Swellendam – History & Innovation
Tourists both local and foreign, travelling between Cape Town and the Garden Route, might be forgiven for bypassing Swellendam, the scenically situated, historic town alongside the N2. When the Dutch East India Company established a replenishment station at the Cape in 1652, trade continued inland as far as Swellendam.
In 1743 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district, the third oldest in South Africa, and was named after Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel and his wife, Helena Ten Damme. Today, museums and tree lined streets of Cape cottages, many of which are national monuments, remind us of the colourful past, however Swellendam has moved on. Home to some superb small boutique hotels and characterful guest houses, one of the many reasons for making Swellendam a worthwhile addition to any itinerary.
Dining options abound, but Italian couple Cristiana, she in the kitchen, and Gianni, out front, neither with a background of hotels nor restaurants, were welcome arrivals in South Africa, and more specially Swellendam, when they developed the stylish uncluttered La Sosta Restaurant, limited to a small number of guests in the evenings for dinner, who appreciate some fine Italian contemporary décor, authentic yet modern cuisine, intelligently chosen wines and good service.
‘RAIN’ now sold in its own stores from Cape Town to New York, are a range of handmade bath and body products and hand crafted homeware using natural ingredients with African origins. RAIN products, the brainchild of Bev Missing from Swellendam, are responsibly handmade with love and care for their customers, craftspeople and the environment. Visitors to Swellendam can enjoy the Rainforest Day Spa alongside their RAIN store here in the place of its origin.