Stonehill River Lodge offers a plethora of outdoor and indoor activities, great for families, groups of friends and couples looking to escape the city and explore a more natural environment.
Besides the quirky art stalls, coffee shops and galleries, the Drostdy Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into its history of Swellendam from the Dutch East India period. The Saturday morning market known as the Under the Oaks Village Market, offers up a slice of South African country living, with traditional fare, homemade arts and crafts, soaps and sweets. Be sure to visit JW’s Beekeeping Honey & Equipment shop where you can view a hive of honey bees buzzing about their business behind a glass enclosure.
Spend time exploring an untouched wilderness at the Bontebok National Park. The smallest of South Africa’s national parks, Bontebok NP may not be home to the Big 5, but guests will be rewarded with such species as eland, springbok and zebra, as well as the antelope after which the national park has been called. Twitchers will adore the bird-viewing opportunities with 126 different bird species endemic to the park. The roads are easy to navigate, the scenery peaceful and pleasant – just right for a picnic next to the river, a relaxed bike ride or hike, complete with a quick, refreshing dip in the Breede River.
With Stonehill River Lodge as your base, hit the open roads and head to whale country. If you are visiting Swellendam between June and December, take a day trip Hermanus, De Hoop Nature Reserve or Mossel Bay to watch Southern Right and Humpback whales breaching, lob-tailing and fin-slapping. While near the coast, be sure to pick up some fresh fish and chips for lunch.
Feed your sweet tooth with a visit to Wildebraam Berry Estate during November and December when you can pick your own fresh youngberries, blackberries, and blueberries to take home. If you can’t visit the estate during picking season, you can still indulge in some delicious homemade liqueurs, jams, dessert syrups and chutneys on offer. Wildebraam lies in the picturesque Hermitage Valley just 2km outside Swellendam.