Swellendam Countryside

Travel to Swellendam – One of the Oldest European Settlements in South Africa

Swellendam is the third oldest place of European settlement in South Africa after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. This small town lies at the foot of the beautiful Langeberg mountains, about 220 kilometres from both Cape Town and George.

Swelldam was founded in 1745 by the Dutch East India Company, and named after the governor of the Cape and his wife, Hendrik Swellengrebel and Helena Ten Damme. In that time, a village was established opposite the Drostdy, across the Koornlands River, where artisans, including numerous wainwrights, and traders settled. To travellers and explorers, the services of these village folk were indispensable as Swellendam was the last outpost of civilisation on the eastern frontier.

By the middle of the 19th century, British settlers colonised the eastern districts making of Swellendam a thriving metropolis. The town served as a useful refreshment station on the long, slow journey up the coast. Today, Swellendam is a flourishing agricultural area.

Major landmarks in Swellendam are the Drostdy Museum, the Marloth Nature Reserve, the Sulina Faerie Sanctuary, and the Bontebok National Park.

Travellers can also visit the Hermitage Liqueur Farm only 3 kilometres out of town, where they can sample some of the liqueur made from youngberries.

Travellers to Swellendam will certainly enjoy hiking on trails that go through the gorgeous Marloth Nature Reserve which offers hikes of all lengths and difficulty levels. There is also a charming caravan park on the banks of the Breede River where you can swim, fish, raft, cruise, canoe, or simply picnic. Other activities are waterskiing, motor glider fights, 4×4 trails and horse trails.

Relax in one of the many restaurants and bars that line the streets here or by soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the scenery in one of the beautiful nature reserves and national parks.

There is a minibus stand on Voortrek street behind the SPAR supermarket, however, this is the only public transport in the town. The town is small enough though that it is easily navigable by foot.

  • Explore stunning national parks and nature reserves.
  • Get a cultural fix at the museum.
  • Sample the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants that line the town’s streets.


Africa Travel Information