The university town of Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 and named after Dutch governor to the Cape, Simon van der Stel. No trip to the Cape Winelands can be properly experienced without sampling fine wines from the gorgeous region and a stop in the quaint old centre of town.
Located on the West Coast Way Cape Way Route
The spectacular sharp ridged mountains of Simonsberg mark the north-eastern boundary before rising over Helshoogte Pass to Franschhoek, and the Jonkershoek Valley together with the Helderberg mark the beautiful eastern and southern extremities. This backdrop is truly a stunning sight at any time of year, but in winter some of these mountain peaks get capped in snow and add incredible drama to pretty Stellenbosch.
The fertile slopes of these mountains play host to some of the best wineries in South Africa most of which you can pay a visit to. Kanonkop Wine Estate is world renowned for its wonderful Pinotage, and Jordan Wine Estate delivers an exceptional Bordeaux Blend and Lanzerac Wine Estate boast incredible winemaking history (along with a stunning hotel and spa). Don’t forget to stop in at Thelema Mountain Vineyards (top producers of Chardonnay & Shiraz), Delaire Graff Estate (the views of Simonsberg alone are worth visiting!) and Tokara (a lovely deli and restaurant, olive producer and excellent wine too).
There is a vast network of hiking trails to meander through vibrant fynbos (Jonkershoek Nature Reserve has something for all abilities) and the Winelands has many mountain biking and horse trails too.
If wine is not up your alley, try a visit to Stellenbrau Brewery for a tour and tasting in this industrial setting, or learn about brandy production at Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery.
There is typically quite a buzz in town with tens of thousands of university students moving between class, residences and the sorting complex. This adds a unique feeling when walking down one of the old streets of Dorp, Van Riebeek or Ryneveld as you browse antique stores and museums. Try the Village Museum, V.O.C. Kruithuis or Burgerhuis Museum which all share a glimpse into the towns’ history.
The Mother Church (NG Moederkerk) is an iconic religious structure at the top of Church Street, but there is also a mix of architectural styles more notably Cape Dutch and Victorian-era.
Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden is a wonderful green space in the heart of town and even has a small deli (Katjiepiering Restaurant) to sit down for a drink and snack after enjoying the natural delights in the garden.
Quality dining options can be found at many of the wine estates, but there are also lovely spots in town. De Warenmarkt in Ryneveld Street or Wijnhuis in Church Street are always popular hubs.
Lovely accommodation options can be found easily. Batavia Boutique Hotel and Oude Werf Hotel both located in the heart of Stellenbosch are great choices!
Stellenbosch is located on the West Coast Way Cape Way Route
Open 7 Days a week
Distance from Cape Town: 50km
Contact: +27 (0)21 883 3584 | www.stellenbosch-info.co.za/town