History and culture
Swellendam is one of the oldest trading posts in the country, originally founded by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. In 1743 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district, the fourth oldest in South Africa. The settlement soon became a gateway to the interior, and was visited by many famous explorers and travellers.
At that time Swellendam was the last outpost of civilisation so the services of the village folk were indispensable. In the early 19th century the Overberg boomed, and Swellendam, developed into a useful refreshment station on the long, slow journey up the coast.
Today, there is still a lot of history around. Many buildings have been preserved and you can easily imagine yourself to be in the shoes of the 18th century traveller. More history is close to Swellendam such as the traditional village of Suurbraak or the oldest working pont in Malagas. The Swellendam of today has much to offer as well. You can visit the local township in Railton, Sulinas Faerie Sanctuary or enjoy modern culture in one of the galleries in town.
Walk through the past
You can follow the footsteps of the early travellers and explore Swellendam on foot. We have set out a 1,5 hour walk that leads you along the historic places of Swellendam like the Georgian style houses, the old church, the former prison and oak trees that now have the status of National monument.
Visit the local township
Walk with Meisie on a tour of the local township. The residents of the camp will cheerfully greet you as you go with Meisie to the local shebeen. She will introduce you to a Sangoma and tell you about the history of the township and about its community projects.
Do the Drostdy museum
The first known sketch of Swellendam was of the Drostdy, by Johannes Schumacher in 1776, when he accompanied the son of Governor Swellengrebel to the town. Today the Drostdy forms part of a museum complex that consist of several heritage sites, namely the Drostdy, the old Goal and Mayville
( www.drostdy.com )