Swellendam is a beautiful little town that, while small and quiet, offers tourists and local residents plenty to see and do during their time here. Whether you are interested in the historical sites, natural resources or adventure sports, Swellendam is the ideal escape from city life. There is a distinctive buzz and a sense of community that is established by the locals; who are made up of artists, musicians, authors and all who savour the beautiful things in life.
Within the immediate surrounds of Swellendam are the other little towns of Barrydale, Stormsvlei, and Malgas. Cape Town and all of its famous attractions, is about 240 kilometres away. The locals are friendly, and the whole town has an air of being peaceful and safe. Being situated at the foot of the beautiful Langeberg Mountain Range, the views are spectacular from just about anywhere.
Swellendam is known for its thriving hospitality industry. The cuisine is as varied as the folk themselves, and is of a very impressive quality. The nearby Winelands as well as a few local vineyards produce world-class wines to complement the savoury and sweet flavours produced by resident chefs. Visitors with a penchant for tasty wines and world-class vintages are advised to venture out on one of the local wine routes. Sample the wines, tour the cellars and the vineyards, and purchase bottles or cases of some of the country’s most delicious wines.
In terms of its historical value, Swellendam has a world of exciting things to see. It is known as the country’s third-oldest town. Its wide, spacious roads are lined with ancient oak trees, and the architecture reflects the style and elegance of yesteryear. These buildings line the main streets and dot the neighbourhoods, imparting a certain kind of grace that only comes from authenticity. Some of the best-loved of these historical buildings, which make for fabulous sights and memorable photographs, include the Drostdy Museum, the Dutch Reformed Church (famous for its ornate design), and the Gaol, where criminals of old were once incarcerated in squalid conditions.
Within a short drive from the town is the ocean that laps the coast of South Africa. Every year, between October and December, southern right whales frequent the coast. However, this entire stretch of coast is often visited by various other whale species, making it one of the most rewarding whale-watching sites in South Africa. Further inland, there is a fascinating array of birdlife, making for the ideal retreat for those that have an appreciation for the fauna and flora in South Africa. In fact, this region is also wonderful for those wanting to enjoy the colours and aromas of the fynbos, which is a hardy, endemic species of brushy vegetation. There are a number of national parks and reserves nearby for nature-lovers too. Game drives and self-guided trails are the perfect way to get the most out of the local countryside and the animals to which it is home. There are even some leopards that live in the scenic area around Swellendam.
Of course, while Swellendam offers so much, it is also the perfect place to enjoy the scenery, savouring the fresh air and sunshine, while doing very little else.