The historic farming town of Swellendam will be hosting an inaugural Garden Expo from 4 to 6 November 2022. Swellendam is widely regarded as the jewel of the Overberg; over two days, 18 private homes around the picturesque town will open their gardens to the public. There’ll also be a garden-themed market, several interesting garden-related talks and demos, and loads of fun things to see and do.

Swellendam to host Garden Expo in aid of local SPCA

Garden expo

Activities worth the trek

Visitors can also wander through the Unity Garden, where volunteers grow nutritious, organic food crops in a communal area. For the littlest visitors, the organisers have included a fun scarecrow competition for children from throughout the town. In addition, the Barrydale Rieldans Troupe will perform their high-powered traditional dance, a stunning display of nifty footwork and exceptional musicality.

The expo is organised and run by the Swellendam Garden Club, a team fuelled by their passion for gardens and a love of their town. The weekend event kicks off on 4 November 2022 with a cocktail function that will be open to the public. It will be sponsored by the local Olivedale Wines and a charity auction to raise funds for the Swellendam SPCA.

Jewel of the Overberg

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg and only three hours from Cape Town, Swellendam was established in 1743 by Dutch settlers. The town is easily accessible from the N2 and is the 3rd oldest magisterial district in South Africa after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Today the pretty town offers an eclectic slice of South African life. It’s home to many nationalities and is well-known for its gorgeous outdoor life, for example, the Double Century Cycle race. It also boasts many well-preserved heritage buildings and has incredible bird life and flora.

SPCA Swellendam

SPCA Swellendam

Of the latter, the Swellendam region falls into the smallest Floral Kingdom in the world. It is home to over 9 000 recorded plant species, many of which are unique to the area. Indigenous varietals flourish here in a region fortunate to have abundant water. The gardens showcase the Overberg’s vibrant ecology, including mountains, forests, fynbos, flowering shrubs, and succulents. Also in the viewing mix this year will be the Mayville Rose Garden. This was originally designed and planted by Gwen Fagan, the author of the book Roses at the Cape of Good Hope.

Visitors of all ages will delight in the countrified experience and enjoy a taste of Overberg life. All in all, rejuvenating nature on the cusp of the Cape’s summer will be fun for the entire family. The worthy recipient of funds raised is the small Swellendam SPCA. The team of 3 dedicated staff who run the entire operation has a huge task of covering an area of approximately 4 4000sq km. Their extremely difficult job also involves attending to cruelty complaints in many surrounding towns. Between April 2021 and March 2022, they assisted, inspected, and treated more than 31 000 animals in need.

A worthy cause

Thanks to assistance from the National Lotteries Commission, the Swellendam SPCA has been hard at work on mass sterilisation and vaccination project for the animals in the Railton community in Swellendam. To date, they have treated 705 animals.  However, the biggest blow to the team this year has been the cost of repairs to their two SPCA vehicles to R70 000. Once the vans have been repaired, they will begin fundraising for additional vehicles. In light of this, the Garden Expo in November will help to bring in critically needed funds for this invaluable organisation.

‘Animal cruelty must stop. No animal should suffer, and we live for the day when there is no longer a need for SPCAs to even exist,’ says Jeanette L’Estrange, Chair of Swellendam SPCA.

Swellendam to host Garden Expo in aid of local SPCA

Swellendam SPCA

‘All animals should be treated humanely, and their intrinsic value must be recognized and respected. In the meantime, we will continue to battle abuse and neglect with unwavering commitment, determination, and resolve, and we hope we can continue to count on the ongoing support of the public.’

Many SPCA branches around the country have closed down due to a lack of funding from the community. The Swellendam SPCA is fighting hard to keep its organisation going.

Tickets to the Swellendam Garden Expo cost R120 when booking via

For more information, email [email protected]. Early bird discounts are available.

Follow Allison’s adventures here.

Written by By Allison Foat 

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