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Swellendam really does have something to suit all tastes. For nature-lovers and hikers, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Cape Agulhas – the Southern-most tip of Africa – and Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve are a short drive away. Barrydale and Montagu are an easy drive away, whilst Swellendam itself hosts a selection of country culinary delights. Finally, for the child in all of us, the world-renowned Faerie Sanctuary cannot be missed.
Early travellers and explorers who visited the Cape in the 1500s traded with the Khoikhoi people who lived there. When the Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station at the Cape, trade continued as far inland as Swellendam, setting the foundations for an important travel centre that has continued for centuries.
After Cape Town and Stellenbosch, Swellendam was the third settlement to be founded in South Africa by the Dutch East India Company. In 1745 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district. The district was given its name in 1747 in honour of governor Hendrik Swellengrebel and his wife Helena Ten Damme. In 1795 the burghers of Swellendam rejected the increasingly incompetent rule of the Dutch East India Company and declared themselves an independent republic. This lasted only a few months until the British took over the Cape and re-instated the Landdrost.
Central to a thriving agricultural district, Swellendam continues to be a bustling country town. Wheat, wool, canola and young berries are the predominant crops, whilst tourism continues to grow. More and more travellers are choosing to stop over in Swellendam on their way through the glorious and diverse Garden Route. This lush little town is a welcome peaceful stop after the buzz of Cape Town and the perfect place from which to explore the Overberg and surrounding winelands.
Swellendam really does have something to suit all tastes. For nature-lovers and hikers, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Cape Agulhas – the Southern-most tip of Africa – and Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve are a short drive away. The Marloth Nature Reserve and Bontebok Park are virtually on the doorstep! Visit Cape Nature for more information on these and other parks.
For golfers, there’s the beautiful nine-hole golf course overlooking the Hermitage Valley. For the more adventurous, kayaking on the breathtaking Buffeljags Dam or exploring the magnificent Langeberg Mountains on horseback is a must. Get down to earth and experience picking (and eating) your own berries or tasting delicious berry liqueurs, jams and other products at a working youngberry farm in the Valley. For the slightly more hedonistic, the renowned wine estates of Robertson, Barrydale and Montagu are an easy drive away, whilst Swellendam itself hosts a selection of country culinary delights. Finally, for the child in all of us, the world-renowned Faerie Sanctuary cannot be missed.