There’s more to this old town than fine wine… though there’s plenty of that, too...
It’s called the winelands for good reason… But there’s a lot more to South Africa’s second-oldest town than wine. Rich in history and culture, and surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and nature reserves, Stellenbosch has enough outdoor activities, museums, galleries and travel experiences to make it a must-visit destination even for those who are not culinarily inclined.
That said, the bon vivants among us will feel like they’ve died and gone to gourmand heaven when visiting the city of oaks, as there’s plenty of eating, drinking, and living it up to be done. Here are the best things to do in Stellenbosch:
Go hiking in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
In summer, there’s nothing better than sitting under a waterfall to cool off after a long, rewarding hike. In winter, sitting under icy water? Um, not so much… But, we can still recommend this hike that passes through the beautiful Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, which is particularly lush and pretty in winter.
When Monday – Sunday, 7.30am – 4pm
Cost R40 (adults), R20 (children)
Contact 021 483 0190,
Location Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch
Hop on a Tuk Tuk
The thing about wine-tasting is that after a few glasses of the good stuff, you’re not fit to drive. Which is hardly a reason to cut your tasting short… That’s where Tuk Tuk Stellies comes in… Charismatic owner Corne and his team will chauffeur you to and from your destinations while you sit back, relax and take in the scenery of the second oldest town in Southern Africa.
When Daily, 10am – 5pm (weather dependent)
Cost R500 (half-day tour)
R1 000 (full-day tour)
Contact 076 011 3016,
Location Dorp Street, Stellenbosch Central
Have lunch at Jardine Restaurant
George Jardine, the talent behind the acclaimed Jordan Restaurant, opened this exciting eatery opposite the Stellenbosch Hotel in 2016, having earmarked the spot years ago, and patiently waiting for it to become available. Inside, an old house has been converted into a warm and homely space where guests can expect a mouth-watering smorgasbord of chef Jardine’s signature flavourful dishes, paired with some of the best wines in Stellenbosch.
When Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2.30pm (à la carte lunch)
Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 8.30pm (two-, three- or six-course set dinner; six-course tasting before 7.30pm only)
Contact 021 886 5020,
Location 1 Andringa Street, Stellenbosch
Quaff bubbly and shuck oysters at an indoor market
Once upon a time, the Cape was a vital trading post – a docking place for ships to replenish their supplies before sailing on to the exotic Spice Islands in the East. It was – and still is – a place where different worlds meet.
De Warenmarkt, in the heart of buzzy Stellenbosch, epitomises this sentiment. Here, patrons can browse, sample and purchase a diverse selection of high-quality speciality meats, baked goods, craft beer, coffee, fresh flowers and more, while revelling in the atmosphere of the vibrant canteen-style communal dining hall.
Our favourite thing to do is grab a seat at the Oyster Bar, and shuck to our heart’s content – with a glass of bubbly in hand, naturally!
When Monday – Saturday, 8am – 9pm
Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Cost Free entrance
Contact 021 883 2274,
Location 20 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
Go strawberry picking
There’s nothing quite like strolling through rows and rows of orchards with a bunch of friends (or family), filling a basket with fresh and delicious produce. Strawberry-picking season happens every year between October and December at several farms in and around Cape Town. Stellenbosch, in particular, is home to a number of these farms where guests are free to scurry around the fields, picking as many strawbs as they like. So head to Polkadraai, Mooiberge, Mountain Breeze Farm Stall and Helderberg for some strawberry-sized fun.
When Polkadraai: Daily, 9am – 4pm
Mooiberge: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Helderberg: Monday – Saturday, 8am – 6pm
Mountain Breeze Farm Stall: Monday – Saturday, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost Polkadraai: R40 (800g); R50 (1.3kg); R140 (4.5kg); R190 (6.5kg)
Mooiberge: R10 per person; R35/kg
Helderberg: R30 (entrance); R30 (300g punnet); R30/ kg (bulk picking)
Mountain Breeze Farm Stall: R40/kg
Contact Polkadraai: 021 881 3303,
Mooiberge: 021 881 3222
Helderberg: 021 855 4308,
Mountain Breeze Farm Stall: 021 880 1700
Location Polkadraai: M12 Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch
Mooiberge: Strand Road, R44, Stellenbosch
Helderberg: Klein Helderbergpad Road, Stellenbosch
Mountain Breeze Farm Stall: R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West
Take a walk down Dorp Street
This oak-lined street is famous for its heritage buildings, museums and coffee shops. The old Lutheran Church (also an art gallery) overlooks the street, providing a fitting backdrop for a stroll down history lane, while taking in the classic Cape Dutch architecture and rich cultural heritage on display.
Location Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch
Enjoy a starlit concert
The Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, with its beautiful Spanish architecture and wonderful views of the Stellenbosch mountains and vineyards, must surely be one of the most magical open-air theatres in the world. And, for the past 40 years, it has been a popular performance venue for local musicians and theatre productions, attracting culture vultures from far and wide for a wonderful evening of entertainment under the stars.
What makes the picturesque setting even more special is the wide-open lawn, where concert-goers can enjoy an alfresco picnic (bring your own) before the show begins. Sundays are a family affair, so bring the little ones (children under 12 enter for free), and enjoy the Sunday Sunset Series on the lawn.
When See dates for upcoming Oude Libertas concerts here.
Cost R160 – R250
Contact 021 809 7473, 021 809 7380
Location Oude Libertas Road, Stellenbosch
Wine down at a Street Soirée
Nothing says “Summer in the City of Oaks” quite like these monthly soirées, brought to you by Stellenbosch Wine Routes in collaboration with the surrounding restaurants. During summer, these pop-up food-and-wine events take place in Drostdy Street (just off Church Street), offering revellers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the area’s superb cuisine and fine wines in the company of fellow gourmands, with the town’s historic oak trees providing the perfect backdrop.
When November – December every year
See dates for upcoming events here.
Cost R100 for a tasting glass and some vouchers
Contact 021 886 4310,
Location Drostdy Street, Stellenbosch
Taste superior wines at Oldenburg Vineyards
The winding stretch of road between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek is arguably one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the world, snaking its way past a handful of vista-drenched, internationally renowned wine estates. One such destination is Oldenburg Vineyards, a family-run boutique winery that feels like a hidden piece of paradise.
The farm produces high-quality red wine, which you can sample in the elegant tasting room, while enjoying splendid views of the vineyards stretching out before the Stellenbosch mountains.
If you’re feel like splashing out on a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, hire out the ultra-luxurious Homestead, which sleeps 12 comfortably.
When Monday – Friday, 10am – 4.30pm
Saturdays & Public Holidays, 10am – 4pm
Cost R90 (includes 8 wines and a complimentary food offering)
Contact 021 885 1618,
Location Oldenburg Vineyards, Zevenrivieren Road, Banghoek Valley, Stellenbosch
Stock up on fresh produce at a farmers’ market
Housed in sturdy, super-cosy marquees (which means rain is never an issue), the all-weather Root 44 Market offers live entertainment, craft and homeware stalls, as well as an awesome selection of edible and drinkable treats. Surrounded by picturesque vineyards and trees, it’s perfect for a leisurely day in the country.
When Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Cost Free entrance
Contact 021 881 3052,
Location Root 44 Market, Audacia Wines, Corner of R44 and Annandale Road, Stellenbosch
Encounter an eagle
The majestic birds can be seen in all their glory at this wildlife rehabilitation, conservation and education centre, located on Spier Wine Farm. Kids will also love interacting with the piglets and chickens at the petting zoo.
When Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
Cost R80 (adults); R65 (students, pensioners, and children aged 3 – 12)
Contact 021 858 1826, 084 037 5523,
Location Spier Wine Farm, Baden Powell Drive (R310), Lynedoch, Stellenbosch
Stroll through a botanical garden
The Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden is the oldest university botanical garden in South Africa, and boasts a diverse array of plant species, both indigenous and exotic. Each section of the garden has its own theme, whether it be water lily ponds, tropical or arid.
Please note No picnics or plant picking is permitted, and children must be supervised at all times.
When Daily, 8am – 5pm
Contact 021 808 3822,
Location Neethling St & Van Riebeeck Street, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch
Do a personalised tour of the winelands
Wine Flies is passionate about (good) wine! Which is a great starting point for a wine-tour operator! So, if you’re looking for a memorable and unique wine-tasting experience in historic Stellenbosch, let them handle your itinerary. The scheduled day tours – which run from Monday to Sunday – take guests to a selection of estates (some prominent and some lesser-known), including Middelvlei, Annandale, Lovane Boutique Wine Estate, Villeira, and Remhoogte.
When Daily, 8am – 5pm
9am – 6pm
Contact , 021 462 8011
Location Corner of De Villiers & Constitution Streets, Zonnebloem, Cape Town
Picnic in the country
Warwick is one of the most picturesque wineries in Stellenbosch, where guests have the option of two picnic experiences: you can either relax on the rollings lawns beside the dam under an umbrella, with scatter cushions and beanbags for comfort, while being served by your own butler, or you can enjoy your picnic in one of the estate’s designated picnic pods. The beautiful setting, artisanal gourmet food, excellent wine and outstanding service make this a picnic experience to remember.
When Monday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm (September – April)
Picnic baskets are ready for collection from 12pm
Cost R550 (basket for two people); R300 (basket for one person); R125 (kiddie basket); vegetarian and vegan options are available
Contact 021 884 4410,
Location Warwick Wine Estate, Between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts, R44
Visit a museum
Stellenbosch’s Village Museum comprises four historic houses that will give you a sense of what it was like to live in Stellenbosch during the 18th and 19th centuries. Exhibitions include the Schreuderhuis – the oldest restored townhouse in South Africa; and the Blettermanhuis – built in 1789 by the last magistrate appointed by the Dutch East India Company.
When Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, 10am – 1pm (April to August); 10am – 4pm (September to March)
Cost R40 (adults); R20 (children, aged 2 – 17)
Contact 021 887 2937, /
Location 18 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
Go wild with the big cats
A wine farm and wildlife sanctuary all in one means Vredenheim is a great option for a family day out. Warm up with a wine-tasting, and then head to the Big Cats Park for a sighting of lion, cheetah, leopard and tigers.
Insider tip You’ll want to be there at feeding time, which occurs daily at 11am and 3pm.
When Daily, 9am – 4pm
Cost R65 (adults), R40 (children)
Contact 021 881 3637,
Location Vredenheim Big Cats Park, R310, Stellenbosch
Visit the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden
This secret garden of wonders, filled with the beautifully intricate sculptures of artist Dylan Lewis, is as awe-inspiring as it is evocative. Wild cats and mysterious shamanistic figures are his forté, reflecting the untamed wilderness, and its connection to the human psyche.
When Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm (until April 2018)
For future dates, contact
Visits are by appointment only
Cost R100 (adults)
Free (childeren under 16, accompanied by an adults)
Contact 021 880 0054,
Location Mulberry Farm, Paradyskloof Road, Stellenbosch
Experience both sides of the Stellenbosch culinary coin – the town centre and the countryside – with a Bites and Sites Dine and Vine Tour. Enjoy traditional Stellenbosch food during a guided tour of the town centre, then head into the winelands in a luxury, air-conditioned vehicle, for a gourmet experience at two wine estates, before being dropped off in the town centre.
When Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Contact 076 032 8234,
Location Stellenbosch Wine Route Office, 47 Church Street, Stellenbosch
Do a brewery Tour
Stellenbosch may be a world-famous wine region, but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy quality beer there. A tour of Stellenbrau Brewery will offer some valuable insight into the process by which hops is converted into liquid courage, after which you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an ice-cold ale or two.
When Monday – Saturday, 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm & 3.30pm
Sundays, 11am, 12.30pm & 2pm
Contact 021 883 3622,
Location The Woodmill, Vredenburg Road, Stellenbosch
Do a Wine and Pizza Pairing
Located in the secluded Devon Valley, Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate offers a well-rounded, child-friendly Stellenbosch escape, with premium wines and delicious bistro fare. Owned by young, entrepreneurial couple, Tom and Hayley Breytenbach, the farm also offers guests the opportunity to view the herds of distinctive Boran cattle – a breed the Breytenbachs uniquely introduced to this famous winemaking valley. And should you wish to stay over, modern farm accommodation is available.
When Wednesday – Thursday, 11am – 9pm; Friday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm; Sunday & public holidays, 11am – 5pm
Contact 021 200 2644,
Location Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate, Devon Valley Road, Stellenbosch
Segway around a farm
Spier is one of those all-encompassing winelands destinations where you can sit outside and eat gourmet grub, browse the craft market, picnic by the dam, or do a segway tour through the vineyards. Stand upright on one of these two-wheeled mechanisms, and do a lap around the estate, with the stunning Helderberg Mountains in the background.
When Monday – Sunday, 9am – 3pm (last tour)
Cost R350 (one-hour Segway tour)
R550 (two-hour Segway tour, includes wine-tasting)
R700 (two-hour Sunset Segway tour)
Booking is essential
Contact 021 809 1157,
Location Spier Wine Farm, Baden Powell Drive (R310), Lynedoch, Stellenbosch
Do a History-Soaked Wine Tasting
If you like cobwebs and history, then you’ll love experiencing Muratie’s tastings that take place in the historic locations where time has seemingly stood still. These include the cobwebbed Tasting Room (complete with old paintings and stained glass); the beautifully maintained, old-styled George Paul Canitz room (which honours famous Stellenbosch painter and farm owner); or amid the cellar’s weathered-looking, old wine tanks.
Here, you really will taste (and feel) a bygone era, complemented by Muratie’s timeless passion and careful winemaking approach – which, in many respects, still takes its cue from the old wine ways.
Oh, and aside from the standard and premium wine tastings, there’s also a decadent chocolate and wine pairing.
When R40 (Standard Tasting, includes 5 wines)
R75 (Premium Tasting)
R60 (Chocolate pairing)
Groups by appointment only
Cost Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Contact 021 865 2330,
Location Knorhoek Road/R44, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Go on a game drive
Situated at Villiera Wines in Stellenbosch, the Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a large population of kudu, springbok, antelope, giraffe, zebra, black wildebeest (and more). The two-hour game drives around the reserve, watching these animals in their natural habitat, are wonderfully exhilarating. And if you’re game (pun intended), finish it off with a wine-tasting and cellar tour.
When Monday – Friday, 9am & 2pm
Saturday, 9am & 1pm
Cost R240 (adults), R120 (children under 15)
Booking is essential
Contact 021 865 2002,
Location Villiera Wines, Corner of R304 & R101 Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Go horseback riding
Organised by the Equine Sports Centre, these fun and casual rides are a novel way to experience the winelands. The outings range from half an hour to two hours, and the scenery is magnificent.
When Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 12pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 2pm
Cost R200 (30-minute trail)
R300 (one-hour trail)
R400 (90-minute trail)
R500 (two-hour trail)
R650 (sunset trail)
Contact 071 597 2546,
Location Wild Clover Farm, R304, Stellenbosch
Hike under a Full Moon
The unique 9.75-kilometre Delvera Farm hike begins at the Trail Centre, taking you through the vineyards before culminating on top of Klapmutskop, where hikers get to experience the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy and Yellowwood Forest along the way.
When you reach the koppie, sit and enjoy the sunset over Table Mountain in the distance, with majestic views of the winelands completing the picture.
When 5.30pm – 7.40pm (depending on walking speed; advisable to arrive at 4.30pm)
See dates for upcoming Delvera Farm Full Moon Hikes here.
Cost R100 (adults, includes shuttle service and map)
R50 (children under 10)
Contact 021 884 4752,
Location Dirtopia Trail Centre, Delvera Farm, R44, Stellenbosch
Researched by Matthew Flax and Mischa Franco
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