South Africa’s second oldest town is most famous for its bold red wines, like with most things though there is much more to this quaint town than first meets the eye. Home to one of the biggest Universities in South Africa, some of the best examples of Cape Dutch architecture and many local farms producing wine, gin and other spirits – there is something for the whole family to do in Stellenbosch. Originally called the “City of Oaks”, due to the large array of Oak trees planted by its founder, Simon van der Stel. The town is named after him today.
One of the best parts about Stellenbosch to us is that in one day you can visit a world class winery, hike a beautiful mountain and end the day at a charming restaurant in the town. The only problem is that there are so many options, it’s hard to choose one. We thought we would give you our three favourite wineries and the best hike to try.
1. Rust en Vrede:
This magnificent winery has been around since 1694 and produces some delicious examples of red wine especially Pinotage, which is a local wine that originated in Stellenbosch. The food at this Winery is also fantastic. When Nelson Mandela won the Nobel peace prize, he as the winner got to decide what all the people at the gala event would eat and drink for the main course.
Nelson Mandela chose Bobotie (a local South African dish) and he paired it with the Pinotage from this Winery. If it was good enough for Nelson Mandela on the night he won the Nobel Peace Prize, we’re sure it’s good enough for you.
Not as big or as fancy as some other wineries around the area, this wine is a staple in most South African homes. The farm itself is set on a hill overlooking the whole Southern section of Stellenbosch, and the tastings are enjoyable. The farm only produces red wine, and the Alto Rouge can be found in all corners of South Africa. The laid back environment, good red wine and some of the farm dogs that pop by to say hello make it a must for us.
Tokara situated atop a hill, with some of the best views on offer in Stellenbosch is also high on our list. With a great restaurant, out of this world views and a good variety of wines to try, this is almost the perfect one-stop shop for anyone visiting Stellenbosch. Don’t forget to check out the local art which brings the walls to life and the art installation at the entrance is one of our favourites in all of Stellenbosch.
This 9.8 Km trail within the Jonkershoek Nature reserve is the most famous and offers visitors the chance to experience Stellenbosch in the most natural way possible. Visitors will need to book online at the website for the nature reserve and the hike is rated as moderate. The local fauna and flora are a sight to behold and visitors love the hikes around Stellenbosch.
Birding in these mountains in Summer is something people from all over the world travel to South Africa for, so it’s well worth it. Always pack warm clothes and windbreakers as you never know how the weather can change. You can also book a guide from the Nature reserve to go with you.
Once all your adventures on wineries and surrounding mountains are done, there should always be time to explore the town itself. The Cape Dutch architecture that makes up this town is beautiful and are some of the best examples you will find anywhere in South Africa.
A stop at the Stellenbosch village museum is always interesting, the museum offers 4 houses from 4 different eras of the town’s life. You get to walk around these perfect examples of Colonial-style homes and can see how things changed in each of them during each era.
The Fat Butcher on Van Riebeeck street is the perfect spot for any visitor. Make sure to book in advance as it’s always busy and if anyone visiting South Africa can tell you one thing, it’s that we LOVE meat.
Our favourite coffee shop in Stellenbosch is most definitely Terbodore coffee roasters in De Warenmarkt. This local roaster makes amazing coffee.