Swinburne Village

A beautiful area in all seasons

Welcome To Swinburne Village Home Page


This area is just beginning to emerge as a tourism venue. People are starting to realise that Swinburne is in fact in the heart of the Drakensberg Highlands, and instead of rushing past on their way to more distant mountain resorts, they are stopping here in growing numbers. The area is very unspoiled and, as local land-owners realise the benefits accruing from allowing visitors onto their property, they are opening up areas which have only been seen by a handful of people over the past century, offering vistas equal to anything that can be found in the better-known mountain resorts. There is, in fact, a new hiking trail around Rensburg's Kop, the dominant mountain in this area, within walking distance of Swinburne Village. Other trails are being surveyed and the long term plan is to link a series of trails to allow hikers anything from an easy half day stroll to a gruelling hike lasting several days. In certain areas you can stand on the absolute crest of the Drakensberg range, looking far into KwaZulu Zulu Natal on one side, and across the Free State on the other.

The Wilge River, the second most important river in the Vaal Catchment area (second only to the Vaal river itself), rises in the mountains not far from Swinburne, and flows past the village, giving it approximately 1 km of river frontage. This is a tranquil river, and one of the few rivers in the country in which yellow fish breed. Its banks are lined with willow trees and it provides some very relaxing walks and picnic spots. There are several deep pools for swimming in. Canoeing or rubber-tubing on the river can be very enjoyable in summer.

Close to the village is South Africa's first toll bridge. Built in 1880, it was used by both British and Boers during the South African War - either in retreat or advance according to the changing circumstances of both sides. It was, in fact, known as Border Bridge because, at the time, the Wilge river was the border between the Free State and Natal.

The huge advantage of the Swinburne area over other, better known mountain areas is its easy accessibility and its central position. It is practically the same distance to Johannesburg and Durban on the N3 being an easy 3 hours drive or less to either of these cities making it very popular for family gatherings, weddings and christenings (there is even a unique, non-denominational church nearby to hold these ceremonies). For the same reason, it is an ideal half way meeting point for business people with interests in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and other scattered provinces. A cottage in Swinburne Village would be a very convenient “Corporate R&R pad” or a place to send favoured clients for a relaxing weekend. In this case, the cottages can be stocked up with food and drink, and a package deal negotiated with Riverview Country Inn to wine, dine and entertain VIP clients according to the budget and instructions of the host company.

In terms of rural activities, there is a great deal to do in the area, for example: horse riding (provision can be made to keep your own horses here if required), hiking, trout, bass and yellow fish fishing on streams, rivers and dams. Also sailing, water-skiing and canoeing on a nearby large farm dam, or the massive Sterkfontein Dam only 30 km away. Also river canoeing, bird-watching, mountain biking, 4x4 trails and hunting in season.

Well behaved, trained and socialised dogs are welcome as long as they are kept under strict control.

At the end of a long day in the open, the Hound & Hare is a friendly, casual country pub and restaurant where you can have a drink or a meal at any time of the day, or have your own bag of trout or game–birds transformed into a banquet while you relax and meet some of the friendly locals.