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LOCAL TIME: 08:11 am | Thursday, 29 February
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Swellendam Drostdy Museum Complex and Historic Buildings

Drosdy Museum Complex and Historic Building SwellendamSwellendam was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1745 in order to exercise control over independent frontiersmen who migrated over the Hottentots Holland Mountains at the beginning of the 18th century. A landdrost was appointed and a Drostdy and other buildings were erected. The district and town were named after the reigning Governor of the Cape, Hendrik Swellengrebel, and his wife, Helena Ten Damme.

In time, a village was established opposite the Drostdy, across the Koornlands River, where artisans, including numerous wainwrights, and traders settled. To travellers and explorers, the services of these village folk were indispensable, as Swellendam was the last outpost of civilisation on the eastern frontier.

The historical areas of Voortrek Street, Van Oudtshoorn Street and Swellengrebel Street all lead to the Cape Dutch Drostdy Museum and the old goal restaurant, where you can enjoy ‘moer’ coffee, fresh traditional bread and roosterkoek. Have a look at the fine collection of late 18th and early 19th century Cape furniture. Tel: 028 514 1138. 18 Swellengrebel Street, Swellendam.  Email:

There are also excellent examples around town of Victorian architecture. The Tourism Bureau has a pamphlet, ‘Swellendam Treasures’, which provides the visitor with interesting snippets of information about the National Monuments in the town.

There are also several interesting buildings dating from the beginning of the 20th century, the most noteworthy being the Dutch Reformed ‘Moederkerk’ with its eclectic architectural features, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and vernacular Cape elements.

These buildings and the ancient trees are not only an inspiration for photograhers, but create a beautiful setting for the local restaurants, accommodation and shops.

More info on the town of Swellendam More info on the Cape Overberg

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