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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Swellendam

Swellendam main street

Swellendam's main street

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Western Cape

In 1652 the Dutch East India Company established a station, on the site of modern day Cape Town, to replenish passing ships. Traders started travelling inland to trade with the indigenous Khoikhoi people and they explored the area as far as Swellendam. Swellendam was declared as a magisterial district in 1743.

Today Swellendam has around 18,000 inhabitants. A variety of farming takes place in the area including sheep and dairy farming. Crops raised include wheat, oats and canola.

There are many reasons to visit Swellendam but one of the main ones is to see the many Cape Dutch buildings some of which have been declared as provinvial heritage sites.

Nature lovers will find plenty to keep them occupied. One can visit Bontebok National Park, Marloth Nature Reserve and Sanbona Wildflower Reserve. Bontebok National Park was establish to house some of the remaining Bontebok which had become endangered. In 1931 there were 17 Bontebok and today the park houses around 160. There are a number of hiking trails around Swellendam where one can experience the wide variety of flowers, fynbos and other flora.

Swellendam suburb

Above - A suburb in Swellendam with a backdrop of the mountains

Photo © Johan van Zyl

s Dutch Reformed Church (1910)

Above - Dutch Reformed Church (1910)

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Surrounding countryside

Above - Stunning scenery a few kilometres outside Swellendam

Photo © Johan van Zyl


References and further reading

Book of the Road - 4th edition - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2019 - Page: 148

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 90

Country Life - Issue 192 - Author: - Year Published: 2012 - Page: 70

Country Life - Issue 250 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 22

Essential Birding: Western South Africa - Author: Callan Cohen and Claire Spottiswoode - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 68

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 38

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 38

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 39

Getaway - Vol 27 No 04 - Author: - Year Published: 2015 - Page: 85

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2018 - Page: 59

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 58

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 223

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 98

Road Tripping South Africa - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 69

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 182

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 42

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