Sometimes called ‘Eikestad’ (Town of Oaks), Stellenbosch is the oldest town in South Africa immediately after Cape Town, a forty five minute drive away. Founded in 1679 by governor Simon van der Stel, the Stellenbosch Wine Route is the country’s earliest and arguably the most acclaimed. Having been set up in 1971, today it offers 106 cellars in the wonderful Jonkershoek valley.
Modern Stellenbosch is a buzzing town populated by students, academics, business people and their families. Don’t overlook Dorp Street, a national monument with certainly one of the longest rows of historically conserved properties – including Georgian, Cape Dutch and Victoria architecture – in South Africa.
With scores of open-air cafes, restaurants, galleries, retailers, hotels and guest houses – a great many housed in these traditional architectural structures – it’s the perfect base for a winelands adventure. Then there is the wine route , with around 130 wineries and 5 sub-routes, known for their wine production – notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc. The five sub-routes are Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Berg and Stellenbosch Hills.
Half and full day wine excursions are very successful and can be arranged at the tourism office. On the other hand, you are more than welcome to get yourself to one or more of the wine estates even though that would mean the driver missing out on trying any of the wine.
You will find a wide range of hotels to choose from from camp sites, youth hostels, B&Bs right up to luxurious hotels. The requirements of each and every type of visitor are catered for which is excellent for the independent visitor to use as a starting point to check out the numerous sight-seeing opportunities of the Western Cape.
The best way to orientate yourself is usually to join one of the regular walking tours that set out from from the tourism office at 11am and 3pm each day. Alternatively, you’re able to investigate alone and footmaps are available. As Stellenbosch lies in a valley, there’s also hiking routes outside of the town which enable you to soak up some of the marvelous landscapes and nature.
The Cape Winelands are one of the more popular areas for visitors in the Western Cape.. Unique version for reprint here: Cape Winelands – Introducing Stellenbosch.