- Western Cape
Town of Oaks
Stellenbosch is a vibrant university town on the country's oldest wine route. Situated approximately an hour from Cape Town, lying in the Jonkershoek River Valley, it is one of South Africa’s most picturesque towns. This second oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town, is fondly referred to as the “Town of Oaks” and is well-known for its oak-lined streets and whitewashed buildings. It is home to an eclectic mix of street cafes, pubs, old churches, galleries and museums. The surrounding mountains and vineyards provide endless outdoor adventures.
Most of the buildings are examples of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture. Dorp Street is now a national monument and it is well worth a stroll through this cosy part of town with its water furrows, secluded lanes and coffee bistros. The town might be the second oldest in the country, but it has a vibrant and youthful culture thanks to the University. Visit on any given day and you will find students whizzing by on bicycles or chatting at sidewalk cafés. Stellenbosch is ideal for exploring on foot.
The name Stellenbosch is synonymous with the wine industry. It is home to the oldest wine route in the country and arguably the most famous too. Many leading wine estates are located here with Spier being one of the oldest and most developed in the country. Some of the Wine Estates are in turn home to some of the best restaurants in the country, look out for Rust en Vrede, Jordan and Terrior which have all mad it on to the Eat Out award list of the top 10 best restaurants in the country.
For the nature lovers there are plenty of wonderful trails in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve which include hikes through vineyards, forests, mountains and olive groves. Art and cultural enthusiasts can find galleries and museums scattered all around the cultural centre of the town, all housing national and international art collections worth viewing.
The town offers a host of accommodation from hotels and luxury Guest Lodges to affordable self-catering and camping. The many attractions and wine route will keep its’ visitors coming back again and again.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Spier Wine Farm
- Blaauwklippen Wine Estate
- Thelema Wine Estate
- Tokara Wines
- Die Berkelder
- Root 44 Market
- Mooiberge Farmstall
- University Botanical Gardens
- Dorp Street Hstorical Walku
- Die Dorpstraat Gallery
- Burgerhuis Museum
- Rupert Museum
- Stellenbosch Village Museum
- Moederkerk (“Mother Church”)
- Cape Winelands Walk
- Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
- Assegaaibosch Walk
- Butterfly World
- Helshoogte Pass
- Stellenbosch Golf Course
- Devondale Golf Course
- De Zalze Golf Course
The area receives approximately 802 mm of rainfall per annum with most of it occurring during winter, with June seeing the highest levels.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 27˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 19˚C.
There are daily domestic and international flights intoCape Town International Airport . Car rental companies are located at the Airport.
February – Stellenbosch Wine Festival:Sample some of the best wines, indulge in gourmet food from top restaurants and take part in fun outdoor activities at the three day Lifestyle festival.
April – South African Cheese Festival:considered one of the most popular agri-expos, showcasing a selection of local cheese makers and their wares.
April – Stellenbosch Craft Beer Festival: Sticking to the tradition of beer drinking in October, this festival replicates the ever-popular Oktoberfest. Sample a wide range of beers in a picnic style atmosphere.
August – Die Burger Mountain Bike Challenge: Renowned for its picturesque and challenging wineland routes, riders have options of 15 km, 30 km, 42 km, 50 km, 60 km and 75 km races.
Stellenbosch owes its existence and name to the former governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. The name Stellenbosch means “Van der Stels’s bush”. He established the town in 1679 along the banks of the Eerste River, making it the second oldest town in the country.
There was ample water from the river and the streets were lined with furrows, which brought the water to every house. Oak trees were planted and snug houses built of whatever building materials were available, with thick, heat-resistant walls, doors and windows made of hardwoods such as yellow-wood and stinkwood, and roofing of black thatch. They were finished with white-lime wash. The handmade furniture of these early settlers has become much sought after by collectors.
Stellenbosch was established not simply as a centre for agriculture. With the authorities in Cape Town distracted by the problems of the development of the Cape Peninsula, it became a romantic frontier town. The mountain ranges overlooking Stellenbosch from the north marked the limits of the little-known world of Southern Africa and beyond lay a great expanse of unexplored land. To control the hunters, explorers and pioneers intent on penetrating the interior, magistracy was established in 1685 and for the next century the incumbent of this post wielded authority over an interior without geographical limit. Though in Stellenbosch there was law, order and the tax collector, north of the town was nothing but wilderness. Each year on his birthday Simon van der Stel visited Stellenbosch and presided over a fair with shooting competitions, feasting and games. There he would meet the hunters, adventurers, traders and others attracted to this gateway to the unknown.
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