Stellenbosch overview

Just about 50 kilometres east of Cape Town is Stellenbosch, a city named after its founder and former Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel. In English, Stellenbosch means “(van der) Stel’s Bush”. Indeed, it must have been a bush when van der Stel founded the city in 1679, but today, Stellenbosch is a thriving university town, with bubbling nice ambience, old but great wine farms, street cafés, restaurants, quality wines, historical buildings, museums among many others.

Stellenbosch is on the banks of the Eerste River. It is a town in Cape Wineland region of the Western Cape in South Africa. The town is the second oldest European settled town in South Africa after Cape Town and renowned for its wine, historical Cape Dutch buildings, University and rugby.

As part of his founding efforts, Simon van der Stel had planted Oaks in the Town. Being a fertile area, the Oak grew so abundantly that the City became known as the City of Oaks of Eikestad. In 1710, fire destroyed most of the town; MOST! Not all anyway and that was probably its turnaround.

After the incident, the city was rebuilt into a more beauty and safe place between the imposing Simonsberg and more modest Papegaaiberg (‘Parrot Mountain’). The Oaks rebound in new beauty and they still line the street till date longed whitewashed building—rebuilt from the ruins of the fire incident.

Stellenbosch is an idyllic settling to explore on the foot. Centred around its university, Stellenbosch has a youthful vibe, with wide open arm to folks of all ages. There are many wine estates in the town, just as it boasts of nice restaurants, hotels, parks and many touristy sites and relaxation points.

Thanks to its location, Stellenbosch provides many hiking trails. The town is in a hilly region, sheltered in a valley at an average elevation of 136 m. It is flanked on the west by Papegaaiberg (Afrikaans: Parrot Mountain), to the south is Stellenbosch Mountain; east and south-eastwards are the Jonkershoek, Drakenstein, and Simonsberg mountains.

Stellenbosch’s climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean. There are hot, dry summers between November to mid-February and cool, wet winters between May to July. From mid-February to April is Autumn, while Spring is August to mid-October. You can visit anytime, but the best time seems to be between Autumn and early Summer.

Food and Drinks in Stellenbosch

One of the main charms of Stellenbosch is its wine and traditional food. So, tantalizing your taste bud is a part of how you get welcomed into the town. The restaurants, both in town and those in the wine estate, will spoil anyone with a variety of food and wine, from traditional to continental. Among the snacks, the biltong is a standout. There is also the braai, it is a meal every visitor must be exposed to at least once. Variety of bread is a common feature on breakfast menu.