Winelands of the Western Cape – Discover StellenboschBy
Sometimes known as ‘Eikestad’ (Town of Oaks), Stellenbosch is considered the oldest town in South Africa immediately after Cape Town, a 45 minute drive away. Founded in 1679 by governor Simon van der Stel, the Stellenbosch Wine Route is South Africa’s earliest and arguably the most acclaimed. Having been established in 1971, it now offers 106 cellars in the wonderful Jonkershoek valley.
Modern-day Stellenbosch is a buzzing place populated by students, academics, business people and their familys. You shouldn’t miss Dorp Street, a national monument with among the longest rows of historically conserved properties – including Georgian, Cape Dutch and Victoria architecture – in South Africa.
With scores of open-air cafes, places to eat, galleries, retailers, hotels and guest houses – many housed in these ancient architectural structures – it is the ideal 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 tours are incredibly popular and can be booked with the tourism office. Alternatively, you are more than welcome to drive yourself to one or more of the wine estates even though that would mean the driver missing out on sampling any of the wine.
You will find a wide range of hotels available in Stellenbosch from camp sites, youth hostels, B&Bs right up to luxury hotels. The requirements of each type of traveller are catered for in Stellenbosch which is perfect for the independent holidaymaker to use as a starting point to discover the various visitors attractions of the Western Cape.
The recommended means to orientate yourself in Stellenbosch is to join one of the normal walking excursions that depart from the tourism office at 11am and 3pm each and every day. As an alternative, you are able to investigate all on your own and footmaps can be obtained. As Stellenbosch lies in a valley, there are also hiking routes outside of the town which allow you to absorb some of the fantastic landscapes and nature of the Cape Winelands.