A not-so-sleepy university town surrounded by lush vineyards, mountainous nature reserves and oak-shaded streets, Stellenbosch is best known for its viticulture, culinary clout and thriving student life.
Founded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel, it’s the second oldest settlement in the country, and its rich history can be keenly felt when strolling through the town centre or the grounds of the university, which date back to the 19th century.
Just under 40km from Franschhoek, Stellenbosch offers a breathtaking change of scenery, and an abundance of culinary and cultural variety, making it the perfect place for a leisurely day trip.
Here are a few of our favourite ways to while away the day in ‘Stellies’:
Food with a view
Like its sister valleys, Franschhoek and Paarl, Stellenbosch boasts a host of award-winning restaurants where you can wine and dine to your heart’s content. “Stellies” flexes its culinary muscles with restaurants such as the must-visit Overture, situated high on the hills of Hidden Valley Wine Estate. Presided over by renowned chef, Bertus Basson, the picturesque restaurant regularly places in the top ten in Eat Out Awards, offering spectacular food, panoramic views and a selection of award-winning wines.
Across town, The Table at De Meye offers a sumptuous farm-to-table dining experience, which can be enjoyed on the estate’s lush lawns under swathes of grand oak trees. Using produce foraged from the gardens, the owners create a series of theatrical food experiences sure to lure you back for more.
Tel: 021 880 2721 or 021 006 1039
Tel: 072 696 0530
Go to market
Nothing compares to spending an afternoon leisurely browsing a stall-filled market bursting at the seams with antiques, leather goods, clothing, jewellery and homeware. The Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch ticks the retail therapy box, and offers you an opportunity to soak up live entertainment while delighting your palate with an intriguing selection of edible and drinkable treats.
Come rain or shine, the well-equipped marquees, set in gorgeous vineyards, make a perfect setting for a leisurely browsing session, replete with sumptuous tasters and plentiful sips of local wine.
Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 – 16h00
Tel: 021 881 3052
Explore the great outdoors
No visit to Stellenbosch would be complete without a stop at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, a world heritage site characterised by sprawling mountains and lush fynbos. Situated a mere 9km from Stellenbosch on the Jonkershoek Valley Road, the reserve offers a series of footpaths and trails, suitable for novices and ardent trail runners alike.
With plenty of rock pools and waterfalls to discover as you explore the reserve’s trails, Jonkershoek is the ideal spot for a big day out exploring nature. Make sure to stop in at Stark Condé wines on your way home, and soak up the picture perfect views from the winery’s unique tasting room, situated right in the middle of a sprawling lake.
Open from 08h00 -18h00
Call: 021 808 8160