I first came upon Tredici a year or so back on my way down from the Garden Route, after an epic week of shooting all along South Africa’s favourite coastline. It had this beautiful upstairs that overlooked a sports field, and in the distance, this wonderful mountain range that stood out to me, not for its beauty, but rather in that way that has you thinking “Why have I never noticed these before?”. Swellendam has that quality. Astride the busy N2 highway, the percentage of people who make a turn into it is infinitely small compared to those going by. And that is a shame for it is a town of great charm and general loveliness.
I must have gone past this town a hundred times in my life but it was only last August (2017) that I took a turn in for the first time. My girlfriend and I frequented some cafe, and took a stroll through the streets, feeling safe and relaxed, at ease and carefree. It helped us to manage the trip better (we were driving from Hartenbos to Cape Town in a day, just before Xmas) and those few hours will always be frozen in our memories as a special gap of reflection and gratitude. Grateful to be heading home, having the money for lunch, and especially happy to be citizens of such a stunning country with a multiplicity of hidden gems, like Swellendam.
We even talked about returning within a few weeks, and joked about it as a honeymoon destination – which is less of a joke now and more of a reality. A speedy two hour drive from Cape Town, and a more legal two and a half hour ride, it’s ideally located from the metropolis for your first pit stop, or last, if coming from the other direction. Though I would suggest you tackle it from both directions 🙂