Swellendam. More than just gables...
Swellendam makes not only an ideal stopover, but, due to its central position, is also a good base for tours to the surrounding nature reserves of De Hoop, Marloth or Bontebok National Park, all on the slopes of the Langeberg. This nature conservation area offers excellent hiking trails, ranging from day hikes to an 81km trail. Here are some ideas for those extra days.
Marloth Nature Reserve – 5km
Extending from the edge of Swellendam to the top of the majestic Langeberg Mountains, with beautiful walks to waterfalls through indigenous forest. At the Marloth Nature Reserve, you will see klipspringer, duiker, rhebok and leopard. The reserve boasts seven 1-day trails, all varying in difficulty, length and landscape. Let your imagination run rife and compose a tune or two during your day outings to consider the various possibilities on where the names of the trails come from.
Bontebok national park – 9km
Sheltered by the rugged bastion of the Langeberg Mountains and bordered to the south by the peaceful Breede River, Bontebok NP provides a refuge for not only bontebok, but also for other species such as Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest & grey rhebok. The park is situated within the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest, but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms.
Buffeljags Dam – 12km
Water sports are offered, plus day & sundowner cruises on the dam, fuffi (zip-line) slides, canoe and water-skiing.
Suurbraak – 21km
A village with fascinating origins, it is nestled among streams of running water and sheltered by giant oaks. It was established as a mission station in 1812 by the London Mission Society and later in 1875 was taken over by the ‘Algemeende Sending Kerk’ (General Mission Church). The buildings of the village tell the story of its history. The community’s residents live close to the land, using methods that evoke the past. The village is well worth visiting on day trips. The mountains are rich in fynbos and bird life, and cattle paths act as mountain trails for hikers and mountain bikers alike. Don’t forget ?to have refreshments at one of the local spots.
Stormsvlei – 39km
An old Inn, it now houses a hugely successful dried flower undertaking, restaurant, and wine shop. Protea and fynbos are dried and make wonderful gifts, which are light and do not take up too much luggage space.
Malgas – 44km
On the banks of the Breede (‘Wide’) River. The hand-operated pontoon over the river is believed to be the last remaining hand-drawn pont, or ferry, operating in South Africa. It operates every day during daylight hours.
Barrydale Via Tradouw – 45km
An awe-inspiring 315m high pass through to the Klein Karoo via the picturesque village of Suurbraak. Enjoy winetasting on a farm or do lunch in one of Barrydale’s finest.
Grootvadersbosch – 46km
To the east is the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, an indigenous forest ?that can be explored on foot ?or mountain bike.
De Hoop nature reserve – 48km
A day trip to the Indian Ocean in South Africa's most southerly nature reserve. Walk past 30m high sand dunes to wide unspoilt beaches and swim in sparkling clear rock pools. View zebras, bontebok and other game together with bird life along the riverside.
Montagu – 56km
This Karoo town enjoys 320 days of sunshine. Attractions include hot mineral springs and dried fruit and nut factory. For the more adventurous, rock climbing is available.
Robertson Wine Valley – 72km
Enjoy a drive through the wine and fruit farms of the Breede River appelation. This is the second most popular region in the winelands and part of Route 62. Founded in ?1853, the town has beautiful Victorian and Georgian homes. Around Robertson ?are stud farms, and orchards of deciduous fruit for export.
Witsand whales – 86km
At various locations with its magnificent ?white sands, hence the name. On a good ?day, a patient observer may see up to 70 capering whales. At the beach restaurant ?there is a telescope on the roof, a whale-watching platform that magnifies the whales up to 10 times. The platform is a perfect ?place from which to view the gentle giants ?of the sea. In one record October, 233 different whales were recorded and ?confirmed in the bay.
Cape Agulhas – 112km
An hour's drive away. See the most southerly point in Africa and swim in a tidal pool where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.