One month ago I joined 4 international travel bloggers and two local bloggers on a trip to Stellenbosch!
Coming from Joburg (and even living in Cape Town now) Stellenbosch has always seemed like a sleepy student town in the winelands. We travel out there often for weddings and have done a few day trips out to wine farms but what we found that week is that it is brimming with so much more than that and I can’t wait to show you.
Stellenbosch feels like the Western Cape’s best kept secret. A European-style town where there are no malls or centres, just high streets where people spill out onto the sidewalks from the boutique stores, wine bars and coffee shops. It’s clean, the people are friendly and the more time you spend there the longer you’ll want to stay!
As a travel destination it is obviously also about the world class wine farms, the gourmet food and the incredible mountains that keep a watchful eye over the region but there is so much more to it than just that.
I will be doing a few blog posts about my favourite spots we visited but this post is a good overview of the buzzing town: a few sweet spots to pop into, a few tips and some places to stay in the centre of the town.
We visited during Autumn (April/May) which I think is an ideal time to visit Stellenbosch. The colours are beautiful and the days are still warm and dry. There were one or two cold days but it’s the perfect excuse to huddle up by a fire with a glass of Pinotage.
This is where we stayed for the week. Our base, our villa – Oldenburg Wine Estate!
It is surrounded by some the prettiest mountain ranges in the area and the valley where they grow their grapes apparently has the perfect terroir (TER-WAH). Their wine is pretty spectacular!
We had a few opportunities to go around and explore, shop, drink in and taste the town on our own. Below are a few spots we visited.
(The one afternoon we also did a walking tour through a company called Bites and Sites which gave a really nice overview of the town (you cover a lot of ground while popping into a few places to eat along the way).)
Craft. A local bar. We did a tasting of a few of the local beers and ginger beers here. I’m not a beer drinker and I really enjoyed this!
Anna-Belle and I couldn’t resist doing a bit of shopping at The Lot.
There are so many nice coffee shops in Stellenbosch. The Birdcage is one of them. Look at all of those treats!
My travelling companions.
Melvin from Traveldudes, Anna-Belle from She Said and Michael from Time Travel Turtle
All over the town there is currently an outdoor art exhibition of sculptures. A large number of artists were commissioned to create a piece of art under the theme “reflections”.
It’s really beautiful and interesting to see the different takes on the theme.
The town is so rich in history, and the most of original buildings are still standing.
Pop into the original butcher for some biltong.
Explore the tucked away courtyards of shops and restaurants.
Natalie from Tails of a Mermaid trying on a Simon and Mary hat (A local millinery).
Go for a wine tasting and a pizza at Brampton Wine Studio.
Or perhaps rather an ice cream and a stroll through some of the boutique stores.
There’s something beautiful around every street corner.
Where to stay?
This is the Victorian Quarter of Stellenbosch.
Not only is it incredibly charming and historical but they’re so close to everything! If you want a good base to stay during a trip to the winelands I would recommend staying here.
You can explore the town by foot, and from here it’s easy to go on day trips to the surrounding regions.
I’ve listed three places to stay in this area.
B & B and Studio apartments
(This is what it looks like travelling with bloggers!)
We were treated to an amazing high tea here.
B & B
How pretty is all that broekie lace?
4 Star Self catering rooms
I stayed here for two nights at the end of our trip. It’s around the corner from the Victorian Quarter. An ideal, central location. This is a great place to stay if you want to stay a little longer.
The sweet sweet sunsets! It’s worth staying over in Stellenbosch just for these sunsets each evening.
Next Stellenblog posts to look forward to:
My favourite coffee shop in Stellenbosch, a hotel/spa/dining experience for art and design lovers and a botanical visual essay.
For more information about Stellenbosch i’d recommend visiting the official StellenBlog here.
Ps. I also went on to News24 Live the other day to chat about the trip! We also faked our way through a wine tasting which was fun. You can see the interview here.