By Louzel Lombard Steyn
The beautiful Garden Route town of Swellendam has been recognised as South Africa's top eco-friendly destination, according to the international Luxury Travel Guide.
In the publication's annual awards list, Swellendam took top laurels in the Africa and Middle East Awards 2017 category, with Western Cape minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde congratulating the town. “Tourism is one of our fastest-growing sectors and has the potential to add up to an additional 100 000 jobs to our economy if we put dedicated energy into it. Awards like this garner international promotion for our destination," Winde says.
In correspondence to Swellendam Tourism, Luxury Travel Guide states that the awards “represent the pinnacle of travel and tourism achievement, championing the best in their respective fields”.
And, if you've ever visited the town, you'll know exactly what they're talking about... Here are 4 Things we adore about Swellendam -
It's an unexpected adventure hub
For a travelling family, Swellendam can be heaven on Earth... And if you're adventure-inclined, especially, the Umshanti Watersports Centre at the Buffelsjag Dam will hit just the spot - offering the chance to view the area from the sky via microlight!
It's a link to Route62
While Swellendam certainly is a hotspot because of its location on the N2, it also serves as an entry point to one of SA's more alternative roads - Route62. Just a 40-minute drive from Swellendam lies Barrydale, one of Route62's best stopovers.
Further along, you'll find some of SA's most iconic roadside stops - including Ronnie's Sex Shop.
This proudly South African, 748-kilometre-long Route 62 makes up part of the world's longest wine route too. Over 65 wineries are situated along the way.
The route was recently named one of the best roads trips in the World, too!
The peace and calm
"It may be easy to overlook Swellendam as we rush past towards a holiday on the Garden Route or time at the coast, but it would be a mistake to do so," Incidental Tourist Dawn Jorgensen says.
This third oldest town in South Africa has a myriad of activities and attractions on offer, enough to keep one busy for a weekend stay, or much longer. The primary offering is the unspoilt nature that encapsulates the town, from the Bontebok National Park to the various small farms and estates which are open for tourists' exploring.
The food, too, will keep you there longer than you intended.
There's Up the Creek
This annual festival, in line with the eco awards, literally revolves around the Breede River which flows through town.
Through the years, Up The Creek has become one of the most popular festivals in South Africa, mainly because it gives people the opportunity to spend a weekend relaxing on water with mates.
The event is also limited, which makes it a little more exclusive
All winners of the Luxury Travel Guide Awards are subject to the same rigorous assessment criteria, carried out by our in-house professionals. This ensures only the most deserving firms and individuals walk away with one of these prestigious accolades and gain a place in our awards winners' guide, which will be distributed to over 500 000 professional and affluent people worldwide.