To Do & To Dine
Swellendam is situated in the Western Cape Province, 220km east from Cape Town. The town is roughly halfway between Cape Town and George/Knysna and is bordering on the famous Garden Route and the Route 62, bringing many tourists to Swellendam each year. The beautiful historic town of Swellendam is one of a kind. It’s a safe and friendly town, famous for its Cape Dutch architecture. If you stroll down the streets, you will find lovely boutique stores and a well-known (open-air) museum that are worth a visit. For lunch, drinks or dinner, Swellendam offers multiple quality restaurants and welcoming bars to choose from. Prepare to enjoy good food and good wine in a pleasant atmosphere.
Excited to go on a day trip? Take a hike to a hidden waterfall or head out to the coast to spot the whales and enjoy the beautiful beaches. Hop on a wine- and olive oil tasting tour in the Robertson wine valley, or, why not take a canoeing trip down the Breederivier! Find out more about what To Do and where To Dine.
During your stay with us, you have to enjoy some fine dining in one of Swellendam’s quality restaurants or have a cold drink with a bite on a sunny outside terrace. Take a look at our preferred restaurants in the lists below and let us know if we can make a dinner reservation for you! Pre-booked dinner reservations are essential in December, January and February. Please send us an email and we will arrange a dinner reservation at the restaurant of your liking for you!
The famous Drostdy restaurant as part of the historical museum is an absolute must-go. The French chef prepares deliciously refined and varied meals, all very well presented and combined. The historic 1757 heritage building and its matching tasteful interior as well as its romantic outside terrace with candle lights makes it an evening you will remember.
La Sosta restaurant
La Sosta restaurant is Italian cuisine at its finest. This high-end restaurant serves multiple courses in a small-scale restaurant that’s part of an astonishing typical Cape Dutch building.
Field & Fork restaurant
Field & Fork restaurant is also part of the museum complex what makes this well-known sophisticated restaurant breath history. The friendly staff will make sure you have a smile on your face throughout the evening! The meals are distinguishing and very well presented.
Woodpecker Pizza Deli
Woodpecker Pizza Deli offers the town’s best pizza and pasta in a friendly and casual atmosphere! It’s opposite the street of Swellendam Country Lodge and therefore very popular with our guests to stroll to after a long day. Other than pizza and pasta, Woodpecker also offers burgers and salads. All meals are served either inside, outside on the terrace, or as take-away. Woodpecker Pizza Deli is open for both lunch and dinner and open all week (on Sundays until 18:00 hrs).
Just Amy restaurant
Just Amy restaurant. Located outside Swellendam on the beautiful R60 Highway, Just Amy is the perfect romantic fine dining experience for a very good price. It’s part of the 5-star Jan Harmsgat Historic Farms & Country House that produces their own wines. In Season, Just Amy restaurant welcomes guests for both lunch & dinner 7 days a week!
Koornlands Restaurant, named after the Koornlands river running through Swellendam, offers you fine dining with an African twist! It offers a wonderful selection of well-priced meals to choose from, e.g. African chicken curry, spiced ostrich filet, crocodile sashimi, or falafel. The roofed outside terrace with white cloths covered tables is a pleasant place to enjoy your evening! Koornlands restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Old Gaol restaurant
Old Goal restaurant (part of Old Mill Guest House) is conveniently located next door and has a large outside terrace to enjoy lunch and dinner. Old Gaol’s kitchen prepares tasty local African dishes. The ambiance is casual and you may want to try one of their imported Belgium beers! Old Gaol is open 7 days a week.
Pasli Restaurant proudly has the most spacious outside terrace of the town! Enjoy a drink or a casual meal inside the characteristic building or outside around the large fire pit. Pasli Restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner!
Casual Eateries or Lunch restaurants
The Garden Shack
The Garden Shack is a super casual seafood ‘beach’ restaurant located in the centre of town! Enjoy some delicious seafood with your feet in the sand. The Garden Shack is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.
Tredici is a popular and contemporary lunch restaurant and beautiful shop. Quick bites, delicatessen stocked with baked goods and an extensive European cuisine personalized with African flair. Very tasteful interior.
Grace & Merci eatery
Grace & Merci has a lovely outside terrace under old oak trees. Enjoy the view of the extraordinary white Dutch reformed church.
Republic of Swellendam
Republic of Swellendam offers refreshing cocktails, all day burgers, pizza’s, etc. for you to enjoy outside on a sunny terrace.
Lily’s has a large pizza oven in the middle of their outside terrace, casually decorated with picnic tables.
Dutch Reformed Church
As Swellendam was the last outpost of Dutch civilisation on the eastern frontier, the services of the residents of the town were of utmost importance, and so the Dutch Reformed church was built. It is a greatly impressive building that has been famed to be the most photographed church in South Africa. Visitors are welcome to walk through the church-building, however, be sure to check viewing times prior to your visit.
Historic town of Swellendam
The lovely small town of Swellendam offers many boutique shops with local souvenirs and -products. Don’t forget the restaurant Tredici; they have a lovely gift shop upstairs.
A must-see! The beautiful open-air Drostdy museum gives you a virtual visit to the South African heritage. You will experience a journey back into time when visiting the former residence and headquarters for the Landdrost; the Ambags Werf, where old craft work is displayed; and the old jail (“gaol”). Click here for more information.
Bukkenburg Pottery Studio is a fine pottery studio and a heritage house situated in a delightful country garden. Here, South African studio potters work in the tradition of high temperature, reduction-fired pottery (stoneware and porcelain) since 1973! Take a stroll around their workplace or sign up for a workshop! Click here for more information.
Swellendam has a 9-holes golf course with the most spectacular mountain views! It’s rated as one of the top nine-hole golf courses in South-Africa with a good variety of difficulty. Get ready for a day of playing golf like you’ve never experienced before. Click here for more information.
Beaches, Coastal trails, and Whale watching
De Hoop Nature Reserve is only 1.5-hour drive away and is famously one the best whales watching spots. From June until November, the greatest concentration of Southern Right Whales on South Africa’s coast can be found here. The coast is an important breeding area for the southern right whale. All year round this nature reserve is celebrated for its magnificent white dunes and beaches (very “instagramable”!) as well as for its diverse flora, fauna and animals. There is an 8 km long trail along the cliffs of the De Hoop Vlei (Lake), and day trails of various lengths on Potberg Mountain. Click here for more information.
If you always dreamed of setting foot at world’s end, Cape Agulhas is worth a visit being the Southernmost tip of Africa! This is the only place in the world where the Indian- and Atlantic Ocean meet. Click here for more information.
Swellendam MTB Trails
Mountain bike enthusiastic and fun seeking mountain bikers will find a mecca in Swellendam! Various trails in stunning parts of the town are set out for any level of difficulty or preferred distance. You get to enjoy the most astonishing views of the Langeberg Mountains on your way! Official signboards are set up along the trails, no permits are required. Please, respect the trails as you go and be mindful of the joggers, they share the fun! To find out more about all of the Swellendam trails, please click here.
Hiking in Marloth Nature Reserve
For the active types, a hiking trail in the Marloth Nature Reserve is one for your list! Extending from the edge of town to the top of the Langeberg Mountains, Swellendam’s Marloth Nature Reserve is a botanist’s dream with an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos. The Nature Reserve is home to klipspringer, duiker, antelope and also the leopard, although hiking is completely safe when following the trails! Hike trails vary from short, easy walks to longer, more strenuous routes. The refreshing hike into Indigenous forest is called Duiwelsbos (click here for more information) and is popular among all ages. A “plaat hike” brings you higher up in the mountains and guarantees you spectacular views. All hiking trails start and end at the reserve office, where vehicles can be parked. Click here for more information.
Wine- and olive oil tasting
The nearby Robertson wine valley has vast vineyards and olive orchards producing world class wine and olive oils. This increasingly popular route offers a landscape of flower fringed roads, majestic mountains, the mighty Breede River and spectacular vineyards. In recent years, the valley has won great acclaim in South Africa, and around the world, for the production of outstanding white (Chardonnay, Colombar, and Sauvignon Blanc) and red wines as well as “Method Cap Classique” sparkling wines. You will enjoy beautiful vineyard views, many tasting opportunities for both wine and olive oil and a chance to experience the full production process at an astonishing estate. An absolute must-do is the local Wine Valley Safari Tour including pick-up and drop-off at the lodge (Saturdays and Sundays only). Click here for more information.
Horseback riding in the mountains
Young, old, experienced or beginner? There’s no more magical way to experience Swellendam’s countryside then on the back of a horse. You will remember this beautiful riding experience for a lifetime. Please, send us an email if you would like to book a horseback riding trail and we are happy to arrange accordingly.
Ready for some wildlife?
Just outside the town, cradled between the Langeberg Mountains and the Breede River, lies the Bontebok National Park, proud to be the smallest national park of South Africa. The park was set up to prevent the Bontebok from extinction. Inside the park, you have a very good chance on spotting the bontebok, the blesbok, the Cape Mountain Zebra, and many more… Bird watchers should look out for the secretary birds and fish eagles. You can either hike, bike, or drive around the park. Picnicking or angling can be enjoyed by the riverside. Click here for more information.