The small town of Swellendam, is located approximately half way between Cape Town and Mossel Bay on the N2 highway.You will know you are reaching the town when you pass over the Breederivier, and see the Ostrich processing facility on the right hand side, approaching from Cape Town.
To reach the main road of the town, lined with historic buildings, turn off the highway and travel a short distance along a minor road.
With a population in the region of 30 000, Swellendam offers small town hospitality, combined with many activities for the tourist, and is well worth a visit, even if one is only passing through. One of the most unique attractions in the town is the Sulina Faerie Sanctuary. An ideal family experience, this small piece of fantasy was the brain child of a recent settler to the town, who has created a magical, mystical haven for all things fairy.
A walk through the garden reveals scenes of fairies, elves and other mythical beings that would take hours to view in its entirety, and which is only surpassed by a visit to the shop at the end of the trail, which is an indescribable treasure trove in itself.
Also ideal for the family is the farm stall and petting zoo located just off the N2 highway, where one can enjoy a leisurely farm breakfast, served on the lawn, while watching the kids play with chickens, pot bellied pigs, miniature goats, donkeys, turkeys and other tame farm animals.
Or for nature of a different sort, visit the Grootvadersbosch indigenous forest, which spans 250 hectares, or the nearby fishing village of Witsand, which offers some of the best whale watching in South Africa.
Being located at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, a major dairy producing region in the Cape, there is also a farm stall just outside town where one can sample and purchase the various cheeses and other products manufactured locally.
Swellendam is the third oldest Western settlement in South Africa, founded in 1745 by the Dutch East India Company, and being surpassed only by Cape Town and Stellenbosch, and, aside from a few concessions to modern living, one would be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped back in time.
For those wishing to experience more of the Swellendam town and regions history, a visit to the Drostdy Museum Complex is well worth it. Located in a complex of several historical buildings, originally constructed by the Dutch East India Company when the town was founded, the museum offers insight into life at that time, including furniture and other exhibits, as well as restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries.
Other towns worth visiting as you leave Swellendam, en route to the Garden Route and beyond are Suurbraak, originally a mission station established by the British in the 1800’s, Malagas, a coastal village reached by a hand drawn pontoon across the Breede River, Barrydale and Stormwvlei.
For such a small town, Swellendam is packed with both fascinating history, and unique activities, and is well worth a visit as one travels up the East Coast of the Western Cape.
When planning your trip to Swellendam, find a place to stay by viewing the Swellendam Accommodation options listed. Places in Swellendam ranges from the extremely luxurious to more modest B&B’s and Guest Houses and, for greater independence, consider the self catering options available.