Just two hours east of Cape Town, the N2 highway takes you over the mountain, or ‘over de berg’, in the southernmost region of Africa. Here, in the Overberg of the Western Cape, you can forget about the busy pace of the city and switch to slow, tranquil African time.
The Greater Swellendam Area offers a peaceful and relaxing destination with friendly locals. It is home to beautiful beaches, a large number of whales, untouched fynbos, stunning endemic birds and history dating back to the 1700s.
Swellendam is known as the historic heart of the Overberg – with an seemingly unlimited amount of historical and cultural resources, provincial heritage sites, and opportunities for adventure, hiking and biking, as well as two national parks.
Ten minutes away is Suurbraak, a place where time has stood still. The locals still practice traditional farming methods and bake in coal ovens. Salt-of-the-earth people will make you welcome in their little piece of paradise. And just over the mountain pass is Barrydale, the gateway to the Klein Karoo. Located on the Route 62, you can experience the distinctive quality of the Klein Karoo’s wines and food.
The Overberg coast is also known as the ‘Whale Coast’. Infanta and Malagas serve as the whale nursery for the Southern Right whales who visit these shores from June to November each year. Buffeljachts is the agricultural hub of the area where you can find vegetables, citrus, persimmons, canola, milk, cheese and even lavender and peppers. A large dam offers opportunities for water-sports and fishing.
The Greater Swellendam Area has an ideal climate with long lazy summer days from November to March. Winter has occasional showers and storms, but can still be enjoyed with temperatures reaching into the high 20s. Snow on the tips of the Langeberg Mountains during the winter months are breathtakingly beautiful.
Flora and fauna
The Greater Swellendam Area is surrounded by several nature reserves. The most popular is the Bontebok National Park, where you can see the rare Cape Mountain Zebra, Bontebok and other large animals such as Bushbuck, Klipspringer and Grey Rhebok.
Marloth Nature Reserve, with its indigenous fynbos and an abundance of wildflowers, boasts 250ha of indigenous forests and is an easy hike. And don’t forget the De Hoop Nature Reserve along the coast, which is one of the main whale nurseries in the world. Of the 200 bird species, look out for the blue crane, black eagle and Knysna woodpecker. Gardens in the areas are full of sunbirds and weavers.