Nestling at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains,
Swellendam has much to offer visitors who have an interest
in history, nature and outdoor activities.
Situated on the N2, approximately 240km 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.
Rainfall is spread over the year (55% winter and
45% summer). There is little wind and temperatures
are moderate. There is no shortage of water and gardens
are lush and luxuriant. The cost of living is reasonable
and the town is clean and efficiently run.
The people are friendly and there is no political
strife with a virtual absence of serious crime.
5 Fun Day Trips around Swellendam!
map of 5 different
day trips you can take when you stay in
• Things to do in and around Swellendam
• A Karoo route, including Suurbraak,
the Tradouw Pass and Barrydale
• Various routes to include the
• Wine & fruit growing route
the map here
Local historical buildings in Swellendam
The third oldest town in South Africa, the shady
oak-lined streets of Swellendam seem to groan with
Visit the Drostdy Museum, the old Gaol, the intricately
built Dutch Reformed church that acts as a focal point
of the town alongside a clutch of other historical
national monuments - and all within just a few minutes'
walk from the Hideaway.
See our page about Swellendam's
See more detail of
things to do in Swellendam itself
Marloth Nature Reserve
Just minutes from Swellendam, the wonderfully peaceful
Marloth Nature Reserve boasts magical walks to waterfalls,
indigenous forest and even allows you to go to the
top of the majestic Langeberg Mountains which tower
the Marloth Nature Reserve website
The coast just a short drive from Swellendam is one
of - if not the - world's most famous whale watching
From De Hoop to Witsand you can watch the once almost
extinct Southern right whales breaching and splashing
just a pebble's throw from the shore.
The months of September, October and November are
the best whale watching months, but you are almost
guaranteed of seeing whales throughout the winter.
Visit the coastal town of Hermanus (only one hour
and forty five minutes away).
Go Whale watching between August and November and
watch out for the town's "Whale Crier" who, with the
aid of a dried kelp horn, broadcasts the location
of the latest sightings, or take a stroll on the sandy
Betties Bay and beyond
On the R44 from Hermanus to Gordon's Bay lies the
Kogelberg Nature Reserve which has more plant species
per hectare than any other place on earth.
Many of these are spectacularly beautiful and extremely
rare. Ask Stephen or Jackie to guide you to the best,
and surely most generous, fish and chip lunch you'll
ever have - a bustling, ramshackle corrugated iron
restaurant called Hook Line and Sinker hidden away
from the tourist spots in Pringles Bay.
Enjoy a round on the beautiful Swellendam Golf Course.
As one guest recently commented, "the golf was spoilt
a bit by the magnificent views".
De Hoop Nature reserve
The Marine Nature Reserve at de Hoop is one of the
best places in the world to view the Southern Right
Whale, some 40% of the population of which come to
de Hoop’s 23,000 hectare coastal reserve.
On land, the reserve is home to 86 mammal species
including the occasional leopard, 1500 plant species,
of which 108 are rare or threatened and more than
250 species of resident and migratory birds.
De Hoop has something to offer all manner of nature
lovers, its 70km of rugged coastline and sheltered
rock pools provide ideal swimming in addition to land
based whale viewing.
Visitors can choose from a range of hiking and mountain
biking trails, as well as guided interpretative fynbos
and rock pool walks and birding excursions.
You can also cross the Breede River with the last
hand operated ferry in Africa (Malgas)
the De Hoop Nature Reserve website
Bontebok National Park
This 8000 hectare national park is home to the threatened
Cape Mountain Zebra and Bontebok.
It boasts 196 different birds and 490 different plant
species. The plants and flowers are at their best
Enjoy a walk in the park, or as a guest of the Hideaway,
you're offered a special tour around the Bontebok
National Park with our previous owner Adin
Greaves - who's written a book on the Park - at a
the Bontebok National Park website
The Breede River Valley Wine Route
A few kilometres from Swellendam, a turning off the
R60 takes you towards Bonnievale and through the beautiful
Breede river valley, which is dotted with vineyards
and tasting rooms.
Some have restaurants and there is even the opportunity
to have a picnic by the banks of the river or on a
short river cruise.
Longer boat trips are available with opportunities
for swimming, bass fishing and bird watching from
the boat, followed by a picnic or a braai in a delightful
spot under the blue gum trees by the river. Please
ask Stephen or Jackie for more details.
Van Loveren Tasting Garden
Relax and enjoy wine tasting in a beautiful, shady
garden with a history of its own (including a bubbling
Van Loveren produces 23 different wines in its modern
It has a range of cultivars that has married well
to this fertile valley with its robust undertone of
The southernmost town in Africa and the closest point
to where the Indian and Atlantic oceans officially
meet. L'Agulhas means needles in Portuguese.
This refers to the jagged rocks which claimed many
ships due to the fact that the compass shows no magnetic
deviation at this spot which led to fatal navigational
Visit the Shipwreck museum and the Agulhas National
Park with more than 1750 botanical species and a coastline
supporting breeding sites for many rare birds such
as the African Black Oyster Catcher.
The Fynbos Road
Fynbos is the natural vegetation occurring in the
The Fynbos Road stretches for 100 kilometres from
Agulhas National Park to the birding hotspot of Stanford,
circumventing urban areas and meandering through peaceful
The historic village of Elim situated halfway between
Bredasdorp and Gaansbaai was founded by Moravian missionaries
in 1824 and has been declared a National Heritage
The vineyards of the Elim region on the Agulhas plain
stretch south east of the village on the Fynbos Road.
Its unique location has made it one of the newest
and yet most exciting wine producing areas in the
Established in 1838, Napier is a beautiful little town
that still retains much of its old world charm. It is
fast gaining a reputation as an artist's community playing
host to numerous cultural events. Along the main road
you will find a host of art galleries and collectors
shops including a toy museum.
Without a doubt, Montagu is the ultimate Breede river
valley destination and arriving there through the
Kogmanskloof gorge number among the most dramatic
arrivals in the country.
Montagu is best known for its hot springs, but serious
rock climbers come for its cliff faces which are regarded
as among the country’s most challenging.
If you don’t feel like climbing, you can still
reach the top of the Langeberg mountains on Wednesdays
and Saturdays on a highly recommended 3 hour tractor
ride from Protea Farm which can be booked for you
by Stephen or Jackie. The views can be stunning.
If you are after a simply beautiful drive through
rugged terrain then makes sure you take the 14 kilometre
long Tradouws Pass between Swellendam and Barrydale.
It is so craggy and arduous that you will wonder
how the pass originated. It was actually constructed
in 1873 by a large gang of prisoners.
It is a truly breath taking drive.
Fishing and the Breede river
Enjoy a day's fishing in the Breede river or simply
cruise past historical Infanta and one of the oldest
lighthouses on the coast.
Opportunities for river rafting also exist through
the faster flowing rapids areas. Learn about the local
bird population, fishing resources and whales.
The Breede river estuary fishing is, and has always
been, the best in South Africa. Please ask Stephen
or Jackie for more details.
Visit the beautiful, almost-deserted beaches of Infanta,
Witsand, Arniston and Struis Bay.