Stellenbosch travel guide
One of the three main towns in the Winelands, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s first name in wine. Walking here feels like a time capsule, because of the beautiful old Cape Dutch buildings and centuries-old oak trees shading the streets, until you see all the students. Due to its revered university, this town is chock-full of bright young things making a fun contrast with the old architecture and even older mountains.
Many of Stellenbosch’s vineyards produce exports that do the country proud. Don’t rush your tastings – pick three farms a day from the extensive Wine Route. Aside from wine tasting, many estates offer tours of the vineyards, or they have great restaurants or picnic spots. You could even go on a wine safari, learn to blend your own wine or have a wildlife encounter. To go with your wine, you’ll also savour some of the best artisan food of your trip, found in farmstalls and also on the wine farms themselves. Cheese making is a big deal here. Simonsberg, Overgaauw and Kanonkop are good places to discover good cheese. If time is tight, the Stellenbosch Fresh Food Market brings it all to you in one place every Saturday morning at Oude Libertas.
Aside from food and wine, Stellenbosch is a town of music. Check out the classical, jazz and contemporary concerts that are inevitably going on. People often drive up from Cape Town just to catch an outstanding performance that may only take place here.
Thanks to 22 Die Laan Guest House for providing us with the following information on things to do in and around Stellenbosch.
You can’t go wrong at any farm, but these are some we love:
- Delheim – Lovely garden terraces and a characterful downstairs tasting cellar.
- Morgenster – Technically in Somerset West, it’s olive oil is worth driving a little further, and the birds on the dam are lovely to watch while you’re tasting.
- Zevenwacht – Stunning setting, wonderful for family picnics and has wedding and conference facilities.
- Neethlingshof – One of the most historical farms, dating back to 1705, with a shady avenue of trees and well respected wine.
- Spier – A busy farm with lots to offer: cheetah experience, music concerts, great picnic spots and a restaurant focused on farm to table food.
- Babylonstoren – Custom designed modern winery, and a popular restaurant that uses ingredients fresh from its gorgeous garden to create exciting dishes.
- Simonsig – Family run farm with excellent affordable wines, they also offer private tasting rooms to hire for events.
- Delaire Graff – The mountain views are unbelievable, you just don’t want to stop looking. You can also view the owner’s excellent personal art collection or browse the diamond boutique.
- Warwick – Famous for their Lady wines, Warwick is perfect for lunch under the trees.
Where to find wine plus something else:
- Brandy: Some lovely brandies are found at Avontuur, Bellevue, Bergkelder, Kaapzicht, Louiesenhof, Spier, Tokara, Uitkyk, Van Rhyn’s Distillery.
- Honey: from Jordan and Delheim.
- Salami: from Beyerskloof.
- Grape Juice: Teetotallers need not be left out from enjoying the fruit of the vine. The following farms bottle delicious grape juice on site: Bellevue, Devonvale, Kaapzicht, Koelenhof, L’Avenir, Morgenhof, Skilpadvlei, Vredenheim.
- Olives: Olives and olive products can be bought at many of the wine farms in Stellenbosch including Asara, Delheim, Del Vera, Simonsig and Morgenster. Visit Murati for olive marmalade.
- Unusual wine pairings: Why not try some of these unusual tastings? Wine & Chocolate at Bilton, Waterford and Zevenwacht; Wine & Biltong/Nuts at Stellenbosch Hills; Wine & Ice Cream at Somerbosch; Sparkling Wine & Sorbet at J.C Le Roux.
- Outdoor & Adventure: Get some action fly fishing at Alluvia, Eikendal, Jordan and Ridgemor, horse riding at Mount Rozier, Onderkloof, Overgaauw and Spier, and quad biking at Ridgemor, as well as plenty of hiking trails. Game drives are available at Villeria and Vredenheim.
- Health & Beauty: Stellenbosch offers the visitor relaxation, pampering and alternative health treatments at a number of spas including those at Alluvia, Clos Malverne, Lanzerac Wine Estate, Spier and Zorgvliet. To keep it up, take home some lavender oil from De Meye.