Diary of a Grand Dame

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Berry picking and outdoor activities in Swellendam

Outdoor Activities in Swellendam: Berry Picking

December 31, 2018
Swellendam has become well known and loved as a tourist town for its heritage sites and beautiful nature but it’s also a great adventure destination with an abundance of family and outdoor activities in Swellendam and surrounds.  So, when it becomes that time of the holidays when the expensive toys that blew the children’s minds just six days ago for Christmas have lost their charm and the young ones are now accustomed to and slowly becoming bored by beach days, we say hit the road and visit Swellendam. Even though the school holidays are nearly ending the best ...
Robertson Wine Valley Wine Tour Bus

Robertson Wine Valley Wine Tour Bus

November 1, 2018
It’s been a massive success in Franschoek and the Hemel and Aarde Valley!  Wine trams and buses are a great way to explore the beautiful wine routes of South Africa and now we can finally add the Robertson Wine Valley to the list of stunning routes to explore by hop-on-hop-off-bus.  Yes, friends, we introduce you to the Robertson Wine Valley‘s Wine Safari bus. A hop-on-hop-off adventure bus that crisscrosses it’s way through the beautiful Robertson Wine Valley via two scenic routes – truly the ‘funnest’ ...
Menu for The Conservatory Restaurant

Menu for The Conservatory Restaurant

October 4, 2018
menu for the conservatory restaurant swellendam With the winter finally concluding (we’re extremely grateful for the rains but the seasons seem to change later each year and we need our Vitamin D!), we’re looking forward to warmer, longer days and sunny skies – yip, summer is coming!  That, of course, means a new menu for The Conservatory Restaurant.  This season we called in the expertise of mega talented Chef Jason Whitehead to consult on the new menu for The Conservatory and we couldn’t be happier and more excited with the final product. When our wonderful Chef Obie (very ...
Spring in Swellendam

Spring in Swellendam

September 12, 2018
Spring in Swellendam It’s Spring in Swellendam and we are gearing up for high season.  However we’re offering a sweet winter special (stay two nights and pay for one) until end of September. Need more reason to come celebrate spring in Swellendam?  Read all about guest blogger, Thaya Bedford‘s, Swell escapades below.  Thank you, Thaya for a beautiful article! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I fell head-over-gumboots for Swellendam a few years ago…and I’ve had issues letting go ever since. In fact ...

Luxury Accommodation in Swellendam

August 14, 2018
Luxury Accommodation in Swellendam We’ve been loving Schoone Oordt, the luxury accommodation in Swellendam, for quite a few years now. It’s a constant journey of countless building projects, revamps and restoration to turn it into and maintain its status as the best luxury accommodation in Swellendam. During winter each year we focus on giving the Grand Dame all the love and pampering she deserves. Whether it be a fresh coat of paint, restoration on the woodwork and floors or maintenance of that old head dress (the roof, that is) – there’s a lot of necessary upkeep ...
Grootvadersbosch hiking and MTB

Hiking and MTB in Grootvadersbosch

June 5, 2018
Hiking and MTB in Grootvadersbosch It’s nearly time for the Silver Mountain Music Festival again and with so many new experiences, hiking and MTB in Grootvadersbosch added to the itinerary this year we are so excited to be part of the festival once more.  The Silver Mountain Music Festival is a celebration of music, nature and country living in the Grootvadersbosch Valley and Overberg District all to the benefit of the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy (read more about the GVB Conservancy‘s cause here).  The festival kicks off on the evening of 14 June 2018 and consists of various ...
Winter at Schoone Oordt

Winter at Schoone Oordt

May 27, 2018
Winter at Schoone Oordt Sleeping in, reading in front of the fire, endless cups of coffee, hearty food and great wine are what we’re all about during winter at Schoone Oordt.  With life’s hectic pace these days we could all do with some more downtime and the cooler weather is the perfect excuse to take a break, stay in and really rest. As if you need more reason to visit us in Swellendam this winter we’re also offering a special discount when you book directly with us during the winter (follow this link to ...

Coffee in Swellendam

April 26, 2018
coffee in swellendam If you’re looking for great coffee in Swellendam, look no further.  Ikigai Coffee Bar & Deli is the new kid on the block but is fast becoming a firm favourite for both locals and tourists looking for great coffee in Swellendam. So why are Swellendammers loving Ikigai so much? Well, first things first – the coffee is superb. Ikigai is proudly associated with Origin Coffee so you can be sure the coffee is consistently top notch.  Their menu consists of lovely light meals and sweet treats ranging from familiar favourites to fresh and original options.  Apart ...
Artists in Swellendam

Artists in Swellendam: Alida diTekenar

March 21, 2018
Artists in Swellendam We’re continuing our quest to unveil some more of the talented artists in Swellendam.  This time we shed light on Alida diTekenar.  Directly translated, diTekenar  means ‘The Drawer’ but really Alida diTekenar is a multi-talented illustrator, painter and creative. Having always loved drawing (she even recalls drawing in her mother’s hymn book), Alida yearned to pursue a career in animation. She had to opt for a graphic design course after school instead though, seeing as there were no animation schools or courses in South Africa in 1997.  Luckily after successfully completing her first year ...
Artists in Swellendam

Artists in Swellendam: Andrew James Hofmeyr

February 21, 2018
Artists in Swellendam We are shedding light on artists in Swellendam this month. While Swellendam is best known for its architecture, agriculture and adventure activities, it is also home to a handful of immensely talented artists. Meet Andrew James Hofmeyr, also known as ‘The Foxman’ to those who have become familiar with his work.  Blurring the lines between illustrator and painter (oh, we won’t put you in a box, Mr Fox) Andrew has made waves with his unique artwork.  Waves have also been the inspiration behind some of his latest work, but his most distinguished work takes inspiration from ...
Overberg Restaurants

Overberg Restaurants: The Conservatory Restaurant’s Summer Menu

December 27, 2017
Overberg Restaurants Ah, South African summer – at The Conservatory Restaurant, one of the top Overberg Restaurants, this means time for an exciting new menu.  So if your Christmas lunch left you feeling less than inspired then feast your eyes on our colourful summer menu. First up is our favourite starter for the season – Beetroot and Walnut Ravioli with Goat Cheese Crème.  It’s the vision of flamboyance, yet subtle and sweet to taste.  Other stars on the starter side are the Smoked Trout and Warm Potato Salad as well as the Smoky Tomato Gazpacho. On to mains. We are ...
Top Billing visits Swellendam

Top Billing visits Swellendam

November 28, 2017
Top Billing visits Swellendam Top Billing visits Swellendam and we were lucky enough to catch up with them at Wildebraam Berry Estate for a behind-the-scenes look at their adventures.  The Top Billing Team visited Swellendam together with South African TV-presenter and actress Bonnie Mbuli and her two beautiful boys.  One of their many stops was the Wildebraam Berry Estate for berry picking, a liqueur tasting and some sweet berry treats. Remember the Wildebraam Berry Festival next weekend, the 1st to 3rd December with loads of fun for the entire family.  Also, keep a lookout for Schoone Oordt ...
Berry picking in Swellendam

Berry Picking in Swellendam

November 21, 2017
Berry Picking in Swellendam Summertime is Berry Season and that means it is time for berry picking in Swellendam.  So we’re blowing the lid off Swellendam’s best kept secret – did you know that our beautiful town in the heart of the Overberg is also the youngberry capital of the world.  Swellendam is home to Wildebraam Berry Estate – the largest youngberry producer in the world.  Wildebraam Berry Estate is responsible for almost 90% of the world’s youngberry production.  Here’s the kicker…Wildebraam Berry Estate is open to the public for youngberry and blackberry picking from mid-November ...
Halloween in Swellendam

Halloween in Swellendam

November 1, 2017
Halloween in Swellendam Afternoon tea was served with a chilling twist for Halloween in Swellendam. We pulled out all the stops for Halloween even serving slime cake with skeletons. Have a look at the scary shenanigans we got up to.
Swellendam Restaurant

Where to eat in Swellendam: The Conservatory Restaurant Spring Menu

October 4, 2017
Where to eat in Swellendam Spring is in full swing in Swellendam and if you are still wondering where to eat in Swellendam this season our restaurant, The Conservatory’s, new Spring menu will ensure sensational, Swellendam dining this spring. With colours and tastes so bright and beautiful we just have to share this spring celebration. So feast your eyes and be sure Schoone Oordt’s The Conservatory Restaurant is where to eat in Swellendam. Dessert is up first! Although last on the menu these flavours are so fresh and fitting for spring we couldn’t keep the ...
girls weekend swellendam

Girl Getaways are the new Romantic Getaways

September 13, 2017
Swellendam Girls Weekend We’re so excited to share guest blogger Thaya Beford‘s awesome article on her wild and wonderful Swellendam girls weekend getaway at Schoone Oordt. It was such a joy having you with us, thank you for sharing this sensational article with us! “Yoga, massages and five star lodgings?” “Hikes, delicious food and wine?” “Whisky, horse-riding and cowgirl parties?” “Incredibly, I know such a place,” said I. This is what happens when you’re planning a weekend getaway with your girl squad and you all want different things from your weekend escape.  I’m ...
Swellendam Family Accommodation

New Family Accommodation in Swellendam

September 1, 2017
Swellendam Family Accommodation We are so thrilled to introduce you to our new Family Suite, our new Swellendam family accommodation (which in true Schoone Oordt style was meant to be open in May, but finally opened in July!)  We’ve taken what was planned to be a small conference venue, but instead was an empty shell used to hang dry linen, and turned the space into a beautiful, sunny and spacious family room. As usual, Richard took on the renovation himself, together with our resident handymen/gardeners/car washers, Cuthbert and Charlie. From tiling, sanding of doors and ceilings ...
breakfast in swellendam

Breakfast in Swellendam

July 26, 2017
breakfast in swellendam If there’s one breakfast in Swellendam you need to have its Schoone Oordt’s full course breakfast.  It’s “the perfect three course start to your day” and has been called “the highlight of the stay”, “memorable”, “hard to beat” and “a real treat” by our guests.  Although there is something new on the breakfast menu every morning we like to deck out our buffet with a few regulars like fruits, breads and cereals. Of these breakfast buffet regulars our favourite has to be our homemade granola – a recipe developed by our very own Alison herself ...
silver mountain music festival swellendam

Silver Mountain Music Festival Opening at Schoone Oordt Country House

June 21, 2017
silver mountain music festival swellendam The Silver Mountain Music Festival took place over the June long weekend and kicked off its second annual festival with an elegant stroke in Swellendam on the evening of 15 June at Schoone Oordt. Still in its baby shoes the Silver Mountain Music Festival celebrates music and nature to the benefit of the community and conservation projects of the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy. The Grootvadersbosch Valley is a spectacularly scenic valley situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain between Suurbraak and Heidelberg and is known for its indigenous vegetation of Fynbos and Renosterveld amongst others –
best restaurants swellendam

New Chef in Swellendam

June 7, 2017
best restaurants swellendam We’re very excited to finally introduce our not-so-new head chef, who is taking our Conservatory Restaurant to one of the best restaurants, Swellendam.  It was not an easy task to get this one to sit down for a chat about his career (head chef at Schoone Oordt tends to keep one busy).  This Bloemfontein native had big shoes to fill as Chef Wander’s successor but with his international experience and enthusiasm for food we knew he’d be up for the task. Obakeng Mholo, better known as Chef Obie, has come a long ...
Photography Workshop Swellendam

Photography Workshop in Swellendam

May 12, 2017
Photography Workshop Swellendam With its old Victorian charm and breathtaking landscapes surrounding the town, Swellendam is a photographer’s paradise making it the perfect setting for a Photography Workshop.  Add in the expertise of commercial photographer and respected photography lecturer Henk Venter and superb accommodation at Schoone Oordt and you’re bound to up your photography skills and create magical photographs in just one weekend. Henk Venter hosts his basic DSLR Photography Workshop Swellendam bi-annually during May and August. During this five week course, Henk teaches the basic functions of your DSLR camera and introduces creative photography concepts to ...
Cape Trade Market

The Cape Trade Market – an Online Craft Market

April 3, 2017
cape trade market Craft Markets in South Africa have undergone an exciting revival in the last few years with new markets springing up in almost every park and shopping centre.   Now online craft markets have started expanding the platform for a variety of talented crafters.  Cape Trade Market is one such online craft market but with a difference, of course.  Specialising in hand-crafted goods made from locally sourced, sustainable materials by crafters in (mainly) the Overberg region.  A wide variety of unique crafts are sold on the Cape Trade Market’s online store and each month new crafters join ...

The Swellendam Agricultural Show 2017

March 7, 2017
Swellendam Skou The annual Swellendam Skou (Swellendam Agricultural Show) took place over the past weekend and was one of the biggest and most successful shows yet. This year Swellendam Agricultural Show celebrated the 185th show making it the oldest continuously running agricultural show in South Africa. For 185 years the show has brought together the community to celebrate agriculture with events like livestock exhibitions, saddle-horse championships in the arena, auctioning of top-class stud livestock and poultry and exhibitions of agricultural machinery. In recent years an array of food and crafter stalls, musical performances and a mini amusement park was added

Sijnn Wines: One of the most pioneering Wine Estates near Swellendam

March 2, 2017
Would you believe that the Overberg is home to one of the most pioneering Wine Estates near Swellendam, Sijnn Wines is making headlines and breathing new life into the South African wine industry with rare and interesting cultivars. So with grape harvest in the Western Cape in full swing we thought it appropriate to share (and brag a bit about) this pioneering Wine Estate near Swellendam. As you cross the bridge over the Breederiver when driving from Swellendam toward Cape Town a turn-off on the left hand side leads you onto a gravel road. What might seem like a ...

Gratitude at the Bontebok National Park in Swellendam

January 3, 2017
Bontebok National Park For us, this time of year is a time of gratitude.  A time to reflect on the wonderful people that are our Schoone Oordt Family & Friends, without whom, Schoone Oordt, just simply wouldn’t be.  Thank you to our truly beautiful guests (read friends) that choose to stay with us when there are so many brilliant options available, not only in Swellendam, but all over South Africa.  Thank you to our staff (read family) that give of their time so passionately and eagerly and strive for perfection in their work every single day.  And thank ...
Christmas in Swellendam

Christmas in Swellendam

December 22, 2016
Christmas in Swellendam Christmas in Swellendam and at Schoone Oordt Country House doesn’t begin until the official Christmas Tree is up.  This year, we were fortunate enough to be in Swellendam together as a family and the children were able to decorate our special Schoone Oordt Christmas Tree themselves.  Decorating the Christmas Tree is one of our favourite family activities and usually involves tons of tinsel, strings of knotted fairy lights and freshly baked Christmas cookies (using Eureka Mills Flour, farm butter and fresh free range eggs).   The Schoone Oordt Christmas Tree has deep sentimental value as ...
ethical food overberg

Eureka Mills Stoneground Flour – An Ethical Food Overberg Story

December 8, 2016
Ethical Food Overberg At Schoone Oordt Country House, we are passionate about ethical food and especially ethical food that we are able to source in the Overberg.  We are passionate about the food that we make, but also the ingredients that we use to make that food.  With harvest time in the beautiful Overberg coming to an end we thought we’d share the passion we have for our stone ground flour supplier, Eureka Mills.  Yes, Eureka Mills is as passionate about their ethical food as we are and what a wonderfully long way they’ve come to ...
The Country Butcher in Swellendam

The Country Butcher in Swellendam Story

November 2, 2016
The Country Butcher in Swellendam At Schoone Oordt we love to support our local Swellendam suppliers. Like many other towns in the Overberg, Swellendam boasts a variety of amazing shops providing top quality produce. The Country Butcher in Swellendam is just one of these many wonderful, small town treasures. Opening in April 2015 Schoone Oordt has supported them since day one and we can truly say that we receive excellent service and outstanding produce from The Country Butcher Swellendam. Co-owner, Gwynedd, wanted to give the store an “anything-but-a-butcher” look and feel and she’s surely succeeded ...
Swellendam Wedding

Intimate and Elegant Swellendam Wedding

September 14, 2016
Swellendam Wedding It was a Saturday morning on a beautiful, sunny but slightly chilly winter’s day in early August and a perfect day for the Swellendam wedding of Ounooi and Jacques. Although it was a small, intimate event with only their closest friends and family, there was an abundance of delight and joy in the air!  We love intimate weddings, each bride becomes a life long friend as we travel their wedding journey with them.  We are always so honoured to be able to share in their wonderful day of love and happiness. They held their ceremony on the ...
Country Wedding in Swellendam

Why we love Country Weddings in Swellendam

November 18, 2015
Country Weddings in Swellendam We love country weddings, especially ones in Swellendam.  Country weddings are like small private festivals.  Families and friends come from far and wide to spend, not just a few hours, but a whole weekend celebrating beauty, togetherness and the future.  Making for a wonderful sense of community and reunion as loved ones create a warm circle of happiness around the bride and groom. Unlike a city wedding, guests are able to escape their own lives and re-connect, both with themselves and their ‘people’.  At Schoone Oordt, wedding parties can spend time before and ...
Swellendam Winters

Swellicious Swellendam Winters

August 27, 2015
Swellendam Winters Now that we’re well on our way to Spring and Summer, which have their own treasures, of course, we’ve realised that we’re a little different to others when it comes to Swellendam Winters.  Towards the end of Summer, we sit and wait, patiently eyeing the chunky woollen jerseys at the back our closet, poised for the onset of our favourite season. You see, winter is the best, ‘seasonists’, it really is. It’s about regrouping, about resting and rejuvenating.  It’s about crunching red leaves underfoot, snuggling under blankets next to ...
Marloth Nature Reserve, Swellendam, South Africa

Too much beauty on our doorstep – Marloth Nature Reserve

May 27, 2015
Marloth Nature Reserve In the spirit of beauty, we thought we’d share one of our favourite creative soul’s view of The Marloth Nature Reserve, literally on our doorstep here in Swellendam, South Africa.  Bruce ‘Flyinghorse’ Geils draws much of his creative inspiration from the beauty around us and is so evident in his work… The Marloth Nature Reserve has the most spectacular walks for both adventurous hikers and afternoon strollers.  A trip up to the Waterfall is a must.  You can reach the Reserve within an easy walk of us at Schoone Oordt ...
what to do in Swellendam

Stealing Beauty… Oh, what to do in Swellendam

April 1, 2015
what to do in Swellendam One of the things that we love most about Swellendam is that it’s not one-dimensional. It’s not just a foodie destination, nor is it just about mountain biking or berry-picking. Swellendam leaves itself open to interpretation. If you’re looking for a pit stop on the way to somewhere else, you might miss it because this town is subtle, revealing itself slowly. You’ll often find that artists, creatives, writers and musicians are attracted to Swellendam, not only because it offers a sense of serenity and idyllic isolation, but also perhaps ...
MTB Western Cape

Cycling in Swellendam – MTB Western Cape

February 24, 2015
MTB Western Cape Goodness, this post has been a long time coming…  August last year was the last!  It has been an amazing season (although not quite over yet!) and we are so grateful.  Thank you to the wonderful people that stay with us, we look forward to seeing (a lot of you) again next year… Swellendam is fast becoming a MTB Western Cape dream destination, with events like the TransCape MTB, routes in the Bontebok & Marloth Nature Reserves and the road cyclist’s Coronation Double Century beginning and ending in Swellendam each year, more and ...
Swellendam South Africa

#SwellenBLOG Swellendam South Africa

August 8, 2014
Building (from scratch) a small country hotel in Swellendam South Africa came with some challenges, a large one being, nobody really knew where Swellendam was.  It’s one of those underrated and extremely beautiful South African country towns with a huge amount of history, beautiful architecture, awesome adventure, wonderful warm people and only a two hour drive from Cape Town.  We’ve realised over the many years of passionately sharing Schoone Oordt Country House with guests, that from the start, we need to market Swellendam and the fabulous things to do before marketing our fabulous hotel.  And fabulous ...
Cancer care donation by Schoone Oordt Swellendam Hotel

We care

May 6, 2014
Cancer care We’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, as its an important part of our heart at Schoone Oordt Country House. Not only do we care about the environment, sourcing local and ethical products, but we also care about people… Last year we supported two major causes (as well as a few little ones). The one was Action Against Hunger’s ‘Too Many Critics’ event and the other, an especially personal one, was the Breast Cancer Care Show in the UK. We met Sue Stannard in 2003 when we bought ...
Swellendam Restaurants

And so we join the Swellendam Restaurants

January 21, 2014
Swellendam Restaurants As you know, we’re constantly growing and evolving at Schoone Oordt and we’ve spent a bit of time trying to find our way with offering dinners. Some aspects have worked, some not. We’ve learnt, listened, taken our precious guests’ feedback to heart and from the 1st November last year, we officially launched ‘The Conservatory Restaurant’ at Schoone Oordt Country House, soon to be recognised as one of the top Swellendam Restaurants. We constantly strive to keep our offering fresh and original and feel that the light and airy Conservatory fits it’s name ...
antique letters in couch Swellendam South Africa

The Hidden Letters in Swellendam South Africa

October 24, 2013
Swellendam South Africa This is a very special romantic story and one I’m so happy to share. Even before we’d discovered Swellendam South Africa, Richard found this old couch on one of his antique store trawls in 2002. He bought it. It sat in a pile of building rubble for the many years that we’ve been restoring and building our Schoone Oordt country hotel. This past winter, whilst breathing new life into the rooms, kitchen and garden, Richard also found the time to ‘potter’ on restoring the couch in his workshop. This ...
Swellendam House Concert at Schoone Oordt Country Hotel

Swellendam House Concert : Baroque 2013

August 26, 2013
We are SO excited about the inaugural Swellendam house concert for the well-deserving Swellendam Bursary Fund…  The Swellendam Bursary Fund identifies high skilled learners in the Greater Swellendam area and enables them to continue with specialist studies in the fields of their choice.  It has been in existence for 8 years and continues to support and encourage young people to reach their full potential.  The fund relies solely on donations and fundraising and we’d love for you to join us in supporting this truly worthy charity. Celebrate the arrival of Spring with Baroque 2013 at Schoone Oordt Country House on
Weekend with musicians at our Swellendam Country Hotel

‘Candlelight en Rooiwyn’ saam met die ‘Byeboerwa’ vir die Augustus lang naweek

July 28, 2013
Swellendam Country Hotel Kom geniet ‘n heerlike naweek saam met twee van Afrikaans se LEGENDES – Gian Groen en Anton Goosen.  Twee nagte vir twee persone in ‘n luukse kamer, insluitende ontbyt natuurlik, en aandete met die vertoning by Die Vagebond Saterdagaand, die 10de Augustus vir slegs R2750.00. Genuttig ontbyt Sondagoggend, die 11de Augustus saam met die kunstenaars.  Doen gerus navraag oor tariewe vir die familie kothuis of wittebrood suite.  Kom kuier saam met ons. Anton Goosen and Gian Groen in Swellendam for the Bee Festival Anton Goosen and Gian Groen in Swellendam for the Bee Festival Schoone Oordt Country
Flyinghorse Photography

A (shutter) window into Swellendam South Africa

July 5, 2013
Swellendam South Africa @flyinghorsephoto has been posting the most INCREDIBLE photos of our BEAUTIFUL Swellendam South Africa, so we asked if we could share them.  Bruce Geils from Flyinghorse Photography is responsible for most of the stunning photography on our website too as well as the design thereof, so he’s close to our hearts.  This is what our area looks like.  If you love nature, family time or good-friends-that-could-be-family time, food for the soul, food for the body or perhaps just losing yourself for a while…  Then come and stay.  There’ ...
Judith & Christof - a South African Wedding

It all started with a little town called Heidelberg…

May 21, 2013
I truly wish that I had more time to spend blogging.  We hope that you enjoy reading our unique stories and poring over our special pictures as much as we enjoy sharing them with you.  This was one of those unforgettable South African Weddings with just two guests (the bride and the groom) and held in our little town of Swellendam (not Heidelberg, as you might have guessed)… On the 1st of November last year, we received an out of the blue enquiry for a 6 (SIX!) night stay from a lovely German couple who went on to ask ...
Flyinghorse Photography - Schoone Oordt Country House

The brand new Rain Swellendam Forest Day Spa

April 4, 2013
This is SUCH brilliant news and we are SO excited to tell you about this wonderful, special new offering in Swellendam.  We have always been HUGE supporters of Bev and her team at Rain Swellendam as their ethical business sense, support of local previously disadvantaged people and pure style and talent speak to our heart.  We LOVE what they do and we LOVE the way they do it and we are so proud that we can offer such beautiful pampering to our guests.  So, if you’re coming to stay, please remember to book a treatment… Without further ...
Kevin & Lizelle's Wedding at Schoone Oordt in Swellendam

Lizelle & Kevin’s Country Wedding… in the rain, in Swellendam

February 1, 2013
This post is going to look the prettiest yet!  Firstly, because our Bruce ‘Flyinghorse’ Geils takes the most spectacular pictures, but also because I’ve finally worked out how to get the pictures the same size within this new ‘blog’ thing.  Slowly, but surely, we get the hang of this…  I always seem to start an entry with an apology.  I seem to do the same with our newsletters!  Honestly though, time runs away far too fast and there is so much to say and so many lovely guests to take care of, so ...
Reach for a Dream Foundation Gala Dinner 2012

The amazing Reach for a Dream Foundation

November 27, 2012
I know it sounds corny, but we LOVE children… (and animals, but this is a story for another time) and for the last few years, we have donated a special two night stay at Schoone Oordt to the Reach for a Dream Foundation.  They use this as an auction item at their spectacular annual gala dinner to raise funds for their projects. This year, their 11th annual Gala Dinner was held at The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay on Saturday, the 3rd of November.  Along with delicious food prepared by chef Bertus Basson, the amazing Brooklyn Hip Hop Crew ...
Schoone Oordt featured in August issue of Food&Home Entertaining South Africa

Out & About in Swellendam – article in August Food&Home magazine

October 30, 2012
We were recently featured in the Food&Home Entertaining South Africa magazine.  What a stunning article and fantastic coverage. Thank you to all at Food&Home! Situated in the heart of the Overberg farming region, Swellendam is a restful stopover for travellers exploring the Garden Route…  by Ingrid Casson About two hours’ drive north-east of Cape Town on the N2, halfway to George, the Overberg opens up into a sea of golden wheat fields enveloped by the majestic Langeberg mountain range.  It’s wheat, wool, canola and youngberry country, with vineyards fed by the ...
Ivy Schoone Oordt Swellendam

New Additions to the Schoone Oordt Family…

October 18, 2012
Our very chilly, very wet Winter is over (thank goodness!) and we’re gearing up for another fabulous season. The blossoms are out, the sun is shining and my word, the countryside around Swellendam is glowing. Truly beautiful. Wish you were here. Thank you all so much for your lovely support this past year, for either choosing to stay with us, enquiring with us or sending your guests to us and of course, for your kind words. Without you, Schoone Oordt simply wouldn’t be… and we are super grateful! We’ve been quiet on the news ...

What a way we’ve come…

March 28, 2012
Well, season is nearly over… Can you believe it? The Easter Weekend marks the official end of our Summer Season and the beginning of quieter, cooler days. What a wonderfully busy time it has been. We are so grateful to our lovely guests for their kind words, appreciation and support and our fantastic, loyal staff, without whom, Schoone Oordt just wouldn’t be. For me, its interesting to note that things don’t always run smoothly, stuff goes wrong, often at the most inopportune moments and especially when busy, but a sense of humour and kindness prevails ...

Just Swell… in Swellendam

February 13, 2012
It’s always wonderful to see our names in print and here we are, featured in the local Sunday Times on the 5th Feb along with fantastic things to do in Swellendam. Apologies for the not-so-great quality of the scans, but the full article is on-line – link below. So, for those that thought Swellendam a quiet sleepy dorp, read on… www.timeslive.co.za/travel/2012/02/… Nancy Richards spent a couple of days (one of those evenings with us) in Swellendam and fell in love… We were lucky enough to be ...

Delectable Eighteen53 @ Schoone Oordt

January 27, 2012
I have to share with you how utterly excited I am about our little fledgling restaurant… Eighteen53… Rich and I had dinner last Thursday night and it was so delicious I wanted to dance a jig on the table (I didn’t though, just clicked my heels walking through to the kitchen!). We were lucky enough to share the conservatory with some of our wonderful guests and it was an evening to remember. I had the tasting of tomato to start(marinated tomatoes, herb leaves, basil oil, tomato coulis, tomato sorbet, tomato pips, basil sour cream and ...

Swellendam Sensation…

January 19, 2012
We’ve hit the media a bit over the last few months and would love to share with you. David Batzofin and his very lovely wife, Caro, came to stay with us for a weekend whilst they explored our gorgeous town. Attached is a picture of the article in the Citizen. We’re very lucky that we’re going to be featured again, an article all about Schoone Oordt and I will definitely post that too! I will also be speaking to David this afternoon over the radio – will post that link too. In the meantime ...

Coronation Double Century in November

January 6, 2012
Well, as you can tell by the tardiness of this post, we have been wonderfully, madly busy and boy, are we grateful! Thank you to the wonderful people that have chosen to stay with us over the silly season! We LOVED having you all here. On that note, however, we are desperately behind on Schoone Oordt news… Wander took these great pictures of the wonderful cyclists that visited us, yet again this year, at the Coronation Double Century. Once again, the whole of Swellendam was alive and abuzz with the cycle race. www.coronationdc.co.za/ Thank you to ...

Gian Groen, live, intimate & unplugged

December 1, 2011
We are very excited to announce that Gian Groen will be playing a live, intimate and unplugged session at Schoone Oordt on the 21st December this year! Gian Groen is an Afrikaans singer(although he also sings in English), songwriter and founder of the rock group Spider. He is widely known as one of the country’s top songwriters and performs a wide variety of music styles. Wander has created a delicious menu to accompany Gian’s music… Tomato Gazpacho with Basil sorbet, followed by Slow Roast Local Pork Belly, Butternut and Watercress Salad with pineapple Compote ...

Fabulous Four-Day Wedding Celebrations

November 25, 2011
It took us a little while to recover, but WOW, what a merry, gorgeous, loving, fabulous four-day wedding. Louis and Nicholas chose the auspicious 11th of the 11th 2011 at 11am to get married. Spookily, the Australian/South African cricket game was sitting at 111-1 at exactly that time. Not that we were watching cricket, we were listening to a soulful, spiritual, beautiful ceremony. Louis & Nicholas actually chose our not-quite-finished board room for their exchanging of vows. It’s pictured here, it looks stunning! About 35 guests travelled from all over the world to ...

Mark & Katja’s Gorgeous Swellendam Country Wedding

November 9, 2011
Mark & Katja got back from their mini-moon yesterday and forwarded stunning wedding pictures to us. It was so difficult to choose only two, but here they are! Katja also dropped me an email with these words… ‘I cannot thank all of you enough for the venue, the effort, the cooking, the flexibility and the fun. It was a really wonderful weekend. I was so relaxed, everything got into place and you all really made sure that it was a wonderful celebration. We feel that really everything worked out extremely well and I cannot express how enthralled ...

Wheatfields of the Overberg

November 2, 2011
Wander, our lovely head chef and manager is not only a creator of fine food, but he has a wonderful eye. This was taken on the road down to the De Hoop Nature Reserve, about 12km out of Swellendam. We live in a truly beautiful area, don’t you agree? Come and visit. Soon.

Gorgeous Country Wedding

October 28, 2011
We had the honour of sharing Mark & Katja’s special weekend wedding on the 22nd of October at Schoone Oordt. Great people, gorgeous dress, lovely attention to detail. We are still waiting on pictures to share with you, but in the meantime, here is a great one of Richard and me taken by Katja’s wedding photographer. Just for fun. We LOVE weddings, we LOVE the love and we always feel as though this grand old lady soaks up the emotion and becomes a better place every time we host one. Watch this space.

10th Birthday Celebrations

October 19, 2011
In keeping with the fabulous places to eat in Swellendam, one of our favourite lunchtime spots is about to celebrate their 10th birthday! What we particularly love about The Old Gaol (besides the delicious food, of course) is the fact that they are actively involved in caring for the town and the upliftment of the local community – something that is close to our heart. The Old Gaol on Church Square www.oldgaolrestaurant.co.za/ started out just more than ten years ago as a humble Coffee shop, trading from premises in the old Gaol building of the Drostdy Museum ...

Voted the best place to eat in Swellendam

October 12, 2011
We congratulate Gianni & Cristiana on the spectacular intimate and personal Italian eatery that they have created down the road from us. Not only has La Sosta been voted the no.1 restaurant in Swellendam by TripAdvisor, but they are prominantly displayed as no.3 in South Africa. What an amazing accolade. See here: www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g293740… Gianni & Cristiana came to Swellendam from Milan about 5 years ago, he originally an optometrist and she, a banker, with a dream to live our wonderful South African lifestyle. They have brought the warmth, passion, quality and attention to ...

Tribute to dearest Oscar

October 11, 2011
Last week we said goodbye to our beautiful Oscar. Those of you that met him will remember him for his quiet ownership of the foyer couch (and the property), his chin on your knee and his loving smile when you walked in the door. He was diagnosed with a tumour in his lungs earlier this year and we tried to keep him comfortable for as long as possible. Last week he found a tree in our garden in Grabouw, lay down and passed away quietly. RIP dear boy. We miss you.

When life gives lemons, we make lemon curd

September 29, 2011
We have had the most beautiful ‘crop’ of lemons this year, even some very very strangely shaped ones with tons of juice. This is our wonderful gardener, Cuthbert, holding a massive bowl of them. I am VERY fond of good lemon curd – have been known to eat a jar in one sitting, so Wander made some. This is his recipe (and he even managed to keep some aside for our guests!) Schoone Oordt Lemon Curd Ingredients 310 g Butter 270 g Sugar 280 ml Lemon Juice 250 g Egg yolks (15 egg yolks) Method Add the sugar, lemon juice

Flyinghorse, Yesterfang and Bad Man He Comin’

September 27, 2011
Today I have a story to tell… Back when we first moved to Swellendam, we met a quirky, creative, talented designer called Bruce Geils who had also just moved to Swellendam from Cape Town. So, when we started marketing Schoone Oordt, in keeping with our ethos of supporting local, we asked him to design the web-site. We battled to find a photographer that we liked (and could afford) until Bruce suggested that he use our camera and take them himself. We’d been lent a very smart Canon by Richard’s dad because he couldn’ ...

Going Gourmet with Schoone Oordt

September 26, 2011
Such great news, I am so excited… The wonderful Wander and Sonette Bester, along with Hachi, Shadow and Leo have joined our Schoone Oordt team from an exclusive Game Reserve in the Northern Cape. Wander is our chef and Sonette a wine enthusiast and they’re both amazingly good at caring for people and the property. We’re so grateful to have them and Schoone Oordt is a better place for it. With that comes the preparation for our new restaurant and eventually, High Teas. At the moment, Wander is offering a ‘voorsmakie’ at his Chef’s Table from ...

Swellendam a republic with a mission to celebrate the good life!

June 23, 2011
With thanks to Natasha Bezuidenhout (excerpt from the article published Cape Argus 22 Jun 2011) ‘Swellendam has renamed itself the New Republic of ‘community, unity, love, art, music, good food and beauty’ – 216 years after it was first declared a republic. Johan Kriek, curator of the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam, said the first time the town was declared a republic, disgruntled farmers marched in protest against the government of the Dutch East India Company, which was in control of the Cape. “In 1795, National Commandant Petrus Jacobus Delport and 60 farmers marched to Magistrate Faure because they were disgruntled

Doing so well on tripadvisor

May 30, 2011
We are doing SO well on tripadvisor! How wonderful… and a HUGE thank you to those spectacular guests that have made that happen. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Here is the link to the TOP 10 TO-DIE-FOR INNS and we made #8. Go and have a look… www.tripadvisor.com/InfoCenter-a_ct… We also received a certificate of excellence from tripadvisor for consistently receiving excellent ratings from their members. You can see the certificate here. Not bad for a small little country hotel in Swellendam, hey?

Schoone Oordt goes to the Travel Indaba

May 20, 2011
In October of last year, we joined the Inspirational Places portfolio of fabulous, unique and intimate properties www.inspirationalplaces.com and decided to exhibit with them this year at Indaba. These are some pictures of our stand in the ICC. It was our first one and we loved it! There are many that say that there were very few feet and definitely fewer international buyers, but personally, I was busy and spoke to a lot of people and I thought it was a success. Thanks to our new virtual tour (link on the far right), I was able to walk ...

Koornlands Restaurant at Schoone Oordt

September 30, 2010
We have some very, very exciting news! Breakfasts have always been made with love and a certain flair at Schoone Oordt. Now, dinners will be too. Koornlands Restaurant, one of the top eateries in Swellendam, has moved to our own gorgeous conservatory and will be serving the most scrumptious fusion of Cape Country and European cuisine in the evenings. This is great news for Schoone Oordt guests as we can now offer a dinner, bed and breakfast option! We had a tiny little launch party to introduce the new venue to Koornlands patrons, which I think went rather well. Everybody ...

Visitors all the way from New York

July 16, 2010
Richard and I met Karen and Brian at Phantom Forest www.phantomforest.co.za in Knysna about 7 years ago. Kai (our son) was just on a year and Richard and I had snuck away to celebrate his birthday (Richards, not Kais) and spend some time together for the first time since baby was born. Well, celebrate we did into the wee hours of the morning with the fabulous Karen and Brian. All through the renovating and building of Schoone Oordt, we had kept in contact and theyd promised to visit as soon as they could. With the Soccer World ...

Stunning guesthouse with wonderful owners

April 29, 2010
Gill, Gideon & Jake came to spend a weekend with us about a week ago with a view to networking and experiencing each other’s properties. It’s always a good thing to chat about ideas and brainstorm a little with people in the same industry. I firmly believe in working together to encourage both local and international visitors to explore our beautiful country rather than being competitive. It’s also just lekker to talk about and share experiences. What beautiful people. I fell completely in love with Jake, who is the most confident and gorgeous little ...

Julie & Matt’s Gorgeous picnic wedding

March 6, 2010
Well, we’ve had a super busy season, our best so far, which is why the diary pages have been so quiet. Thank you to all of our wonderful guests for making that happen and a very big thank you to all of those whom have returned and sent friends and family! We’ve also been VERY anxiously awaiting Julie & Matt’s wedding pictures… Aren’t they beautiful? They were taken by Jules Morgan. Those of you that remember our family picture that’s displayed in the conservatory – same photographer – have ...

The Double Century

November 23, 2009
Once again the mad cyclists descended on Swellendam for the Double Century race this year. What fun! We are so grateful for the exposure and income that this endurance race brings to our town and I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year since the last one! This time Schoone Oordt offered dinner on both the Friday and Saturday nights to the ‘Vanilla Gorilla’s’, so we spent a large portion of the weekend cooking up a storm. Our meals are rustic, robust home-cooked fare like homemade pasta with a choice ...

The cycle of life…

July 23, 2009
It has taken such a long time to put fresh news up on our diary page, I’m so sorry, but it’s been a very busy period filled with both exciting and sad happenings… The most exciting and beautiful, of course, is the birth of our daughter. She was born on the 26th June after making us wait 8 days and a surprisingly long labour! Punctuality is probably not going to be one of her strong points – I feel sorry for future boyfriends. Although, according to her dad, she’s not allowed any of ...

Jonty & Ashleighs Wedding

March 30, 2009
I’m so excited We received a cd of digital images from Jonty and Ashleigh wedding yesterday and I couldnt wait to open the parcel. Wade Howard flew in from Natal especially for the occasion and his pictures are stunning. Im sorry that I cant put them all up Check out his web-site on www.wadehoward.co.za. Jonty and Ashleigh contacted me what seems like years ago from Australia. Theyd seen our web-site and were sold. Jonty even mentioned on the evening that our venue was the only one theyd actually visited in person. I didnt ...

Guests that only eat toast…

February 5, 2009
Ad and Lynn were very kindly referred to us by Jonine from Mardouw a beautiful country house about 20mins out of Swellendam. They were unfortunately (though fortunately for us) fully-booked so Ad and Lynn came to stay with us for 2 nights. We had to pressure them a little to have Roys famous fluffy salmon omelettes for breakfast as they quite strongly stipulated that they only eat toast. Well the second morning we had piles of various flavours of toast ready and waiting…and Ad very sheepishly asked for a second famous fluffy salmon omelette…Roy dashed ...

Christmas at Schoone Oordt

January 9, 2009
We have had a wonderfully busy Festive Season at Schoone Oordt this year with both family and guests. The children were spoilt absolutely rotten (as usual) we ate lots of lovely food (as usual) and entertained lovely guests and even the weather played along with some lovely hot sunny days. The fun pictures on the right are Roy designing and implementing the Christmas Tree (his job every year and he spends all year planning it) and the funny funky Christmas Duck our table centrepiece. You might also have noticed that weve added the Guestbook comments to our web-site now ...

The double century weekend…

December 9, 2008
The Coronation Double Century Cyclists descended on Swellendam again this year, for the weekend of the 21st and 22nd November. What an honour and privilege for all of the businesses in Swellendam to welcome so many people to our town. What fabulous exposure. What great people. What fantastic fun Schoone Oordt was no exception and we had mad cyclists from Grahamstown, Kimberley and Cape Town staying with us, who, I must add, were fighting over who gets to occupy the whole guesthouse for next year We organised a braai for the Saturday evening after the race, which turned into a ...

Weltevrede and Friends…

November 4, 2008
We had a lovely evening with Weltevrede Wine Estate and Friends Caterers at Schoone Oordt last Thursday evening. Hanli invited a host of Swellendam guesthouse owners to sample her scrumptious fare and listen to Philip discuss (and sample) his delicious wines. It was the launch of their coffee shop and restaurant on the Weltevrede Estate and judging by the tastings of both the wine and the food, it is definitely worth a special visit. My favourite bubbly made in the cap de classique tradition, is ‘The Ring’, probably because it has the most beautiful story attached. ‘The ...

Sonja & Heinrichs Winter Wedding

October 7, 2008
On the 16th August, on what turned out to be a gorgeously sunny Sunday, Heinrich and Sonja tied the knot at Schoone Oordt. I honestly believe that hosting such happiness feeds this old house’s soul, never mind the old souls that live here! We set up one long table in the conservatory for 36 adults and 8 children for lunch and Roy conjured up the most delicious Mediterranean Peasant-style menu… Fresh tomato & basil, Roy-made olive tapenade and mozzarella & anchovy bruschette serve with bubbles after the ceremony… Starters of spicy tomato soup topped with fresh cream & chives served

Wedding Concepts Weekend

September 3, 2008
Quite shortly after Aleit and Karla came to stay, Christina and Richard from Wedding Concepts www.weddingconcepts.co.za came up for a weekend. I’d met Christina a few years back when she’d co-ordinated a very good friend of mine’s wedding, so it was a bit of a reunion. She did such an amazing job on Erlank & Gaiti’s very special day that she really impressed me. So it was with a bit of trepidation that we showed off Schoone Oordt. Would we meet her exacting standards? We needn’t ...

Catching up on Schoone news

August 20, 2008
I am terribly behind on my diary pages and such a lot has been happening at Schoone Oordt lately – very exciting things, but I must begin at the beginning! We had the most amazing kuier (visit) weekend with Aleit and Karla a little while ago. They are two of the very best wedding co-ordinators in Cape Town and they came to suss out our venue, have a look at the conservatory and let us know if they thought we could have beautiful weddings here. We ate delicious food, drank a little too much red wine and laughed… a lot!

The Conservatory…

June 7, 2008
I wanted to take a picture of Richard straddling the roof attaching the broekie lace (filigree), but I just missed him. So, took pictures of the completed project instead. The conservatory is looking so stunning! The last time he was up that high, he was working inside the conservatory, screwing planks or wood or something and the ladder slipped! Was pretty frightening as he fell with a drill in his hand. Luckily, he cracked a bone in his foot and had a few bruises, but nothing more. Richard has done so much of the work on this property himself that ...

Some new pics…

June 4, 2008
Well, its been very quiet at Schoone Oordt lately. It being that sort of middle season where its not cold enough for people to want to get out of the city yet, but its definitely no longer summer! Weve been wanting to update our web-site pictures for a while, but really want to do it in one go and have been waiting for the conservatory to be finished properly and the gardens to grow. I think we will update all of the pictures in September this year – beautiful Spring time. In the meantime though, Bruce has taken some lovely

Bedine’s Wedding…

May 29, 2008
The weekend after the cyclists left, we welcomed Bedine Rossouw’s close family and friends to Schoone Oordt. Bedine, along with her mom, dad, sisters and maid of honour spent the day here getting ready for the momentous occasion. There were moments of panic as the heavens opened in the morning and there was a definite chill in the air! The story goes, however, that on any important occasion in Bedine’s life, it rains, so it was hardly surprising, but not terribly pleasant. Towards the afternoon, it stopped and then as she walked down the aisle, the ...

The Cape Epic 2008

April 10, 2008
The 1st April was an important day for us. We opened two new rooms to accommodate a lovely booking from the Shane Thomson Cycling Team (Fullimput 1387) for the Cape Epic. Just in time for the end of season, granted, but at least they’re open and habitable now! This brings us to a 7 bedroom guesthouse. We’re hoping to have the final 2 rooms fitted (they’re already built) by September of this year. The guys were great – just real, down to earth people and lovely to have around! There were all sorts of interesting things going on through the

Easter 2008…

April 9, 2008
It’s amazing how quickly time goes… I’ve been wanting to upload the pics from Easter for, well 3 weeks now. We had such a brilliant Easter weekend – chock a block full with South African guests. Well, almost… Ray comes from the UK originally, but he lives in SA now. It was such fun! On Easter Sunday we had a traditional South African braai with lovely marinated lamb chops, thai marinated chicken thighs, boerie (sausage), spiced pork ribbetjies, oven-baked potatoes, thai-style green bean salad and a deliciously fresh green salad with my ...

Willem & Linda catching the last rays of afternoon sun…

March 18, 2008
Two brilliant Netherlanders, Willem & Linda called us en route to Cape Town to see if we had place for them that night. We did, obviously and it was such a pleasure having them to stay They arrived on one of those 35 to 40 degree days and spent the rest of the afternoon roasting themselves by the pool. They promised us they had covered themselves in sunblock and we made sure they had plenty of water and a beer or two They had a wonderful time and wrote the most beautiful message in our guestbook: Heel hartelijk bedankt voor

A beautifully nostalgic reunion…

March 10, 2008
Schoone Oordt was the setting for a nostalgic reunion in January 2008. Santa Hofmeyr-Joubert, who spent many happy years living in this house from the early 1970s, booked a few of our suites for a weekend to attend one of her grandsons’ wedding. They reminisced as they enjoyed breakfast in “their old dining room” and the weekend was filled with laughter and stories of “die goeie ou dae” (the good old days). Santa : “Dis eintlik ‘n huis wat uitroep op mense – baie mense hier om te eet en to woon. En te kuier. Op sy tyd was die

Isi and Verron relax on their patio

March 4, 2008
I’ve been meaning to upload these images for a while. Isi & Verron looked so cool in their gowns and slippers relaxing on their patio with a late afternoon coffee that I had to take a pic. They spent the night with us on the 9th Feb and had this to say about Schoone Oordt… Thank you all for your gracious hospitality & generosity at your beautiful guesthouse. Was most memorable. The suite was exquisitely appointed and very comfortable. The setting is conducive to a wonderful retreat, set in a grove of trees and beautiful gardens. Thank ...
A quirky painting of our family | Schoone Oordt Country House

A quirky painting of our family

February 28, 2008
There has been a very bare wall in the foyer/reception area for the longest time and we’ve often spoken about putting a beautiful painting of the house onto it. A few months ago, whilst browsing at the local Swellendam market, I came across a very cool artist – Alida, diTekenar, which translated means ‘The Drawer’ and commissioned her to do a painting of our house with us in it. This sort of morphed into including the staff, the children, close family and the resident pets! I’m really happy with it. It livens up ...