.