Dorp Street Historical Walk in Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
On Foot in Stellenbosch
Being the second oldest town, Stellenbosch is steeped in history. The towns’ most historic avenue is the very beautiful, oak-lined Dorp Street. The street itself has been declared a National Monument as it has one of the longest rows of surviving old buildings of any major town in Southern Africa.
Dorp Street was the original wagon road between Cape Town and Stellenbosch and most of, if not all, the buildings have also been declared National Monuments. Even some of the oldest Oak Trees have been declared National Monuments. Early Settlers were encouraged to plant Oak trees all around the town, hence the name “Oak Town”, for the purpose of shade, beauty and Historians suggest that the wood from the trees were used to make barrels for maturing wine in and as firewood.
It is suggested that you start your walk at the top of Dorp Street where it meet with the R44 . It is a lot quieter on this end and the architecture is best viewed here. The Old Lutheran Church dates back to 1851 and now houses an Art Gallery. Just off Stellentia is the Rupert Museum if you have time for a detour. At the top of Dorp Street you may have time to double back on Drosty Street to view Moederkerk and a few more buildings and sites of interest or perhaps just relax at one of the many restaurants, deli’s, café’s and coffee shops and leave the rest for another day.
There are plenty of boutique shops, African curios and trinket shops along the way, be sure to stop in at Oom Samie’s se Winkle which has a mixture of antiques and souvenirs you will not find anywhere else. The old Victorian style shop still operates the way it did back in 1904 when it first opened its doors.
Things to do and see
- Libertas Parva, with two front doors – one of which was installed only for symmetry so does not open, 25–33 Dorp Street
- Gigantic old Grape Press at Libertas Parva
- Old Reading Room (Oude Leeskamer), now a private residence
- Dorp Street Art Gallery, old Lutheran Church
- Vredelust Homestead, the Krige Cottages, 63 Dorp Street
- Oom Samie’s se Winkel, 82–84 Dorp Street
- “La Gratitude”, 95 Dorp Street. Described by Sir Herbert Baker as “the most beautiful domestic architecture in the world”
- Stellenbosch Hotel, 160–162 Dorp Street
- Moderkerk (Mother Church), Drosty Street off Dorp
- Village Museum, Ryneveld Street off Dorp
- Burgerhuis Museum, Blom Street
- Miniature & Toy Museum, Mark Street off Dorp
- Stellenbosch 360 Tourism Office, Mark Street off Dorp
Admission is free. Visit the Stellenbosch Tourism Office for all information on Dorp Street and surrounding historical sites
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