Explore The Cultural and Historic Side of Stellenbosch Beyond its Renowned Wineries

The beautiful entrance to a popular wine farm in Stellenbosch

A picturesque town nestled between nature reserves against the backdrop of mountains.  It is home to the 100-year-old plus world-class university of the same name and some of the country’s elite families. The town oozes ambition, with many young, brilliant minds from across the world flocking in to study and explore. 

It boasts the best restaurants in the country and the most aesthetically pleasing cafes. The historic buildings and the natural beauty of this town have made it every tourist’s dream holiday.

A bit of history

The town got its name from the former governor of the Cape, whose name was Simon van der Stel. He established it in 1685, making it the second oldest formal settlement in the country. It was the abundance of natural resources in the area that attracted him to settle; this led to the farming that made Stellenbosch stand out amongst the rest. 

This has since led to a thriving economy that has put South African wines among the best in the world. The town has evolved and reinvented itself, properties here have been amongst the most expensive in the markets for decades

Beyond the wineries

There are 7 nature reserves within the area, 8 museums, including the exclusive Rupert Museum, which showcases only the ‘da crème de la crème’ of local artists, regular markets that cater to foodies, creatives and, of course, wine lovers

There are world-class restaurants and cafes all around town and there are three 18-hole golf courses for enthusiasts and beginners. There are many accommodation options for all kinds of travellers, wellness spas and retreats and a wide variety of activities. 

Some highlights from Stellenbosch

Swimming in the rock pools at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and picnicking surrounded by beautiful views. Live performances at the market or time with wildlife at the Giraffe House, Eagle Encounters or Drakenstein Lion Park. In winter, the highest peaks of the mountains become a beautiful and memorable sight for anyone. The cafes offer the ‘best’ prices as Stellenbosch is a ‘student’ town so prepare to indulge but on a budget.

A close-up picture of bottles of great South African wine.

Interesting Facts

Stellenbosch is 50 km to the east of Cape Town and very easy to access. The local City–sightseeing bus has the Stellenbosch route for your convenience but for some flexibility, you can hire a car to tailor your itinerary. It is an all-year-round destination, although the winters in this part of town are wet. For those looking to spend the weekend, there are a variety of accommodation options available – from backpackers to hotels.

Stellenbosch has managed to maintain its old charm while incorporating modernity, the new architectural structures complement the old ones and the town remains aesthetically pleasing. Stellenbosch Tourism is the body responsible for all things tourism. They can be reached on their landline or via email. Reservations for the reserves are made online and for day visitors, hiking packages start at only R50. 

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