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Breede River Rafting



Breede River Rafting Gallery

Swellendam is the third oldest settlement in South Africa after the mother city Cape Town and the establishment of Stellenbosch. It is famous for its architecture and fascinating history.

Situated approximately 245km from Cape Town and George is what makes this town the ideal base to explore the Southern Cape, Breede River Valley and the Klein Karoo. Swellendam has been an important stop over for centuries. It was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1745 to ensure control over the independent frontiers who migrated across the Hottentots Holland Mountains at the beginning of the 18th Century. A landdrost (magistrate) was appointed and a drostdy (magistrate's residence) and other building where built.

The district and town where named after the governor of the Cape, Hendrick Swellengrebel, and his wife, Helena Ten Damme. Over time other artisans and traders settled opposite the Drostdy across the Koornlands River, and a village was established - now known as Swellendam. To travellers and explorers the village was indispensable, as Swellendam was the last outpost of civilization on the eastern frontier. By the 19th century the eastern districts had been collinized by the British settlers and Swellendam was a thriving town of trade and industry.

Swellendam has many old buildings which date back to the 18th century, but most of the town was built during the mid 19th century. The Drostdy Museum built-in 1747, is an open air complex consisting of several historical buildings including some of the official town and country dwellings. The Drostdy itself shows the history of change from the Dutch East Indian Company outpost to the prosperous town under British Colonial rule.

The Dutch Reformed Church is a well established piece of architecture combining the movements of gothic, renaissance, baroque and vernacular Cape elements. Suurbraak, is the quaint mission station established in 1812 by the London Mission Society and is found at the foot of the Tradouw Pass. It is well known for the manufacturing of hand made wooden chairs with seagrass seats produced by the residents.

Near by one can find the Grootvardersbos Nature Reserve, the Marloth Nature Reserve, Bontabok National Park, the Malgas Pont and De Hoop Nature Reserve. There are various outdoor activities such as mountain biking, horse riding, Breede River Rafting with Xama Adventures, hiking trails and even a Fairy Sanctuary.

For further information: Swellendam Tourism Bureau, tel:028 514 2770 or contact Xama Adventures on

Swellendam Package

Contact Details

P.O. Box 787
Rondebosch 7701
Cape Town

Telephone : + 27 (021) 685 7305
Fax : + 27 (021) 686 5803
Mobile:   + 27 (083) 9555 790