Situated on the banks of the Sonderend River and originally part of a farm that was established in the 1700’s, Stormsvlei (translated as Storm Marsh in English) is a now tiny Overberg hamlet that forms part of the greater Swellendam area.
Originally settled as an outspan for ox-wagons that were travelling the inland route along the coast, it was once an important stopover on the old wagon route, growing around the need for wagon repair facilities and refreshments for passing travellers – especially during the festive season when families from the surrounding areas would make their way to the sea for the holidays.
These days however the hamlet has shrunk to a point of being pretty much non-existent, meaning that you could literally drive past without even knowing that you had missed it!
(Well technically that’s not quite true. The restaurant does its best to make sure that the turn-off to Stormsvlei is relatively well marked along the N2!)
Apart from the Stormsvlei Riverside Cottages, the only other notable spot in Stormsvlei is where the old hotel stands, now rebranded as the Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farm Stall – which is perfect seeing as that was exactly what I was looking for on my journey up to Gouritz with my girls for last year’s December getaway.
Basically, a place that I’ve never stopped at before.
As it turns out, the Stormsvlei Restaurant is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife, in that it acts as a storefront for a lot of local products and produce (including leather couches and dried hydrangeas by Mary Spies, a local legend apparently), a bar, a dining hall, a function venue, as well as a lovely garden retreat – perfect for light meals out in the sun then.
The girls and I took full advantage of the good weather by first knocking back some cool refreshments and then tucking into a small lunch – double for me because as it almost always works out, one of the girls never quite feels like eating on the day!
We took our time wandering about the garden and inspecting all the flowers (including the nearby Hydrangea growing operation), browsing the art and antiques hanging up throughout the venue, and of course enjoying the rather tranquil ambiance – not to mention marvel at the surprisingly large amount of people that kept filtering in for a bite to eat!
I guess that then means that Stormsvlei is a lot more popular with travellers than what I would have thought!
Anyway, a rather rewarding little discovery for us then.
As expected, with it being just myself and the girls, entertainment for me translated into taking a fair bit of photos over the course of our lunch stop (much to the eventual annoyance of both Jessica and Emily I might add).
These are some of the better ones that came limping out of that particular crop:
Bonus: Just in case you also want to make a stop here on your next journey down the N2…
Related Link: Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farm Stall