History of Suurbraak

Province: Western Cape
Coordinates:34°01′S 20°39′E
Municipality: Swellendam

Village off the beaten track

Suurbraak is a small village outside Swellendam with three names. Suurbraak, Zuurbraak or Xairu, which is the Assequa tribal name for the area. In 1812 the chief of the Assequa invited the London missionary society to establish a mission station at Xairu. Some of the original buildings from the mission still stand today. The mission and the original church buildings date back to 1828 and were taken over by the Algemene Sending Kerk. The cottages in the village date back to about 1883
Suurbraak is isolated and off the beaten track. It is quaint and undeveloped. Nearly all the buildings are on the main street which is about 2 kilometres wide. 

Old-fashioned and untouched

Many people still cook on wood stoves and traditional farming methods are used with much of the work being done manually. Most households own at least one cow and sometimes a donkey or two. Horse or donkey-drawn carts are often seen in the streets.
The name Suurbraak means “sour brake” some say from the thick racket ferns that grow in the local wetland area.

Furniture manufacture

Many of the artisan crafts have died out in Suurbraak with the exception of furniture making. The Suurbraak furniture co-operative employs a group of skilled craftsmen who use techniques dating back to the 13th century.


Local legend has it that there is a mermaid living in the river. The most recent reported sighting was in 2008.

The postal code for Suurbraak is 6743


see all listings in suurbraak

Things to see and do in Suurbraak:

  • Guided village and mountain walking tours are offered.
  • Original mission church 1 Rossouwplein 028 522 1806

Useful Numbers in Suurbraak

  • Police: 028 522 8000
  • Traffic department: Swellendam 028 514 1185
  • Fire: Greater Overberg Fire Protection Agency 028 425 1690
  • Water:028 514 8552 / 8620
  • Electricity:079 3337 823
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office;028 522 1547
  • Library: 028 514 8567
  • Closest hospital; Swellendam Hospital – 028 514 1141
  • Clinic 028 522 1640
  • Pharmacy; Clicks Pharmacy – Swellendam – 028 514 3492
  • SPCA: Swellendam 028 514 2083
  • Schools: Suurbraak primary – 028 522 1826
  • Tourism https://www.visitswellendam.co.za/suurbraak
  • The postal code for Suurbraak is:6743
  • Suurbraak civic assosciation

    Local Listings