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Stellenbosch Snapshot

According to Trivial Pursuit the word ‘Stellenbosch’ means “to relegate an incompetent person to a place where he can’t do any harm” – probably how the platteland folks feel when they pack their kids off to the town’s university. Stellenbosch also means ‘undisputed heartbeat of the Cape winelands’. Not only is she South Africa’s second oldest town but also one of the prettiest, boasting a rich cultural and architectural heritage, shady oak-lined avenues, great wine farms and good restaurants, all capped by striking mountain scenery. Problem is, the town doesn’t have much in the way of cheap accommodation.

Things To Do

  • Stellenbosch seeps with rich heritage. The town is made for Sunday strolling – the rest of the week is a bit hectic. Dorp Street is the oldest in town, with a higher concentration of historical monuments than any other street in the country. Oom Samie se Winkel is at one end – Stellenbosch’s oldest surviving trading store and still going strong.
  • Join a guided walk of the town centre and get the low-down on three centuries of turbulent history. Alternatively, pick up a Discover Stellenbosch on Foot brochure from the tourism office (36 Market St) and do your own thing.
  • Jonkershoek, incorporating the Assegaai Nature Reserve, counts among the country’s most beautiful valleys. The setting is one of pine plantations, scented fynbos and fern-lined kloofs punctuated by a towering wall of rock and the Jonkershoek Twins. Mountain biking in the plantation and several mapped hikes are available with permit.
  • Stellenbosch is dotted with restaurants, coffee shops and student watering holes suited to a range of budget, palate and social temperament. There is also plenty of cultural opportunity, with art galleries and live music and theatre over weekends.
  • Do the Stellenbosch wine route. With around 70 estates and co-ops the choice is daunting, but fortunately not all are open to the public. Perhaps go for the smaller estates, which cater less to tour buses and more to personal service. Though getting more commercial by the day, Spier is a popular venue with a heaped portion of side attractions.
Getaways in and around Stellenbosch
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