Nestling at the foot of the picturesque Langeberg
Mountains, Swellendam has much to offer visitors who have an interest
in history, nature and outdoor activities. Situated on the N2,
approximately 240 km from both Cape Town and George, Swellendam
is the perfect choice for a halfway stopover or as a base from
which to explore the area.
In addition to serving its local and surrounding community, Swellendam
glories in its past by continuing to offer travellers the services
they require for rest and relaxation on their travels.
Swellendam offers a variety of accommodation to suite every taste.
This range includes hotels, luxury guest houses, Bed and Breakfast
establishments, chalets, caravan and camping facilities as well
as self-catering cottages on farms in the area.
Details can be obtained from the Swellendam Tourism Bureau +27-291-
The first known sketch of Swellendam was of the Drostdy, by Johannes
Schumacher in 1776, when he accompanied the son of Governor Swellengrebel
to the town.
Swellendam has been an important travel centre for centuries.
Early travellers and explorers who visited the Cape in the 1500's
traded with the Khoikhoi people who lived on these shores. When
the Dutch East India Company established a refreshment centre
at the Cape in 1652, trade continued inland as far as Swellendam.
In 1743 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district, the third
oldest in South Africa. A landdrost was appointed and a Drostdy
and other buildings were erected. The district was named after
Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel and his wife, Ten Damme.
In 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 service
of these village folk were indispensable, as Swellendam was the
last outpost of civilization on the eastern frontier.
By the middle of the 19th century, the eastern districts had
been colonized by British settlers and Swellendam was a thriving
metropolis. The town served as a useful refreshment station on
the long, slow journey up the coast.
The hand-drawn pontoon over the Breede River at Malgas, 40km
Swellendam, is believed to be the last remaining pont in South
Africa. It operates everyday during daylight hours.
This old mission village, near the foot of the Tradouw Pass,
lies in a picturesque valley 25km beyond Swellendam and dates
A 315m high mountain pass of great scenic splendour and well
worth a visit.
All the usual sporting facilities are available and visitors
are welcome to join the members at the various clubs. In addition,
horse-riding, canoeing and other water sports can be arranged.
There are also mountain bike trails in the area and bikes are
available for hire.
Hermitage Liquor Farm
Swellendam is the largest Youngberry growing area in the country
and a farm just 3km out of town may be visited for liqueur tasting.
Other Youngberry products are also for sale. Call Kosie or Natalie
van Zyl at
Several well-known artists have settled in Swellendam and their
studios may be visited.
Swellendam Publicity Association
Oefeningshuis, Voortrek Street, Swellendam
P.O. Box 369, Swellendam, South Africa, 6740