Getaway (South Africa) - - THE FINAL CUT -

• Va­ri­ety. The ideal half­way stop on the road be­tween Cape Town and the Gar­den Route, and at the cross­roads into the in­te­rior (for Route 62 and the Klein Ka­roo), Swellen­dam has an ex­tremely well-de­vel­oped of­fer­ing across all cat­e­gories, from self-cater­ing to ho­tel, town cen­tre to farm­stay.

• Ex­cel­lent stock, and a lot of it. (73 listed on TripAd­vi­sor; 56 on Book­ing.com, of which 36 are rated be­tween 9 and 10; plenty of su­per­host-rated choices on Airbnb). De­cid­ing on who made the fi­nal cut was dif­fi­cult.

• A par­adise for na­ture lovers. Sur­rounded by moun­tain-backed val­leys that are stun­ningly beau­ti­ful, of­fer­ing wild swim­ming, hik­ing and bik­ing, the real gems are lo­cated out­side town. I par­tic­u­larly loved the pic­turesque Her­mitage Val­ley (about five kilo­me­tres from the cen­tre), and three of the fi­nal eight fea­tured are lo­cated here.

• Fab­u­lous, gen­er­ous hosts. It may be one of the most pop­u­lar stopovers in the Cape, but no one is rest­ing on their lau­rels.

This is par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent in the self-cater­ing cat­e­gory – aside from the ex­pected ba­sics (tea, cof­fee, sugar, salt, pep­per), most also sup­ply com­pli­men­tary wood, char­coal, fire­lighters, milk, rusks/bis­cuits and more.

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