Visit Swellendam in South Africa: the complete guide
Swellendam is a small town in South Africa. Located only 2h30 from Cape Town, this city is worth the detour. Its popularity has only increased over the years. It comes alive every weekend with the arrival of South African tourists. The charm of these mountains and its peaceful life attract urban populations in need of calm and nature. It is also the ideal stage for holidaymakers traveling to Plettenberg Bay from Cape Town. Indeed, the city is located halfway and allows to divide in two the 6h journey. In this guide you will find all the information you need to discover Swellendam. We tell you the best things to do, where to eat and where to sleep. The city has no beaches or seaside but you will appreciate, among other things, the many hikes in superb national parks. This article will help you visit Swellendam in South Africa like a local whether you stay for one night, a weekend or 3 days.
What to do when visiting Swellendam: our favorite things to do
You can visit Swellendam in South Africa in one day. But to really relax, we recommend staying 3 days. The first thing to do is to visit the main street of Swellendam. You will be greeted by rows of old oak trees and plenty of shops selling local produce. We particularly liked 'Bee things'. They sell honey and a multitude of derivative products such as creams or candles. You can taste many different honeys but especially the famous fynbos honey only produced in South Africa. Take a trip to 'The Country Deli' if you want to buy other local products. They have fresh bread, biltong and good coffee!
You can extend your walk by visiting the stunning Swellendam Church. You can also learn about the city's history at the Drostdy Museum.
If you are staying in Swellendam for a few days, then you have to hike in the surrounding mountains. The Marloth Nature Reserve has many walking and mountain biking trails. You just have to choose the distance adapted to your physical form. The second park in the region is Bontebok National Park. You won't see the 'BIG 5' there but it will allow you to see many different gazelle species.
NB: if you visit Swellendam for a weekend, we recommend the 'Under The Oaks' market. It takes place every Saturday morning just behind the GRACE + MERCY restaurant. You will find many local artisans there.
Visiting Swellendam in South Africa: Where to eat in this city?
Swellendam has many restaurants. To help you choose, we've made a selection of the best places to eat.
GRACE+MERCI: the best restaurant in Swellendam with fresh, seasonal and organic products
We fell in love with GRACE+THANK YOU. This Swellendam restaurant offers quality breakfasts and lunches. Here, the dishes are cooked with local and seasonal products. You won't find coca cola or industrial chickens on the menu! Everything is delicious. We did not hesitate to refill twice.
The Republic: Swellendam's best restaurant for a convivial dinner.
The Republic is the perfect place for a burger or a pizza. They also have some South African dishes, a selection of craft beers and even a tasting of local gins. The atmosphere is very nice in the evening. We reserved a table on the terrace under the oaks and we enjoyed it.
Swellendam's 4 high-end restaurants for a romantic dinner
There are four gourmet restaurants in Swellendam. They are ideal if you want to eat more refined dishes than a burger or a pizza. Drostdy has a wonderful view of the mountains. Koornlands specializes in Cape cuisine. La Sosta is owned by an Italian chef. And 'Field and Fork' is located in one of the oldest buildings in South Africa!
Visiting Swellendam in South Africa: Where to sleep in this city?
Visit Swellendam in South Africa is very simple. Indeed, the city offers a wide choice of B&Bs. But if we had to choose only one accommodation, then we recommend Arumvale Country House. Our room was very comfortable and tastefully decorated.
It was also very functional with a fireplace, a living room and even a kitchen. Everything was very clean and we had a good night's rest. But the surprise is when you wake up! The view of the mountains is incredible. The panorama is sublime from the bedroom terrace.
If you stay for the weekend, you can enjoy the garden and the magnificent swimming pool. Also the hosts are extremely friendly. As a bonus, breakfast is served at GRACE+MERCI: our favorite restaurant!Check availability
Our tips for a successful trip:
- Book your flight in advance to take advantage of the best prices
Airline ticket prices are cheaper when booked 6 to 3 months in advance. To be sure of getting the best price, we recommend using a flight comparator such as Skyscanner.
- Book your accommodation before departure to have access to the best offers
You will always find a room at the last minute, but the best located accommodations are necessarily those that are always full. That's why it's best to book your accommodations as soon as possible. We recommend going through Agoda which offers the best prices. In addition, this site allows you to be easily reimbursed in the event of cancellation.
- Skip the line to visit the most popular attractions
By booking your excursions in advance on Civitatis, you do not queue on site to get your tickets. Less time waiting = more time enjoying your vacation! Plus, their guided tours ensure you have a knowledgeable guide who speaks your language.
- Use a comparator to find a rental car at the lowest price
Save yourself hours of research with rentalcar.com. This comparator is the best way to find rental cars at the lowest prices.
- Don't leave without travel insurance
For us, it is unimaginable to leave without travel insurance. We recommend the one proposed by AXIS. This is the best guaranteed way to leave with peace of mind. However, consider taking out additional specialized insurance for activities not covered (such as skiing or scuba diving).
- Want more information about your destination?
Do not hesitate to complete the information present on this blog with a travel Guide. You can take it in your luggage and refer to it throughout your vacation.