#TravelTuesday: Take a trip into the Winelands
Stellenbosch is the second-oldest town in South Africa and is teeming with art, history and culinary delights – most notably wine from the many wine farms in the surrounds. In summer, towering oak trees line the streets, creating lush green tunnels.
When to travel
Stellenbosch’s off-peak season between April and October draws slightly less crowds, will possibly be a bit cheaper and is cooler than the hot summer months between November and March. Because it’s a student town, the streets can seem quite deserted over school holidays and, if quiet is your vibe, plan around this. Stellenbosch is famous for its annual Cheese Festival that offers gourmet cheese tastings, demonstrations and cheese and wine pairings.
How to get there
Stellenbosch is a short 40-minute drive from Cape Town, where you can also access the nearest airport – Cape Town International. It can be accessed by road via both the N1 and N2 using a car or the major bus companies. It also linked to Cape Town by railway serviced by the Metrorail.
Highlights you shouldn’t miss
1. Stellenbosch is in the heart of South Africa’s wine valley. The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is the largest and oldest in the country and encompass more than 200 wine and grape producers in the region. You can spend days visiting local wine estates but if you prefer to sit back and relax, book a wine tour with Stellenbosch Wine Tours. Their guided tours and transfers include full and half day tours and, apart from the standard wine tours, you can choose from more exotic options such as MCC tours or cheese, olive oil and wine tours.
2. For a culinary feast, head to De Warenmarkt. Situated in a historical building dating back to the 18th century, foodies can enjoy an array of fresh, seasonal dishes, choose their own cuts of meat from the butcher’s counter, indulge in fresh Saldanha Bay oysters with a glass of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel at the Oyster Bar, or choose a favourite from the extensive Stellenbosch wine list. You can find superb coffee, light Belgian waffles, freshly baked artisanal bread, and a great selection of fun and interesting products from their deli and vendors.
3. An institution in Stellenbosch, Oom Samie se Winkel in the historic town center in Dorp Street is reminiscent of an old trading post. Established in 1904, it claims the title of longest existing, uninterrupted trading store in Stellenbosch and is a working monument. In need of gifts to take back home? Grab a selection of old-fashioned sticky toffees and sweets, arts and crafts or vintage clothing and kitchen regalia. They also sell the general wares you can expect of a trading store: fruit, vegetables, biltong and, of course, wine.
4. The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden is a collection of 60 of the artist’s sculptures placed in harmony with the landscape and located along paths stretching four kilometers. Unwind and reconnect in the Japanese-influenced garden that has been planted to wow visitors with colour year-long. Indigenous plant species and plants that are extinct in the wild grow happily and come to life particularly between the months of July and September.
5. The Stellenbosch Museum offers visitors a view into historical Stellenbosch. Each of the four houses in the complex represents a different period in the town’s architectural development.