Stellenbosch is one of those unique places in South Africa. Known for its wine production, as well as for the Stellenbosch University, one of the premier tertiary education institutions in Cape Town, Stellenbosch is in a class of its own. Stellenbosch offers many attractions for leisure seekers and tourists. The historical town is also known as Eikestad, literally translated as Oak City, and for good reason. Many of the streets are lined with Oak trees planted by early settlers to the area, complimenting the numerous historical buildings dotted throughout the town centre.
The Jonkershoek valley offers many hiking trails and nature reserve areas to explore, as well as picnic spots, some of which allow that typically South African past time. Quite unique among animal viewing experiences in the area are the crocodile park, butterfly world, and the giraffe house.
For those interested in the history of this town, founded by one of the first Dutch governors of the Cape Colony, Simon Van Der Stel, a visit to the Stellenbosch Museum, located in the town itself will provide a fascinating look into daily domestic life of old time Stellenbosch. A monument to a more modern invention, there is also the Wijnland Auto Museum to visit or perhaps a trip to the Sasol Art Museum for art lovers.
One cannot think of Stellenbosch without thinking of wine, and in fact, the town’s symbol is a bunch of grapes. For lovers of wine, the area boasts some 106 wine estates, where one can sample local vintages, or, perhaps, for yet another unique experience, visit the Berg Kelder, a cellar hollowed out of the heart of a hill.
Another estate worthy of a special mention is the famous Spier Wine Estate. Offering traditional wine tasting, as well as a culinary journey through the heart of Africa at Moyo, the African themed restaurant where one can book a tree house table, to viewing of cheetahs homed at the Cheetah outreach, or horse riding trails, the estate is almost an entire holiday experience in itself.
Far from being staid, the town sheds it’s staid appearance and comes to life after dark, with many pubs, clubs and restaurants in Stellenbosch catering both to the rowdy student crowds, and more sedate patrons. It has in fact become a favorite haunt for revelers from outside of the town as well, with many making the trip especially to visit a favorite establishment.
If clubbing is not for you, then a visit to any one of the many excellent restaurants in the area may be more the sort of nightlife you enjoy. With options ranging from the estate restaurants at Morgenhof and Neethlingshof, among others, to a taste of Ireland at the Brazen Head in town, most tastes are catered for.