A Luxury Weekend in Swellendam
I felt so relaxed after our weekend away in Swellendam. The fresh mountain air, cooling river swims, and luxury accommodation were the perfect combination to revitalise us.
Swellendam is a quaint and picturesque town located at the bottom of the Langeberg mountain range and next to the Breede River. It is known as being one of the oldest towns in South Africa and is filled with historical Cape Dutch styled buildings- giving it a very photogenic high street! As one of the biggest agricultural areas in South Africa, Swellendam generates huge amounts of grain, canola oil, meat and dairy as well as exporting citrus fruits, berries, and wine all around the world.
This little town that has so much to offer- whether you are looking for nature, history, relaxation or an adrenaline filled weekend- you won't be short of options in Swellendam. Let me share our itinerary with you to help inspire your next trip away.
The Breede River. Blues and greens as far as the eye can see.
Day 1- Road trip and relax
Swellendam is a 2 1/2 hour drive (220km) from Cape Town, the perfect distance if you only have a couple of nights to get away. But the drive is part of the trip and when all the fun begins. The scenery is beautiful and you can always find somewhere new and exciting to stop along the way.
We made a stop in Grabouw for some lunch. Some friends had told us about The Hickory Shack, a traditional smokehouse, and we couldn't resist. It felt like we had been transported to Texas for a few hours! They presented us with the best pulled pork burgers, juicy hot dogs and refreshing ginger beers to wash it down with.
A few hours later, tummies still very full, we pulled into Bloomestate. A 6.5 acre oasis on the outskirts of Swellendam. As you enter the gate you are immediately immersed into relaxation- palm trees, green gardens and mountain views. It is a family run guesthouse and their passion for making the experience as memorable and luxurious as possible for their guests is wonderful. They made our weekend feel very special; the attention to detail in our room, the amazing breakfast we got to enjoy each morning, and their knowledge of the local area.
Our very stylish 'spring' room. Each garden room has a different theme to it. We'll have to try another one for our next stay!
I should also mention that they try to be as sustainable as possible, and I love that. They use locally made and fair trade products, serve local fruits and make (delicious!) jams from the many different fruit trees growing in their orchard. The rooms are fitted with energy-efficient lighting and bio-degradable cleaning products are used. The hot water is solar-heated and waste is composted.
We soon felt very at home and spent the rest of the afternoon around the pool, reading and enjoying the peace and quiet.
My personal favourite spot in Bloomestate. When it's over 30 degrees outside a pool is essential. Not to mention the amazing view you get while you're swimming.
Day 2- Spa and river swims
What a wonderful place to wake up in. From our bed we could see the mountains lighting up and the pool glistening in the early morning sun. We were outside by 7am, enjoying our first coffee on our porch with the the birds singing away in the orchard for company.
After our breakfast we got to enjoy a full body massage at their day spa. A lovely way to unwind and get rid of those achey muscles!
We spent the afternoon in Bontebok National Park. On the banks of the River Breede it's a peaceful haven of blue and green with the Langeberg mountains as a striking backdrop. It was first established back in 1931 to ensure the preservation of Bontebok.
Before we set off on our hike we enjoyed a picnic (very kindly packed by Bloomestate) at Die Stroom with beautiful views over the river. It was a HOT day so we decided to do one of the shorter walks- the Bushbuck trail. This is a 5.4km out and back route which follows the river.
Post hike dip to cool off. Slightly more nervously than before because we had just seen a snake swimming across the river and I didn't fancy getting eaten!
I always love picking restaurants when we are in new places and trying the local food. We chose the Drostdy Restaurant for our final night away. The food was delicious and we sat outside with the most wonderful mountain views as the sun went down.
Smiling because I have a Malva pudding in front of me.
Day 3- Time to say goodbye, but not the end of the fun...
We were sad to say goodbye to Swellendam and Bloom Estate. It felt like there was so much more for us to explore and I could have easily stayed there for much longer.
But it was time to start our drive back home! We had decided to take a different route back to take in some new scenery and enjoy some new stops.
The Tradouw Pass was one of the main reasons that we wanted to do this route and it didn't disappoint. A winding pass through the beautiful and rugged mountain scenery of the Langeberg. It is one of those must do drives if you are in the area!
We filled up some big water bottles with fresh mountain water and stopped off at most of the view points to take in the view and snap a few shots.
Barrydale is situated at the top of the Tradouw pass- great timing for a much needed snack stop. I can highly recommend the very popular Diesel and Cream. This American styled diner is just so quirky and is always worth a stop. It is filled with old memorabilia, from neon signs and vintage toys, to rusty cars and road signs.
And I shouldn't forget to mention that they make great milkshakes. I chose a honey and Chrunchie one- it felt like I ate an entire dessert through straw!
Barrydale was the last stop of our weekend. From there we enjoyed the scenic drive along Route 60 back to Cape Town- country music on and windows down.
If you are looking for a luxury, treat weekend away, Swellendam should definitely be on your list!
Enjoy your travels and send me a message if you have any questions, it's always great to hear from you.