CapeTownMagazine.com

Hello Swellendam!

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Hello Swellendam!

The historic heart of the Overberg

The tale of Swellendam, the third oldest ‘permanent settlement’ in South Africa, is one of a double-barrelled surname. The district was named for the reigning governor of the Cape, Hendrik Swellengrebel, and his wife, Helena ten Damme.

The town lives up to its romantic history: the streets are lined with storm gutters and blossoming hedges, and there’s the scent of cinnamon and jasmine in the air. We’re ravenous, no doubt spurred on by the appetising scent of the streets, and park our car by the Drostdy Museum (028 514 1138).

The museum is a good place to start if you want to plug straight into the history of the town. It’s a beautiful Cape Dutch building, and it also houses the Old Gaol, where you can see torture paraphernalia from a bloodier time. We’re after gourmet though, not gore, and are disappointed to find that the Old Gaol restaurant no longer operates from the old prison courtyard.

We’re redirected to Church Square, directly opposite from the monolithic Dutch Reformed church, where the restaurant trades under the same name. For lunch we eat the house specialities; roosterkoeks and melktert.

The weather is inclement; storm clouds are gathering rather poetically above the imposing white church. Taking it as our cue, we head into the more industrial side of town to pick up supplies for our braai later that night. We’re staying in Bontebok National Park, located six kilometres outside of town. The Breede River runs through the beautiful reserve, making it a must for anglers, birdwatchers and hikers. There are plenty of other places to stay in the area; from guesthouse accommodation on farms to hotels in the town.

Pink passion, berry orchards, and fairyland

The next morning we wave goodbye to our comfortable SANPark chalet and head into town for breakfast. A restaurant with a sprawling stoep on Swellengrebel Street looks perfect; it’s aptly named Oppi Stoep (028 514 3745), and we settle into low wooden chairs plumped with cushions. On a second look we see the chairs are pink, the table is pink, the menus are pink, even the salt is pink (Himalayan crystals). Feeling as if we’ve stepped into a quaint, but kitsch dream, we order classic breakfasts, which thankfully don’t come in pink too.

On the outskirts of town is The Continent of Sulina, also known as the faerie sanctuary. Once inside its latticed wood gates, we spend a few hours in its enchanted garden, or is it days? Tricky fairies. However long it is, we have still have one more stop before heading back down the highway to Cape Town.

Swellendam is the largest youngberry producer in South Africa, and the farms make the most of their juicy harvest. Berry picking opens to the public from November to mid-December, and some of the farms also offer accommodation. We’re headed to the Wildebraam Berry Estate (+27(0)28 514 3132), but we also recommend popping in at The Berry Farm for a fresh berry smoothie, or to purchase homemade liqueurs and jams (+ 27 (0)285141919).

The youngberry is a cross between a blackberry and a dewberry, but it looks a whole lot more like a mulberry to me. The taste is also similar, just not as tart.

We’re ushered into the tasting room, all small-town charm. The estate makes a range of liqueurs: youngberry (the flagship), rooibos, chilli and chocolate, honey…the list goes on. There’s also shelf after shelf of pickled and preserved goods, some dangerous like the cherry bombs (the fruit is soaked in witblitz), others more innocuous. We stock up on liqueur and grab a bag of frozen berries (R22 for a kilogram). We've barely scratched the surface on things to do in Swellendam, but there's always next time.

Cruising home, we can't wait, and our hands are soon sticky and purple from the delicious berries.

By Malu Lambert

---

Tip: Stay over and discover the hidden wine route of Bonnievale. This gorgeous little valley is making beautiful wine; from the Méthode CapClassique at Weltevrede Wine Estate to the muscadel at Wolvendrift.

We also said hello to South Africa’s second-oldest town, Stellenbosch.

Idyllic Swellendam farm-style getaway, boutique wedding or big group stay with some unique experiences? Have a look at Rotterdam Guest Farm in Swellendam.

Another good reason for a road trip to Swellendam at Rotterdam Restaurant.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with what's happening in our pretty city. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a seven-day weather forecast.

Cape Town Events Calendar
August 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

blowfish_new_7R99 Calamari and Prawns Combo Every ...

And drink in the view of Table Mountain across the bay

cape_quarter_01Catch These Weekly Deals at Cape Quarter

From R18 coffee to half-price burgers

rotterdam_restaurantFarm Stay Special: Romantic Weekend Away

Idyllic Swellendam farm accommodation with a special game drive and picnic amongst the ...

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

sounding_the_voidDiscover the Art of Listening At A ...

A free audio exhibition exploring fantasy islands, suits that give you a different ...

durbanville_childrens_homeIt’s A Treasure Hunt At A R2 Book Sale

Find old gems, childhood classics, best sellers and out-of-print books.

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

teambuildingTeambuilding Activities You’ll ...

14 teambuilding activities and why they work

fpl_5Get Moving in Functional Training Class

Improve your fitness, strength and overall functionality with the Functional Performance ...

ac_marriott_musicHappy Hour and Live Music Every ...

Get a discount on drinks and tapas before local musicians step up to entertain you

aroundaboutnew1Get a Free Stay in Scarborough With ...

Just use the promo code when booking a 4X4 and camping equipment

sundoo2019_4South-Indian Tapas and Thalis For a ...

Vegan options, halaal-friendly, casual but beautifully decorated: Sundoo South Indian ...

the41_music3Romantic Beach Vibe and Live Music At ...

Live Thursdays: Come in your slops to this chic Camps Bay spot for great food and live ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

sgtpepper152-for-1 Burger or Pizza Deal At Sgt ...

A reason to eat out: Get a free pizza on Tuesdays and a free burger on Thursdays at this ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

coco_safar_lunchOn The House: Try A Rooibos Cold Brew ...

Satisfy your cravings for South African flavours such as bobotie or hit the spot with ...

Barrs7Common Summer Ailments And Their ...

What most people ask about sunscreen, hay fever, runny tummy, malaria meds and ...

house of h2 For 1 New Corona Cocktails on the ...

All-new whiskey-Corona mixes, Corona mojitos for after-work drinks during two-hour ...

Coco Safar Dinner NEW 2Indulge In Dinner and Dessert At Coco ...

And now they have added couture alcoholic cocktails to the menu at this all-day cafe

Nasty Womxn - 4But What If Medusa Had Won?

A sketch art exhibition retelling stories of Greek mythology from a women’s perspective

Waterworld Strand Waterpark Cape TownFree Putt-Putt Special at Waterworld ...

False Bay’s finest family fun zone is offering a complimentary game of mini golf with ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.