Diary of a Grand Dame

Diary of a Grand Dame

what to do in Swellendam

what to do in Swellendam

One of the things that we love most about Swellendam is that it’s not one-dimensional. It’s not just a foodie destination, nor is it just about mountain biking or berry-picking. Swellendam leaves itself open to interpretation.

If you’re looking for a pit stop on the way to somewhere else, you might miss it because this town is subtle, revealing itself slowly. You’ll often find that artists, creatives, writers and musicians are attracted to Swellendam, not only because it offers a sense of serenity and idyllic isolation, but also perhaps because these sensitive types know that ‘stealing’ beauty from their surrounds is so vital to their work.


If you care to see it, it’s everywhere. Swellendam drips with beauty. The beautiful Dutch Reformed Church that takes pride of place in the centre of town. The restored Victorian homes lining the lanes and the hug of mountains that blush red ...

MTB Western Cape

MTB Western Cape

Goodness, this post has been a long time coming…  August last year was the last!  It has been an amazing season (although not quite over yet!) and we are so grateful.  Thank you to the wonderful people that stay with us, we look forward to seeing (a lot of you) again next year…

Swellendam is fast becoming a MTB Western Cape dream destination, with events like the TransCape MTB, routes in the Bontebok & Marloth Nature Reserves and the road cyclist’s Coronation Double Century beginning and ending in Swellendam each year, more and more cyclists, both professional and leisure are coming to stay…

Even if not a serious cyclist, exploring the village and surrounds is an ideal way to fully experience the natural beauty of Swellendam and work up an appetite for the gorgeous food available ...

Swellendam South Africa

Building (from scratch) a small country hotel in Swellendam South Africa came with some challenges, a large one being, nobody really knew where Swellendam was.  It’s one of those underrated and extremely beautiful South African country towns with a huge amount of history, beautiful architecture, awesome adventure, wonderful warm people and only a two hour drive from Cape Town.  We’ve realised over the many years of passionately sharing Schoone Oordt Country House with guests, that from the start, we need to market Swellendam and the fabulous things to do before marketing our fabulous hotel.  And fabulous they both are.

Luckily, both ourselves and Swellendam Tourism work very well together and we have been putting huge efforts into spreading the ‘word’, online and in social media.  With this in mind, we assisted in putting together a small group of local travel bloggers on an adventure weekend of note!  Playfully ‘piggybacking’ the very successful #Stellenblog campaign in Stellenbosch, we instigated a ‘#Swellenblog’ 4-day event that showcased a myriad of ...

We care1

Posted 6 May, 2014

Cancer care donation by Schoone Oordt Swellendam Hotel

Cancer care

We’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, as its an important part of our heart at Schoone Oordt Country House. Not only do we care about the environment, sourcing local and ethical products, but we also care about people… Last year we supported two major causes (as well as a few little ones). The one was Action Against Hunger’s ‘Too Many Critics’ event and the other, an especially personal one, was the Breast Cancer Care Show in the UK.

We met Sue Stannard in 2003 when we bought this grand old house in Swellendam and became very good friends over the years of planning, renovating and building. Sue and her husband, Phil, are ‘swallows’ (spending summer months in England and South Africa). Around the time that our little Swellendam country hotel was getting busier and we could do with a spare pair ...