Focus on Swellendam, Western Cape, South Africa

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- 42770


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 from
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 from 1812.

Tradouw Pass

A 315m high mountain pass of great scenic splendour and well worth a visit.

Outdoor Activities

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
Tel +27-291-43132

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

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