Per's Swellendam Diary
The Hideaway in Swellendam South Africa

Things to do in Swellendam town itself


Things to do in Swellendam - South Africa's third oldest town


The Drostdy Museum

Drosty Museum
Living history at the Drosty Museum

The Drostdy museum is a collection of buildings dating from the establishment of the Landrost or magistracy by the Cape Dutch East india Company in 1743. The buildings contain fine period furniture, pictures and also examples of the equipment and work of the wagon builders, smiths and slaves throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Visit the Drostdy Museum website

The Faerie Sanctuary

The enchanting Faerie Sanctuary in Swellendam is an absolute delight for youngsters (and the young at heart)
The Sulina Faerie Sanctuary is Swellendam's "special faerie and angel healing sanctuary" dedicated to the protection and preservation of all the positive energies of love, peace and light.

The Sanctuary is open from 0900 to 1630 Wednesdays to Sundays and every day during school holidays. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, for 10 days after the end of school holidays and for the month of June.

Weekday healing and meditational visits can be booked on request.

Visit the Faerie Sanctuary website


Wildebraam produces liqueurs, syrups & vinegar, jams and brandied fruits, relishes, chutneys , atchars & pickles, and corporate and wedding gifts at a beautiful farm on the edge of Swellendam.

They are open from 0800 - 1700 Monday to Friday and till 1600 on Saturday.

Visit the Wildebraam website

Rain Forest Spa

Step into our imaginary rain forest; a place of peace & relaxation, with an environment of care and nurturing. Experience the soothing and healing hands of our therapists in combination with the restorative and nourishing Rain Biologie product range - packed with antioxidants, omega oils, botanical extracts and actives. Combining science and nature together to restore and reboot your body and soul.

Contact +27 (0)28 514 1737, email or visit the website,

Koornlands Riding School

Dee Hazell offers show jumping, dressage, children's camps and much more.

Adult lessons and hacking in the foothills of the Langeberg mountains can be arranged on request.

Children's lessons are available from 1400 - 1800 Monday to Friday.

Contact: +27 (0)72 288 1028 or visit

Meisie Bokawana's Township Tours

Meisie Bokwana runs a great after school project for kids in Railton, and takes visitors on a fascinating tour on request. Please ask Jackie or Stephen for details.

Contact: +27 (0)84 775 1269

Arts and Crafts

  • The Bukkenburg pottery studio
    David Schlapobersky and Felicity Potter have been making pots together since 1973 and are well known for their wide range of high temperature reduction fired stoneware and porcelain. Using their own blends of clay and glazes prepared from local raw materials. They are happy to discuss and demonstrate their work and timeless tradition of handmade pottery. Their studio and showroom are open daily and visitors are welcome.
    Visit the Bukkenburg Pottery website

  • South African art at its finest at Kunste Huis

    Kunste Huis
    Kunste Huis fine art gallery has an excellent collection of the best of South African art available. Housed in a quaint house and set in a lovely garden this is a gem of a gallery with and intimate feel and a wide range of art by various top South African artists.
    Visit the Kunste Huis website

  • Nourish
    Nourish is a fantastic organic restaurant which has just opened up at 5 Swellengrebel Street.
    Contact: +27 (0)28 514 3957

  • Geoff and Louis welcome you to the Museum Shop
    Barry and Nephews Museum Shop
    Geoff and Louis have created a haven of interior design, fabrics, gifts and curios all made in Swellendam in the museum shop. Swellengrebel Street.
    Contact: +27 (0)83 228 1355

  • Natural Things
    Amazing things made from woven bamboo yarn. 5 Swellengrebel Street.
    Contact: +27 (0)28 514 3957


Swellendam's 9 hole, par 72 golf course is unique in its beautiful setting - nestling at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg mountains. The clubhouse is open from 0800 to 1900 daily, except on Sundays when the hours are shorter.

Visit the Swellendam Golf Course website

The Marloth Nature Reserve

A tranquil waterfall and plunge pool at Marloth
A wilderness area of 14,123 hectares just outside Swellendam with opportunities for walks and serious hikes with overnight camping in the Langeberg mountains.

Wildflowers, majestic mountain views, many hiking trails, rock pools and waterfalls, rare birds and animals grace this sprawling national park.

Marloth Nature Reserve is named after the pioneer botanist who, together with a deputation of Swellendam residents in 1928 petitioned the Minister of Lands and Forestry to set aside part of the mountain as a nature reserve.

In 1981, the reserve was enlarged and the Swellendam Hiking Trail was opened.

Marloth Flower Route Trail distance: 5,5km (2,5 hours).
This easy hike begins and ends at the reserve office. The highlight is a section of about 2,5km that leads through rich protea and erica stands, that are very colourful in flower season. Along the way you will see small animals, Cape fynbos, patches of afromontane forest and birds.

Koloniesbos Trail distance: 6km (2,5 hours).
This fairly easy circular hike begins and ends at the reserve office. Along the way you can see small animals, Cape fynbos and birds. This circular route leads into Koloniesbos, an indigenous forest where you will find yellowwood, stinkwood and ironwood trees.

Tienuurkop Trail distance: 11,5km (6,5 hours).
This is a very difficult route. The linear circle route starts at the reserve office and leads to the peak of Tienuurkop and back. It leads through fynbos veld and patches of indigenous forest in the ravines. You are rewarded with views over Swellendam and the Ruensveld. Watch out for a diversity of birds and small animals.

Duiwelsbos Trail distance: 5km (2 hour).
This fairly easy hike begins and ends at the reserve office. The first 2km takes the hiker to the Duiwelsbos and then 1,5km leads into the indigenous forest and back. The trail turns at a small waterfall. Along the way you will see small animals, Cape fynbos, and birds. Fires are only permitted at demarcated sites.

Twaalfuurkop Trail distance: 8,5km (4 hours).
This strenuous and very difficult linear route starts at the reserve office and leads to the peak of Twaalfuurkop and back. It leads through fynbos veld and patches of indigenous forest in the ravines. You are rewarded with views over Swellendam and the Ruensveld. Hikers are rewarded with a diversity of birds and small animals.

Die Plaat Trail distance: 8,5km (4 hours), but different route options are available.
This easy route follows through patches of indigenous forest and fynbos veld, where you will be able to spot various small animals and birds.

Bontebok National Park

Click for a larger image
The rare bontebok
Photo: Jackie Young
Bontebok National Park is a place of simplistic beauty and peaceful charm. The majestic Langeberg Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for this Park of colourful riches. A part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, now heralded as a world heritage site, Bontebok National Park always offers something in bloom.

The Park is proud to promote its achievements in biodiversity conservation, from the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal Renosterveld to the namesake bontebok! Once these colourful antelope numbered a mere 17, and through effective management we are proud to affirm that the present world population amounts to around 3000. The Park offers much more for nature lovers, from a diversity of indigenous animal life to over 200 remarkable bird species.

The Breede River provides an idyllic western border to the park and offers guests scenery, bird watching, fishing, and a refreshing swimming spot. Visitors can also get a profound familiarity of the Park's endless sights and sounds while on one of the various hiking trails or on a winding bike trip. Furthermore, Bontebok provides its guests with an experience of South African culture.

Connect to the people of the past and learn about how the Khoisan lived and changed through local history. Come and enjoy all we have to offer, from adventure or a lazy day braai in a Park of natural and cultural tranquillity.

Visit the Bontebok National Park website

The Hideaway Bed & Breakfast in Swellendam

The Hideaway B&B is right in the middle of the old part of Swellendam and was itself built in the late 19th century.

The earliest photograph of the Hideaway dates back to 1902, but the house had been established for some time by then, judging by the size of the oak tree in the front garden.

Next door is the Bukkenberg pottery which was built by one of the oldest families in Swellendam, the Streichers, in the early 1890s.