Stellenbosch, a quaint university town nestled in the heart of the Cape Winelands, plays home to tens of thousands of students and almost as many tourists every year; and for good reason.
The recorded history of Stellenbosch stretches back to 1679, and it still houses some of the oldest and most celebrated wine estates in the Cape, and in the world.
A breathtaking little town untouched by time, Stellenbosch brings together the old-world charm of Cape Dutch architecture and old manor houses on its many wine farms, with the modernity of its open university campus, home to some of the foremost research departments in the world.
Stellenbosch has a little something for everyone to enjoy, and its this town’s diversity which keeps bringing tourists and students of all ages back for more.
From foodie experiences, to world-class museums and art galleries, golf and nature reserves to craft markets and outdoor adventures, Stellenbosch caters to young and old, leisure-loving and adventurous souls. Some Of Our Favourite Things To Do In Stellenbosch Include:
1. Explore The Variety Of Food Stellenbosch Has To Offer
Stellenbosch is a foodie’s delight, but also has options geared toward not breaking the bank for students or budget travellers.
From popular fast food chains like McDonalds, to gourmet eating experiences such as dinner or a picnic lunch at Stellenbosch institutions like the Lanzerac Wine Estate, whatever your taste buds are in the mood for, Stellenbosch is poised to deliver.
From standard fare like pizza by the slice to vegan and gluten free eateries, halal restaurants and frozen yogurt shops open till late specifically to cater to your after-dinner cravings, Stellenbosch’s wonderful eateries can’t wait to welcome you!
If some people can do a wine tasting tour of the Cape Winelands, why not a dining tour of Stellenbosch? Treat yourself to a seven course meal and enjoy each course at another one of Stellenbosch’s foremost restaurants.
Starters at The Fat Butcher, dessert at The Governor’s Hall on Lanzerac Wine Estate and everything in between, Stellenbosch is waiting to tantalize your taste buds.
2. Have Some Drinks
What would a university town be without an abundance of bars?
From trendy, upper-class wine bars with chalk tables upon which you can play Picasso while you sip your Chardonnay, to your typical student dive-bars which host things like battle of the bands and open mic nights, you’re bound to find the watering hole to suit your mood within a stone’s throw of your accommodation.
Whether you’re more inclined to hold your drink in one hand and a partner in the other at one of Stellenbosch’s many night clubs, or prefer to keep your social drinking a little more refined with a wine tasting tour of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch is more than equipped to show you what you consider to be a good time!
3. Look & Listen – Take In The Art Everywhere Around Town
Not only is Stellenbosch home to a number of prestigious art galleries and exhibitions spaces, but the public art is nothing to sneeze at either.
Walking through the heart of historic Stellenbosch is like walking through an art gallery in its own right.
Not only have talented local artists donated artworks for public display on street corners and the sides of buildings in the mid-town, but some of the historic architecture is also still around to marvel at.
If looking isn’t really your thing and an evening in an art gallery sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, what about listening?
Stellenbosch hosts a Chamber Music Festival every year, and is also home to a number of live music venues.
If you’re more inclined to listen to some Mozart or smooth Jazz live than you are to peruse an art gallery, don’t worry, Stellenbosch is a feast for the ears and the eyes.
4. Enjoy The Unique Shopping Experiences
There’s no place like Stellenbosch when it comes to “shop till you drop”, and no better place to drop than in the Cape Winelands.
Not only is Stellenbosch home to some of the world’s foremost wine estates, but those wine estates are also very often home to some of the coolest craft markets this side of the equator!
These markets, typically open on weekends including Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, showcase locally produced crafts and delicacies ranging from laser-cut wooden jewellery to homemade jams, from one-of-a-kind vintage clothing items to handmade leather shoes.
If you’re looking to pick up a unique souvenir, you have got to visit the Stellenbosch market offerings in order to find something truly proudly South African, and proudly Stellenbosch!
5. Convene With Nature
The Stellenbosch Botanical Garden is home to an adorable little restaurant and a wide variety of bird and insect species like ladybugs, butterflies, and grasshoppers.
You are also primed for a squirrel sighting when you park yourself on the lush green grass with a picnic basket to soak up some sun.
The botanical garden is owned by the Stellenbosch University, and these facilities are free for University staff and students. Tourists pay only R10 to access the gardens for the entire day.
Furthermore, Stellenbosch is home to multiple nature reserves with hiking trails, outdoor gym equipment and endless opportunities to explore the great Cape Winelands’ outdoors.
Also Read – 7 Nature Reserves In Stellenbosch You Can Visit
6. Take A Day And Play Some Golf
If golf is your game, you’ve come to the right place!
There’s nothing quite like a game of golf under the warm rays of the Stellenbosch sun.
With a wide variety of golf courses, often situated on some of the most beautiful wine estates Stellenbosch has to offer, you’re spoilt for choice, and can play a new course every day of your holiday if you so desire!
With reasonable rates, especially when the exchange rate is in your favour, you can play a game every day and still have money left over to enjoy the 19th hole when you’re done.
Visit the driving range, play a quick 9 holes or go the whole nine yards with an 18 hole day at the golf course and enjoy the bright blue Stellenbosch sky, and some delectable craft beers on tap at the estates’ watering holes.
For more information on the specifics of wining, dining, playing, exploring, spending and convening with nature in sunny Stellenbosch, be sure to check back soon for part two in this, our Things To Do In Stellenbosch series.
Next, we will bring you a list of insider insights into the very best places in Stellenbosch and surrounds to check out great art and satisfy your inner culture vulture.