Swellendam from Schoone Oordt. The to do list.

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Schoone Oordt. – Yes, there was much relaxing and replenishing, spoils and fine food whilst staying at Schoone Oordt, but also time to explore the surrounds. Swellendam has much to offer, but I kept my focus on a few highlights.

The Drostdy Museum, a hike and time on the Breede River as well as game viewing in the SANParks – Bontebok National Park. And a visit to Rain Africa, where I enjoyed an incredible treatment called ‘Elephant Walk’.

I also stumbled upon a very cool beekeeping shop with a working hive on display, reminding how much I admire these precious industrial workers of nature. Also, that I was very much in a farming community, the sheep just off the main road were further evidence of this.

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The Dutch Reformed Church after dark. A beacon on the main road.

– The Drostdy Museum offers the most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the time when the Landros ruled from here. Built by the Dutch East India Company in 1747 to serve as residence and official headquarters for the Landdrost. Soon after a gaol, house for the secretary, mill and various outbuildings were erected. A virtual visit to our history.

 

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Mayville represents the late Victorian lifestyle.

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The formidable Miemie Rothman, historian and local personality who offers guided tours of the Museum. I love this wonderful woman.

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Walking against time for my lesson in Swellendam history.

 

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From within the kiln. Blue skies forever.

Rain Africa, a must! For shopping and incredible treatments.

 

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These pics off the Rain website.

– Bontebok National Park, the smallest of our 22 San Parks is gorgeous. My first visit, I took a drive and one of their walking trails through the aloes and spring flowers, as well as a linger down at the Breede River. Home to 200 Bontebok, the formation of this park saved the species from extinction. Now that’s worth doing. Perfect spot for a swim on a hot day too.

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A closer look, a macro pic.

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Follow the route. Stick to the path.

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Take nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints at the Breede River where a swim is a must.

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On the outskirts of town. Drostdy side.

There’s much to do from this beautiful country home, with Swellendam offering more than I could have imagined. Schoone Oordt have a comprehensive list which I include below, or link to it right here.

– Local Attractions:

  • A walk down Swellengrebel Street to art galleries, coffee shops, the Drostdy Museum, handmade Belgian chocolate, gifts and curios.
  • A short drive into the Hermitage Valley to taste and pick Youngberries at Wildebraam Estate.
  • A visit to the rain flagship store –bath & body products handcrafted in Swellendam and used in Schoone Oordt bathrooms.
  • Lavender-picking and gifts at the Lavender Farm.
  • Art and Culture:

A trip through Bonnievale on to Robertson for Wine-tasting

  • Starting at Weltevrede in Bonnievale for their Beautiful Rusted Soil Chardonnay, Traveling Stone Sauvignon Blanc and without missing their Philip Jonker Bubblies.
  • Viljoensdrift for deli lunch on the barge.
  • Springfield for their Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon, Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc, the unique The Work of Time Bordeaux style blend and outstanding Methode Ancienne Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Finally, ending off at Graham Beck for their beautiful Bubbles, Viognier, Pheasants Run Sauvignon Blanc and Coffee Stone Cabernet Sauvignon.

Adventure:

Seaside:

  • A trip down to the De Hoop Nature Reserve (wonderful whale-watching in season, some guests have seen 50 whales at a time, black jagged rock, white sand and turquoise sea, some Cape Mountain Zebra, buck, tortoises and ostriches… just beautiful!), then on to Cape Agulhas to see the southernmost tip of Africa, a stop off in Bredasdorp at Julian’s for tea and cake and then home.
  • The distance is about an hour on dirt road to the Nature Reserve and then about half an hour down to Agulhas, part dirt and part tar and then 20mins back to Bredasdorp and an hour from there to Swellendam on tar road.

Hoping this has given you a good idea of the offerings. The best for a relaxed weekend, a whole lot of extra options for an action packed longer stays. Either way, Swellendam deserves a closer look and a whole load more appreciation.

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Dawn Jorgensen is The Incidental Tourist

The Incidental Tourist is a Personal Travel Blog of a conscious traveller with a deep love for Africa, its people and the environment.

Here I bring you narratives, stories, video and photographs from my travels around the globe, including accounts of gorilla trekking in Uganda, tree planting in Zambia and turtle rescue in Kenya, accommodation and restaurant reviews, as well as details of the conservation efforts that I support.

A self proclaimed earth advocate and beauty seeker, I invite you to join me here and share in my love of sustainable travel.

Dawn Jorgensen
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