Stellenbosch sits in the heart of a valley, surrounded by craggy rocks and lush, green scenery. This makes it a dramatic, but beautiful place to stay. It’s known for being one of the first places to recognise the potential of a South African wine route. The first vineyards were set up in 1971, and the route has been a success ever since. Stellenbosch is now one of the most toured areas in the winelands, so make sure you don’t miss it!
Despite its fame, Stellenbosch doesn’t have a large amount of land under vine, but the route itself makes up for this. There are over 300 establishments involved in the region’s key trade, so the only problem is working out where to go! The Jordan Vineyards offers a high-tech and modern perspective on making wine, while Morgenhof reminds us of a traditional French château. It’s also worth visiting Overgaauw; it was one of the first places in South Africa to produce Merlot and is still the only winery that makes the delicious Sylvaner. For something more casual, visit Thelema, one of our absolute favourites.
Many people are put off Stellenbosch when they discover it’s a university town – but it’s not too wild. In fact, it has a very sophisticated air, probably thanks to the high-quality wine. It also means that there are plenty of opportunities for a good night out, as well as a young and thriving art scene.
Stellenbosch is a tantalising spot for food and wine lovers from around the world. It gives travellers a fantastic opportunity to indulge in a range of high-quality local produce. Go on a guided food and wine tour to make the most of the local gastronomy. Your guide will also be able to point out key landmarks such as the Moederk (Mother Church) and Dorp Street.
The quaint Cape Dutch architecture that’s scattered through the valley give this area an almost European feel, especially when you add in the lush vineyards. Look out for the white thatched roofs and intimidating gables (the triangular bit of the wall at the end of the ridged roofs). It’s an old tradition that the more elaborate the gable, the wealthier the homeowner. See what you make of this during your travels.
The architecture, wine and local way of life all speak to the area’s colonial history, but South Africans have undeniably left their mark here too.
Plan your trip to Stellenbosch today.