Tag Archives: swellendam

Roosterkoek Burgers at the Old Gaol on Church Square in Swellendam (2018-01-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 03 MAY 2018

The last time that we had visited the Old Gaol on Church Square restaurant in Swellendam it was raining. And we walked out with a delicous milk tart. This time however it wasn’t raining. And we were instead with my father, who was graciously giving us a lift back to Gordon’s Bay following our little George holiday detour.

In a way it is a bit of a pity that the Old Gaol restaurant no longer resides in the old jail over at Swellendam’s Drostdy Museum, because then obviously the name makes a lot of sense. However the restaurant’s new(ish) location in the historically significant building on Church Square makes for a good enough replacement – perhaps even better given the great outdoor space now on offer.

Given the good weather, we found a nice table in the shade, partook in the Old Gaol on Church Square’s reasonably good roosterkoek hamburgers whilst cooling down with an age appropriate assortment of beers, sodas and milkshakes – all while giving the legs a neat little stretch.

The restaurant appears to have undergone a bit of a face lift, with updated branding, a new menu and a staff complement which felt a little more snappy compared to the last time that we visited.

All in all, another pretty neat lunch time stop in Swellendam then.

Pro Tip: Can’t find the restaurant? It is literally across the road from the magnificent NG Church that dominates Swellendam’s main road! (Also, the old carriage standing out in front makes for a decent marker as well.)

Related Link: Old Gaol on Church Square | Swellendam

Coffee and Cake at Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant in Swellendam (2017-12-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 07 APR 2018

When I am in the mood to holiday then I holiday, and invariably that then means that I double the length of all long drives because I pretty much want to stop anywhere and everywhere.

Case in point: I felt like a Swellendam cake and coffee stop on the way up to Mossel Bay last December, but I didn’t feel like popping into (the almost always busy) Tredici as per the norm. So instead, Chantelle dug deep into her memory banks and came up with this little gem: the Old Mill Restaurant.

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain range, in the heart of the Overberg, the Old Mill business is primarily that of a guest house, operating out from a beautiful old, protected national monument building set along the main road, where Belgian owner Nikki and his staff do their utmost to offer accommodation that comes intertwined with warm, friendly Flemish hospitality.

In addition to the guest house (and art gallery/curio store), the Old Mill also operates a lovely restaurant, featuring both an indoor and outdoor dining area.

The menu on offer is a diverse à la carte menu inspired by both traditional Afrikaans and international recipes, all waiting to be washed down with some imported Belgian beer. (The Old Mill appears to be rather proud of this offering).

And yes, as it turned out, they also do good cake and coffee as well.

We were of course super interested in finding a space under the canopy of trees that provides the much needed shade over the outside dining area, and pleasingly we did manage to grab just such a table on what was a particularly warm Summer’s afternoon in the end.

So. Coffee, cheesecake, carrot cake and sorbet was then (more or less equally) shared all around, thus making for a lovely little road trip leg stretch stop.

Lovely find and definitely a place I’ll stop for a bit longer at the next time that I find myself back in the Swellendam area again!

Related Link: Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant | Swellendam

Breakfast at Tredici (The Bakers Dozen) in Swellendam (2018-01-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 JAN 2018

So I mentioned earlier that Chantelle and I needed to drive up to George in order to pick up our Accent that was sitting there for repairs a couple of weeks ago. This of course thus meant a road trip along the N2, which, given how early we ended up leaving Gordon’s Bay, also then meant the need for a decent breakfast stop too.

Enter one of Chantelle’s favourite stops along that route – the Tredici (or Bakers Dozen) bakery, restaurant, and coffee shop in Swellendam.

Driving along the N2, Tredici is nearly impossible to miss when you enter the Swellendam area, thanks to the building’s very European styling, its bold black accents, and its imposing four meter high doorways.

Inside you are greeting by the sights and smells of all the delicious pastries and baked goods being brought to life and put on display, before heading through to select a table either downstairs, upstairs, or these days, outside.

Obviously, a good cup of coffee was the order of the day, but as I mentioned at the start, we were there for breakfast as well – and pretty soon we were tucking into some good tasting ‘brekkie’ combinations from their reasonably comprehensive menu.

Chatting to the waiters, business over the course of the December holiday season had been particularly brisk, so much so that Tredici had to even go ahead and set up a little outside ‘On the Go’ container pop up shop to service all the people knocking at its doors!

Tredici is a genuinely nice place to stop, and seeing as the kids weren’t with us for this particular trip, we could actually sit down, relax and enjoy the tranquil pace of life that stems from living in a place like Swellendam for a change.

Always recommended.

Bonus: In case you are not familiar with the term Baker’s Dozen, it stems from an old European custom whereby bakers would illustrate their honesty by offering their customers more than what the law required – so instead of 12 loaves or 12 measures of something, the customers would always receive 1 extra – hence the baker’s dozen.

Bonus 2: The evening before we left for George, Chantelle and I decided to have Chinese food for supper. Pro tip: The giggle worthily named ‘Wok This Way‘ in Somerset West delivers big time in terms of food, flavour and atmosphere!

Definitely highly recommended!

Related Link: Tredici | Swellendam

Lunch at the Old Gaol on Church Square in Swellendam (2016-09-22) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 13 MAR 2017

Sadly, Swellendam’s Old Gaol Restaurant is no longer situated in the historic Old Gaol building (Jail for those of you who prefer the more commonly used spelling these days), but luckily it lives on, now branded as Old Gaol on Church Square, and happily housed on an equally old historic property, right across from Swellendam’s magnificent, unusually lavish NG Moederkerk (church).

The story behind this restaurant which started life, and in fact continues to live on, as an empowerment venture has always been a good one, meaning that a trip here for some traditional breads or Cape Malay dishes is well worth it because it makes you feel good for having done so in the first place.

Unfortunately for us this time around though, our experience was that the food is a bit average and the service a little slow, but thankfully the setting is good and the old house in which the eatery is situated does provide a lot of substance for some good conversation to be had around it.

That said, the traditionally prepared milk tart is fantastic!!

Sadly the weather gods weren’t quite behind us for this particular day of Swellendam exploration (we were spending a couple of nights in nearby Buffeljagsrivier), with the rain putting paid to our excursion plans for the most part.

Mind you, the girls did get to see the slightly disappointing (to me) Faerie Sanctuary, so they were reasonably satisfied at least.

Anyway.

We did buy a lot of good tasting chocolate from the local Chocolat Etc. chocolatier (situated in the Bontebok Tourist Centre near the museum in Swellengrebel Street), so that alone is often usually enough to save pretty much any day!

Plus, a few pictures of the outing.

Also, a map.

Related Link: Old Gaol on Church Square | Facebook

The Continent of Sulina: A Faerie Sanctuary in Swellendam (2016-09-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 JAN 2017

One day, during our September getaway to the lovely Stonehill River Lodge in Buffeljagsrivier near Swellendam last year, we found ourselves looking for something to do with the kids.

Having remembered seeing it a couple of months back on SABC 2’s Mooiloop‘, I suggested that we hop in the car and take the girls through to see Swellendam’s very own fairy and angel healing sanctuary – The Continent of Sulina.

From what I understand, the Continent of Sulina is run by sculptor Ian and his wife Minky Sulin with the genuine aim of it being a home and a place of safety and healing for Minky’s faerie and angel friends. Minky certainly has a strong belief in the Fae folk and those people for who this magic still exists certainly seem to appreciate this rather ‘enchanting’ space.

For the more practical of us out there, the Continent of Sulina is essentially a house with a rambling garden that has been filled to the brim with little figurines of faeries, gnomes, goblins, frogs, toadstools and other miscellaneous shiny (and sometimes creepy) things.

You essentially pay an entrance fee to walk through the garden around the house, and then enter the gallery house in order to exit, which is of course the point where you get presented with probably a thousand or so figurines of different shapes and sizes (many handmade by local artisans), all awaiting a new home in exchange for some of your money.

Recently, a second property adjacent to the original has also been purchased, meaning that now the fairy sanctuary also sports a dedicated kids play for the little ones.

There is a coffee station in the garden as well, but seeing as a light rain started to descend during our visit, we opted not to sit down and give it a go.

Honestly, unless you have kids (or you yourself perhaps) that are really into things like magic and faeries (none of us are), this isn’t really a place that is going to hold your attention for long.

If you are however looking to buy some fairy trinkets, then these guys definitely have you covered!

Yeah… I can’t say that any of the grown ups enjoyed the outing on the day, and unfortunately the girls didn’t seem to quite love it either. (Plus we all got a little wet thanks to the rather grey weather on the day).

Still it was an outing and that was certainly what we were after in the first place. So, if you have kids and have run out of ideas for things to do in Swellendam, you may as well pop in and see for yourself the ‘magical’ realm of the Continent of Sulina.

As always, a map for in case you wish to go seek out some faeries yourself:

Related Link: The Continent of Sulina | Facebook

Staying at Stonehill River Lodge in Buffeljagsrivier (2016-09-21) Accommodation | Photo Gallery 28 DEC 2016

We were extremely fortunate in September to get the chance join Chantelle’s folks Monty and Cheryl on a mid-week holiday to the fantastic Stonehill River Lodge, set along the strong flowing Breede river in Buffeljagsrivier (near Swellendam).

Stonehill River Lodge (part of the Dream Resorts group) consists of a small number of luxury self-catering units dotted along the Breede river, fronted by a stretch of lush green lawn and completed with breathtaking views of the Langeberg Mountains.

We arrived at the lodge early evening on the Wednesday, having been treated to some spectacular sunset skies along the dirt back roads you need to take in order to reach the destination.

The fire was already going strong, and that pretty much set the tone for our short two night stay in this truly stunning venue. (I.e. this setting calls for a braai every evening!)

The kids had a ball running and playing on the vast stretch of rolling lawn that fronts the river, while Chantelle and I got a kick out of enjoying some time in the jacuzzi that comes with quite the view.

Frisbee, trampoline, chess, and if you don’t have little ones to entertain, hiking and some good river fishing is all on offer at this particularly tranquil space.

I had to of course do some support work while I was there (it was mid-week after all), but for the most part it was all explore and play.

Thursday saw us encounter slightly wet weather (and a river whose level rose frighteningly overnight – a valid concern mind you, seeing as this place floods ever three or so years thanks to the way the river bends in the area!),  which then meant a slightly damp sightseeing trip into nearby Swellendam – where we visited a chocolatier, spotted a spectacular church, had lunch in an old house, and explored a faerie sanctuary!

As you may have guessed by now, this little getaway was a huge success. Loads of fun was had in these stunning surroundings and I have to admit – I’m kind of eager to head out that way again once the opportunity arises!

(Primarily because I’m rather eager to cross the river on the famous pontoon at Malgas! Incidentally, it is the last hand-drawn pont of its kind in the country…)

Naturally, a place like this demands a fair bit of photos be taken whenever you take break from all the fun!

A handy map. You’ll have to travel along a couple of dirt roads, but the final destination is well worth it!

Related Link: Stonehill River Lodge | Facebook | Buffeljagsrivier

Lunch at Rolandale Farm Stall in Buffeljagsrivier (2016-06-24) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 09 JUL 2016

Keeping the theme of going away for at least one weekend a month this year (Jacobsbaai, Mossel Bay, Barrydale, Stanford), June was no different with a three night stay in the Far Hills Country Hotel just outside of George on your way to Wilderness.

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Having taken both the Friday and Monday off from work, we got a nice early start on our adventure, heading up the N2 and making our way towards the Garden Route. Following the recent wet weather, the hills and fields were starting to look greener already, and overall the scenery was much improved from the last time we headed that way back in April.

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Halfway through what was quite a pleasant drive thus far, just as we were entering Buffeljagsrivier (outside Swellendam), we pulled over at the Rolandale Restaurant and Farm Stall for a bit of a lunch break – giving the girls an opportunity to run around and stretch their legs while we waited for the other half of our holiday party, Monty and Cheryl, to join us from Bellville for the last leg of the drive.

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If you’ve never stopped at Rolandale before, then you’ve missed out. It’s the perfect halfway stop for trips through to Mossel Bay or George, has a massive grass and play area for the kids to run around on, is very dog friendly, and happens to serve good old ‘roosterkoek’  – at very good prices – all day long!

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Chantelle and I got comfortable in the homely restaurant section while Jessica and Emily ran around exploring outside.

We had a bite to eat and then joined the girls in playing outside, before Monty and Cheryl eventually turned up, having been held slightly up by all the trucks on the Ashton route that they were travelling.

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Of course, it was only fair that they too had a spot of lunch, meaning that our halfway stop ended up being quite a ‘stop’! :)

(Oh, we stopped there on the way back again, though that time around the weather was wet and overcast. The cat had the best spot in the house – right next to the fireplace!)

Related Link: Rolandale Farm Stall

Milkshakes at Tredici in Swellendam (2016-04-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 11 MAY 2016

In March Chantelle, the girls, and I had discovered the fantastic Tredici bakery and restaurant in Swellendam on our drive back home from Mossel Bay. Eager to show off our find to in-laws Monty and Cheryl, we made a point of making a quick stop there on the way back from our Barrydale weekend away – which was just as well as it turns out that in addition to great baked treats, they also make fantastic milkshakes!

IMG_20160417_114229 entering at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

If you aren’t familiar with Tredici (which is Italian for “Bakers Dozen”), it is a Swellendam-based bakery, restaurant and functions venue that is known for both its great output as well as its stunning building and vibe – a classical mix of Cape Dutch, French and Italian stylings.

IMG_20160417_115146 jessica and chantelle lotter at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The place was jam-packed (which I guess then means that Tredici is a popular Sunday stop for a lot of people), and we were lucky to get a table on the elevated floor – though only thanks to the waiter relocating two bikers from a table for six for us.

I can only assume that the two guys (pictured now sitting behind us) were not impressed!

IMG_20160417_115137 monty and cheryl montgomery at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

As I mentioned, we made this a milkshake stop, which of course both Jessica and Emily were seriously on board for!

IMG_20160417_121454 craig lotter drinking a milkshake at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The milkshakes were good, everyone enjoyed themselves, and I sneaked in buying a chocolate chip cookie for myself on the way out. Seriously, what’s not to love about this place?

Related Link: Tredici

Travelling through Tradouw Pass to Barrydale (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 APR 2016

Continuing the trend of this being the year of weekends away as a result of my lack of mobility throughout December and January (February was Jacobsbaai, and March was Mossel Bay), April saw us head out to Warmwaterberg Spa near Barrydale – one of the oldest hot spring resorts in South Africa!

IMG_20160415_171030 hyundai accent in front of the beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

For us, the best route to get there is the N2 and then cut across the R324 to hit the R62 – in other words, we get to cross the magnificent Tradouw’s Pass in the process!

IMG_20160415_170123 beautiful scenery of tradouw pass in south africa

Originally opened in 1873 and built by the famous South African road and pass builder Thomas Bain, the Tradouw Pass (which more or less means Women’s Path in Khoi) is a 17 kilometer mountain drive through the rugged Langeberg region. It connects Swellendam with Suurbraak and Barrydale, and is by far one of the top tarred passes in the Western Cape in terms of beauty and engineering.

The road offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and numerous lookout points have been added over the years to make the most of this.

That said, this route has suffered severe flood damage in its 130+ years of existence, with several rebuilds occurring during its lifetime. 1974 was one of the big ones, with the pass being almost completely rebuilt, widened in places and a couple of hairpin bends removed for good measure. It was also completely tarred in the process, and to add an element of landscaping to the project, 4000 aloes and 2500 indigenous trees and shrubs were also planted!

Mountain Passes South Africa has a great informational video showing off the pass and its story up on their website:

Naturally, we stopped at more than just one lookout point to admire the view (and take a few phone camera snaps!) – after all, the last time that we tackled this pass was literally at the dead of night!

Related Link: Tradouw’s Pass