Country Paradise Guesthouse
In 1743 Swellendam was declared a magisterial district, making it the third-oldest town in South Africa. Through the years a lot has changed since then, but the town still retained a timeless air. It may have something to do with the more than 50 provincial heritage sites in the area. Beyond the rich history to be explored, Swellendam is surrounded by a wealth of outdoor activities for the whole family.
Usually, when I think of taking a break from the city buzz my mind jumps to the great outdoors, but recently we have been on some small-town stays and it opened my eyes to a whole new world to explore with our kids.
Paradise /ˈpær.ə.daɪs/ Noun: a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be - Cambridge Dictionary
Quaint and cosy are words that you usually associate with a small town. You expect people to know each other more intimately than in the city, but words like luxury and comfort are words that fit better in the beating heart of the city. All of that changed when we entered the Country Paradise Guest House.
The front door opened to reveal a blush large lounge and open plan kitchen. I took a deep breath and drank in the space. The guest house offers a main bedroom with ensuite bathroom as well as four single rooms, perfect for a large family or a getaway with your extended family. The sliding doors in the back open onto a lush lawn and swimming pool, and even though we arrived after sunset, it took some serious negotiation to convince the little ones to wait until the next day to go for a swim.
We put unpacked the car and began settling in for the night since we already had dinner on the after-work drive from the city. On the breakfast table, craft gin and a bowl of various fresh berries waited. I fixed two fun, fruity, gin and tonics, and a glass of juice for each of the kids. In the corner, a fire danced. No need to turn on the television. Our evening was spent in warm conversation around the fire, a moment that drew us closer to one another.
You would be forgiven if you were to forget that you are not staying in a hotel because in every part of the house the OENA Group’s experience in the hospitality industry shines through. Still, the kitchen is well equipped for a self-catering stay with all the utensils you might need to cook up a storm if, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing. For those who prefer skipping the kitchen drill while on holiday Swellendam has several restaurants, each with their own flavour. De Vagebond’s lamb shank is one of the best I’ve ever had.
We started our days with a delicious breakfast at Ikigai Coffee Bar and Deli. The modern quant fusion restaurant had my vote the moment I received my coffee in a double glazed cup on a tiny block of laser engraved wood. Origin is a great coffee brand and it delivers on the expectations set by the presentation. Breakfast topped off the experience with both their traditional breakfast and egg bomb served on a croissant executed to perfection. Our kids were well satisfied by the milkshakes they had instead of coffee.
Another thing that you do not expect to encounter in a small town is a play park. Dedicated play parks have become a bit of a staple in cities over the last five years, but small towns rarely have to economic drivers to justify the investment. This truth holds for Swellendam, but the owners wanted to create a place of enjoyment for children to just be children. And the result is an extensive garden path with fairies and dwarves to be found around every corner. There is also a play area with jungle gym, swings, and a see-saw to help burn off some energy.
From the Country Paradise Guesthouse, you are a quick stroll from a couple of trails heading into the mountains. A real treat for nature lovers and cyclists alike.
On the table next to the gin and tonic station, we found a note and a sprig of “Spekboom” the note explained that we the sprig roots easily, and that we could take a small piece of our holiday home with us, and we did.
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Next time you want to explore the quaint town of Swellendam, book your room at the Country Paradise Guest House, the lap of luxury with the warmth and heart of the country.