The beautiful town of Stellenbosch is a short drive from Cape Town. One of the most popular towns in the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch has a lot to offer. If you are planning a holiday to South Africa, you should read my article about the best stops on the Garden Route. So, what are the best 5 things to do in Stellenbosch?
Explore the Town
It is easy to spend a day wandering the oak tree-lined streets of Stellenbosch admiring the Cape Dutch architecture. Firstly you can go for a wander to get your bearings and stop for a coffee at one of the many charming cafes. Be sure to check out the boutique shops and art galleries. Remember to look in Oom Samie Se Winkel. A traditional trading post style shop that was opened in 1907. There are loads of restaurants in Stellenbosh, I recommend taking a look at some of the menus and making a reservation for dinner. Especially in peak season.
Visit a Vineyard
If you are a wine enthusiast, you will be spoilt for choice. Whether you call them vineyards, wineries, or wine farms Stellenbosch has a lot of them! There are lots of options for wine tastings, and vineyard tours. If you are not a wine fan, then it can still be worth visiting a vineyard. Many of them have lots of activities to choose from, including segway tours, horse riding, cycling tours, and even a duck parade! Remember that vineyards will often have amazing restaurants. If you are planning on buying some wine, you will get much better prices buying directly from the vineyards.
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a short drive from Stellenbosch town centre. The name is thought to have come from a 17th-century midshipman. If you enjoy hiking then this is definitely one of the best things you can do in Stellenbosch. There are lots of routes to chose from, however, the Jonkershoek Panorama Circuit is thought to be one of the best hikes in the Western Cape. If you are looking for something shorter, then the Jonkershoek Hidden Waterfall hike is relatively easy. Whilst there is some interesting wildlife that lives within the reserve, you are unlikely to see anything other than baboons. If you are travelling with children, the Jan Marais reserve will be more suitable. It is very family-friendly.
Explore a Farmers Market
Farmers markets tend to take place on the weekend. So if you want to visit one, make sure that your itinerary hits Stellenbosch on a Saturday or Sunday. You can expect to see arts, crafts, food, and home-wares. I have always found farmers markets to be excellent places for souvenir shopping. They will generally start mid-morning and finish late afternoon. The Route 44 Market is a great all weather option, as it has a marquee. Remember to take cash with you.
Stellenbosch University Botanical Gardens
The Stellenbosch University Botanical Gardens is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours. You can enjoy a peaceful walk around the gardens. There is a variety of native and imported plants. My favourite part was the bonsai tree collection, which is very impressive. The Victorian water lilies are great too. If you like architecture, I would recommend having a walk around the University itself.
Visit A Museum
It is always great to learn a bit more about the culture of anywhere that you are visiting. The Village Museum is comprised of four 18th century houses. They have been restored, and even have some original furnishings. The houses provide an insight into the different fashions and design styles throughout the years. If you have an eye for art, you will love the Rupert Museum. The focus is on South African works, however, there are some international pieces too. There is also the Toy & Minature Museum, which is great for kids. However, the collection of porcelain dolls might not be popular with horror movie fans like myself.
Whilst those are the best 6 things to do in Stellenbosch. There are loads of other things to do. If you prefer beer to wine, you can go on a beer tour. There are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from, including golf and quad biking. Whilst there are some places that offer wildlife viewing, not all of them are ethical. So ensure you research them properly.
What are your favourite things to do in Stellenbosch? Please add them in the comments section below.