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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Seventy in Swellendam

Updated: May 24

This May my Mom turned 70! Even though she still looks like she's 55. I decided to take her out of town for a long weekend and she chose to go to Swellendam. We had stayed before in Rose Cottage at Hermitage Huisies, which was comfy, so booked there again. It is a small farm in the beautiful Hermitage area just outside of Swellendam town. There are 4 cottages on the property, Rose cottage being the only one with two separate bedrooms. The main bedroom has a double bed, tiny closet and side table. It is a tight squeeze if unpacking for longer than a couple of nights, but serves ok. The other bedroom has two single beds and a closet. The kitchen and lounge are open plan with a couch, fatsak and fireplace in the lounge side. The kitchen is well equipped with a regular size fridge, microwave, induction stove plates and the important coffee bodum. There is also a compost bin, which is great for big veggie eaters. There is a table with 4 chairs in the kitchen, which makes a bit of a tight squeeze when sitting there, with dogs all around, but we made it work. The bathroom leads off from the kitchen and has the loveliest shower spray. Sadly it was a bit blocked, so you ended up in a puddle. For some reason they don't supply toilet paper, so make sure to take your own.

Outside the cottage is a lush lawn and a dam, which the geese love. The braai is on the dam side of the cottage, with a bench table. From here there is a lovely view of the mountains. At the back of the cottage is a patio where you can sit and enjoy the morning sun and all the beautiful roses. Above this is the veggie patch and next to it the potbelly pig pen. You are allowed to feed the piggies and we discovered that they love mielie cobs and almost caused a fight when giving them some. The dogs were intrigued by the fat-cheeked snuffly faces and weren't sure whether to snarl at them or kiss their funny snouts through the fence. There are also rescue donkeys on the farm, which Pirate loved and gave a kissy to the boldest one. Below Rose cottage is the swimming pool and a jungle gym for kids. At the bottom of the farm, close to the river is the River Cottage, which we stayed in on our first time there. It has a double bed in the bedroom and a sleeper couch in the lounge and is quite spacious and private. So a good option if you are just one couple or have small kids. None of the cottages are fenced and you will definitely have visiting dogs. Little Jacky (our name for the farm Jack Russel) loves to have visitors and rushes to the cottage whenever you come and go and will visit at any time of the day. He is a super cutie and became part of the family on our stay.

There are lots of dog friendly spaces in Swellendam. The best space to run or walk is in the plantation next to the Marloth reserve. There are lots of marked MTB routes which you can easily access and you can picnic by the dams, while looking up at the towering mountains. Obviously the Reserve is a no go for dogs, being run by Cape Nature.

Next door to the farm is the Wildebraam berry estate, which we have stayed at a few times, which you can read about here.

On Saturdays there is a great market in town, which has delicious food, plants, thrift stands and doggy treats. Quite a few of the restaurants are dog friendly. We enjoy La Belle Alliance, which is on the river and has some yummy sandwiches and a couple of vegan options. On our last morning we tried out the newish Oil Mill which has a B-Well factory shop. The restaurant is fantastic! They have lots of vegan dishes and their prices are so reasonable for the large portions. The outside area is lovely to sit in with your doggos. We will definitely be going there again for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Swellendam is not the cheapest place to stay, especially if you are just 2 people. But for 3 people it was R1400 per night in Rose Cottage, plus there is a fee for the dogs. We will probably be back, either to Hermitage Huisies or our other favourite spot next door at Wildebraam.

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