Voortrek Street, Swellendam

Voortrek Street is the main street used to travel from the National Road (N2) through Swellendam.  This street has some beautiful old buildings.  Most of the buildings are privately owned and can only be viewed from the street.  Many are National Heritage Sites.

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The street is very long and we decided not to walk the whole length of it. We first drove to the end of the road and walk around that part of the street. (This part was less crowded because it is not in the central business part of town) We then drove towards the center of town, parked and then explored more of the historic town.
JVDS House

This house was built in 1834 and was known as the JVDS House.  It has a beautiful gable and thatched roof.

OLD BOYS SCHOOL  (147 Voortrek Street)
This building was built in 1825 to serve as a house but from 1870 housed the Swellendam Grammar School or Old Boys School.  It is now the Olyfkrans College.

TOWN HALL (47 Voortrek Street)
This building still serves as Town Hall.  It was built in 1885 but entrance was later moved to the side.
OLDENBURG (43 Voortrek Street)
This well-restored residence was built in the early 20th century.  I love the “stoep” or verandah around this house and it also has a beautiful garden.
OLD PUBLIC LIBRARY (78 Voortrek Street)
This building was built as the Swellendam public Library in 1907.  This is a beautiful building but roof needs a bit of care.

BUIRSKI’S SHOP (37 Voortrek Street)

This double storey building was built in about 1880 and has a pretty cast iron verandah and balcony.


This flat roofed building dates from the middle of the 19th century.  It originally was a church school.

Meeting House, Swellendam
OEFENINGSHUIS (36 Voortrek Street)
Meeting house, Swellendam
OEFENINGSHUIS (36 Voortrek Street)

The Oefeningshuis or Meeting House was built in 1838 as a venue for converting the heathen to Christianity.  It was basically a church but could not be named church. Very interesting is the imitation clock face on the wall with the time 12:15 above a real clock.  It was a way to show unlettered people the time of the service.  The service starts when the hands of the working clock are the same as the painted clock.

BARRY HOUSE (4, 6 Voortrek Street)

Originally built as premises for the firm Barry and Nephews and later converted into flats.


  1. I often wonder how many local residence in a town or city appreciate their architectural heritage. Swellendam is really fortunate to have so many well looked after historic buildings.


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