Day 1 : Swellendam
Drive Time : 2 hours +
Swellendam is an old town by South African standards, officially separated from the Cape colony in 1743. For a long time, it represented the ‘final’ town between the rapidly advancing colonial influence on the Cape and the rest of the ‘dark continent’ to the east. The town made most of its money through the cunning business interests of brothers Barry and Nephew who were the first to exploit the Breede Rivier (which runs close to the town) as a mode of transport for goods back in 1822. Their small shipping company was so successful that they even set up a private bank in their names!
Today, Swellendam is essentially a farming town but its frontier character, and the early Victorian colonial architecture left over from its boom days dominate the town. Tourism is also big business here as it is the largest town in the region and makes a superb centre for wine, hiking, cycling and the ‘unplugged’ way of life.
Places to Stay :
Tel : 028 514 3316
One of the nicest places you could ever hop to stay in South Africa, other than Parker Cottage of course, is The Hideaway in Swellendam. This small but luxurious guesthouse was actually set up around ten years ago by a great friend of ours who since sold it to another couple who run it with the same aplomb and attention to detail. Standards are top notch and compared to Cape Town, prices super affordable. This could even be a two night stop if you wanted.