Klippe Rivier Country House is located just outside Swellendam on the Garden Route.
Klippe Rivier Country House: Our full report
Klippe River Country House is unfortunately closed permanently.
Just outside Swellendam, at the foot of the Langeberg mountains, Klippe Rivier Country House (sometimes known as Klippe River Country House) is probably the best-preserved country houses in the Overberg Region of South Africa's Garden Route.
This old Cape Dutch homestead, dating from around 1825, used to be a farm. In 1990 the then very run-down buildings were restored to their former glory, and now the guest rooms are the converted stables, store rooms and wagon house. As many of the original features as possible have been retained, including the ceilings, yellow wood floors, window glass, shutters and even white lime wash made to the original mixture was used to paint the walls. Klippe Rivier Country House was subsequently open in 1992.
Inside the thatched main house, richly coloured rugs and a plethora of intriguing antiques line the hallway, the library, living room and dining room, of what feels like a stately home. All of these large rooms are decorated and furnished in period style.
The gardens are a delight, with manicured lawns, old sweeping oaks and herb gardens as well as a lovely salt water swimming pool.
Klippe Rivier also tries to maintain much of its history in the spacious bedrooms, each one being named after previous owners and decorated in a traditional, colonial design. The white-washed stables have been tastefully converted into six luxurious, air-conditioned bedrooms, complete with an interesting design features and strong fabrics. Original features such as animal troughs are incorporated as part of the decoration.
Downstairs, three spacious bedrooms each have an open fireplace in the living room area and a sizeable en-suite bathroom with separate bath and shower. Each of these has a small garden in front with wrought iron table and chairs. There are also three loft rooms under the thatch, which also retain the colonial ambience and have private balconies offering mountain views. All have heating, heated towel rails, ceiling fans and mosquito nets over the beds.
Klippe River homestead also has a secluded cottage which is separate from the main homestead and other rooms. For the more romantic, it has a king-sized bed, its own fireplace and private country garden, making it ideal for honeymooners. It is also the only room to have a TV.
Klippe Rivier happily recommend a number of day trips in the area including walks and visits to National Parks. Also available in Swellendam is canoe hire, golf, hiking trails, horse riding, whale watching flights, mountain bike hire, as well as waterskiing.
On our last visit, in August 2008, we found Klippe Rivier a friendly, welcoming place offering high quality accommodation in a relaxing environment.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights
Directions: Two hours (220km) from Cape Town along the N2, just outside Swellendam, take the R60 (Swellendam and Ashton turn off). After about 0.5km, at the fourway stop, turn left and drive 2.2km. The tar road becomes gravel and crosses an old bridge then turn left at the Klippe Rivier sign.
Owner: Liz Westby-Nunn
Staff: Manager: Jenny Park (who has been at Klippe Rivier for 13 years)
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: The food served at Klippe Rivier is of a very high standard. They make a real point of using local produce and wines, and herbs from their own herb garden – so you can expect some fresh, fine food at this country house.
They serve a cold buffet breakfast, as well as offering hot dishes.
For dinner they offer a three course set menu with a choice of two starters, three main courses and three puddings all of which costs R195. On offer when we last visited were roasted butternut soup or smoked springbok carpaccio served with rocket and marinated peppers, followed by seared beef fillet with brandy and gorgonzola sauce set on mushroom risotto and sautéed vegetables or marinated quail with sweet chilli sauce set on egg noodles and seasonal vegetables or vegetable lasagna with basil pesto. For dessert were chocolate brownies with homemade ice cream or baked cheesecake with raspberry coulis or fresh fruit, all then finished off with coffee and truffles.
They also have an extensive wine list which promotes local wines from the Breede River Valley wine route.
You can also drive into town and sample one of the restaurants there.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of eight are welcome, and pay full adult rate.
Property’s age restrictions: Children 8 years and older only.
Generally recommended for children: Fine for sensible, older children – but not ideal for younger ones.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
TV & radio: There is a TV in the library.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: Swellendam has doctors and a hospital.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: None
Fire safety: All rooms and public areas have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: No money changing facilities.
Accepted payment on location: Klippe Rivier accept payment by Visa, Mastercard, Amex, travellers cheques and cash (South African Rand only).