Now that we’re well on our way to Spring and Summer, which have their own treasures, of course, we’ve realised that we’re a little different to others when it comes to Swellendam Winters. Towards the end of Summer, we sit and wait, patiently eyeing the chunky woollen jerseys at the back our closet, poised for the onset of our favourite season. You see, winter is the best, ‘seasonists’, it really is. It’s about regrouping, about resting and rejuvenating. It’s about crunching red leaves underfoot, snuggling under blankets next to a crackling log fire, reading books that were collecting dust on your shelves all summer and clutching hot cups of tea. It’s when you get to wear your chunky woollen socks; eat comfort food (in silent agreement with your body that ‘everyone needs a few extra kilos for warmth’ over winter); it’s time to rediscover the childlike wonder of hot chocolate and stare out at the winter-whipped countryside. To feel the wind against your cheeks as you stand on top of a mountain in the wild outdoors is surely one of the best things to feel…
We wondered whether there was anyone out there who shared our outrageous love for Swellendam Winters and we managed to track a few famous local wanderlusters down, between their travels. This is what they told us:
“Swellendam is a picturesque town, rich with history and charm. The large tree-lined roads impart the historical feel perfectly and you can almost imagine yourself being drawn along in a horse and cart. Staying at Schoone Oordt extends this feeling, as the house is a beautifully restored Victorian. The food and wine at the country house is exquisite and masterfully blended tastes are modern and sublime. There’s something about the mountains in the Overberg that I love, especially in this area. Tradouw Pass, that links Swellendam and Suurbraak to Barrydale and Heidelberg, is a like visiting a nature museum. The pass snakes around the mountains, which feel like sleeping giants. Swellendam is a lovely corner of the Western Cape and Schoone Oordt is an absolute treat.”
“The Drostdy Museum, a hike and time on the Breede River as well as game viewing in the SANParks – Bontebok National Park. And a visit to Rain Africa, where I enjoyed an incredible treatment called ‘Elephant Walk’. I also stumbled upon a very cool beekeeping shop with a working hive on display, reminding how much I admire these precious industrial workers of nature.”
“As the seasons shift to colder cape winter weather most people love to curl up by fires, jugs of wine or under fluffy blankets, myself I’m the opposite. In Swellendam it often can reach some toe curling cold temperatures during winter, often snow can be pictured along the mountain ranges. Nothing is better than waking up early on a crisp winters morning and heading out bundled into a comfortable jersey on a horseback ride though fresh pine scented forests. Not only is the scenery spectacular but nothing feels better than slowly watching the day warm up as you move through the fynbos and proteas of the peaceful Marloth Nature Reserve shadowed by the Langeberg Mountains.”
“Swellendam is a place where time stands still, cradled by rising mountain peaks in a corner of lush farmland. It’s a place you can still walk down Main Street and reminisce at the site of historic church steeples, visit a humble pottery with the artist at work, taste local berries and jams, enjoy a quiet coffee next to a gurgling stream, and hear the rustling of oak leaves on the breeze.”
“Although I was more than happy to read a book by the fire, Swellendam has loads to see. Much of it is at Schoone Oordt’s door. Just down the street you will find the “Golden Mile,” a concentration of the towns arts, crafts, history and restaurants. Schoone Oordt’s huge Conservatory doubles as the hotel’s restaurant. Included in your stay is a well-stocked breakfast buffet and afternoon tea. At night the tables are set for fine dining. I sampled springbok Carpaccio, Karoo lamb, and a peanut butter soufflé… All of it amazing.”
The best part? Winter rates plummet and we still have a month left, so, bring your wellies and come splash in the splendour of a Swellendam Winter Weekend Away.