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Swellendam (pop. 35.000) is in the Western Cape region of South Africa. It`s one of the oldest European settlements in South Africa and offers some fine examples of Dutch-Cape architecture. The tourist office is in the old mission at Voortrek Street (mon-fr 9am to 5pm). - Local area code: 028; Postcode 6740

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

It will take about 2-3 hours on the N2 to reach Swellendam by car from Cape Town (240km).

By bus[edit]

The major companies serve Swellendam on their run from Cape Town to the Garden route but the service isn`t very extensive. Swellendam is also served by the Baz Bus on it`s way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

By plane/ rail[edit]

There is no airport nor rail to Swellendam

Get around[edit]

The town is so small that it`s best viewed while walking through the streets. There is no public transport in the town except for the minibuses. The minibus stand is on Voortrek street behind the SPAR supermarket. There are now mountain bikes available to hire from the Tourism Office, an affordable and easy way to see the town.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Drostdy: the former magistrate`s seat was built in 1747 and now houses a museum. It is a fine example of Cape-Dutch architecture.
  • Bontebok National Park: A few kilometres out of town, this park offers nice scenery. Worth a day of hiking and a viewing of the flora and fauna.
  • Marloth Nature Reserve: On the southern slopes of the Langeberg Mountains offers an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos, as well as some hiking trails.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Visit the museum and then go for Bontebok National Park. For those with more time hiking in the Marloth nature reserve is worth a thought.
  • Stock up on groceries from one of the supermarkets along the main road, if you are headed for De Hoop nature reserve.
  • Things to do in Swellendam As one of the oldest towns in South Africa, Swellendam is well known for its many historical buildings and rich history. In particular, the town’s well-preserved Cape Dutch vernacular buildings give an insight into the area’s colonial past. However, the area’s history is also made up of centuries of human settlement before the arrival of the Dutch in Cape Town in the mid-1700s. The names given to places in the area also reflect the history of South Africa’s indigenous history in particular the Khoi and San people, who were also an integral element of the development of the present day community. The Drostdy Museum complex is made up of several buildings which reflect this history and can be visited throughout the year to learn more about Swellendam’s unique history. History of Swellendam</do>

Eat[edit][add listing]

Several restaurants line the main street.

  • Mattsen`s Steakhouse, 44 Voortrek St. Popular not only for its steaks
  • Fynbus Tours, Bontebok Tourist Centre (23 Swellengrebel St, opposite Drostdy Museum Shop), +27(0)83 621 8503 (Peter), [1]. Guided Tours from Swellendam: Game Viewing, Birding and Bush Walks at Bontebok National Park, Whale watching (June to November) at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Wine Tasting and Exclusive Winemaker Tours at finest Wine Estates. Adventure Sports, Arts and Culture, Tailored Personal Tours & Airport Transfers available on request. Five star service from Professional Field Guide & Luxury Air-conditioned Vehicle ensure a comfortable, exciting and memorable experience. See website or email for details.  edit
  • Kunstehuijs Fine Art Gallery, 19 Swellengrebel str, 0285142905, [2]. Kunstehuijs Fine Art Gallery, specializing in original art by prominent South African artists. The owner, Grady Zeeman, well-known for her emotional and humanitarian paintings, has participated in numerous exhibitions in USA, UK, Italy, France and China.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Old Mill, 241 Voortrek Str, + 27 (0)28 514-2790, [3]. Traditional South African cooking served in warm, rustic surroundings. Lovely, large patio area under vines for warm, balmy summer evenings. Great food, great atmosphere and friendly staff.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000


  • Swellendam Backpackers Adventure Lodge, 5 Lichtenstein Street, +27 (0)28 514-2648 (), [4]. Offers adventure and accommodation. Camping with own tent R80pp, safari tent R100pp. Dormbed R130pp, double room, standard and ensuite R350 and selfcatering cottage from R400..  edit


  • African Shades Guesthouse, 11-13 Swellengrebelstreet, +27 (0)28 514-2944 (), [5]. R295 - R380pps.  edit
  • Braeside Bed & Breakfast, 13 Van Oudtshoornweg, +27 (0)28 514-3325 (), [6]. A very nice Cape Edwardian building, enjoy the breakfast on the terrace. From R250 pps.  edit
  • Heerden Huijs, 5 Swellengrebel Street, +27 (0)28 514-2841 (), [7]. Situated in the heart of Swellendam, offer the essence of hospitality. Although situated on the main road, the rooms are quiet and cool. Within walking distance of the historical sites and restaurants. Enjoy a scruptious breakfast either in the dining room or on the patio besides the pool. Dinner/braai (barbeque) by prior arrangement. Rates are R275pps, single on request..  edit
  • Swellendam Country Lodge Guest House B&B, 237 Voortrek Street, +27 (0)28 514-3629 (), [8]. 4 stars (Tourism Grading Council of South Africa). The Guest House itself has a unique atmosphere, the stylish characteristic interior is a combination of classic charm and modern style. The guest rooms are situated in a beautiful landscaped garden where you will enjoy the wide range of birds, trees, fruit and flowers. On warm summer days, the large sparkling swimming pool is a refreshment not to be missed. Off street parking. English, Afrikaans, Deutsch, Nederlands spoken. From R360pps.  edit


  • Bloomestate Luxury Retreat Guesthouse, 276 Voortrek Street, +27 (0)28 514-2984 (), [9]. For lovers of style, modern design, beautiful surroundings and the finer things in life, Bloomestate will be your retreat of choice. On an estate of 2,5 ha, this guesthouse has seven stylish modern gardenrooms with large bathrooms. French doors open onto landscaped gardens with a tranguil dam, heated saltwater pool and mountain views. With a maximum of 14 guests, privacy, attentive service and supreme comfort are assured. The perfect hideaway to relax and unwind. Lounge area with open air Jacuzzi, conference facilities in the lounge. Stroll to restaurants, small platters on request. Wine estates and nature reserves nearby. From R575pps.  edit
  • Schoone Oordt Country House, 1 Swellengrebel St Swellendam (The N2 from Cape Town or Mossel Bay/George: 1. Take the Swellendam East turn-off. 2. Drive back downhill, through the 3-way stop. 3. Just after the Koornlands River Bridge, turn immediately right. 4. Turn before the grass verge with Swellendam written in white brick on it. 5. Schoone Oordt Country House is on the right.), 028 514 1248, [10]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. A beautifully restored gracious homestead with 10 luxurious rooms set in well kept gardens, an intimate Conservatory Restaurant serving delicious breakfasts and dinners, a sparkling saltwater pool and a passion for people, family, food, wine and the environment. The emphasis here is on unpretentious and unaffected luxury, elegance, quality and love. R1450.00 per room. (34° 0' 59.2 S,20° 26' 59.9 E) edit

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