Stellenbosch is a relatively small university town located deep in the Western Cape Winelands about 53km or a 45min drive from the city of Cape Town. The surrounding area, known locally as Stellies, is gorgeous.
Tourism is booming with many foreigners and South African’s booking cheap flights to Cape Town to explore the town’s lovely atmosphere and experience it for themselves. So, without further ado let’s dive into fun things to do in Stellenbosch during your visit.
There are multitudes of art galleries, small cafes, restaurants and interesting curio shops to browse during your visit here. These small stores and meeting areas are sure to keep you occupied and wanting to explore more. The town itself has very strong Cape Dutch architectural influences that are evident in almost every building.
Each of these buildings is beautiful and unique making it no grand surprise that Stellenbosch is South Africa’s most well-known town.
What To Do In Stellenbosch During Your Stay
Since the town is located in the heart of the Cape’s richest wine areas, there are many vineyards and wineries to visit. Often, people forget how much else this little gem of a place has to offer.
There are rolling hills, mountain ranges and friendly people as far as you can see here. The nature reserve of Jonkershoek is also found closeby further up into the mountains. The town is incredibly charming with oak trees standing in unison down most of the streets offering plentiful shade and a picturesque view while driving.
There are many different activities to take part in during your stay in Stellenbosch apart from wine tasting (but that’s also an option if you fancy a tot). From hiking in the mountains to exploring the long history of the town itself there’s something to suit any particular niche here.
The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is located higher up in the mountain passes past Stellenbosch itself. During the summer months, the many waterfalls found here continue to run. However, in winter they truly roar.
Winter is generally a better time to go on this hike as the rivers swell and the higher rainfalls cause the foliage in the area to become incredibly lush and vivid. The hike itself will also be much cooler and easier during this time of the year.
Summer is also a fairly enjoyable time to hike through this nature reserve just be sure to bring an ample supply of freshwater, sunblock and wear a hat as the sun can get quite hot.
There are a large amount of guided hikes and tours that can take you through this nature reserve with professional tour guides showing you the most beautiful places.
De Warenmarkt Indoor Market
This indoor market is found in the bustling heart of Stellies. Visitors to the town should place this particular market high up on their list just because of the absolutely amazing vibe found here.
There are fantastic quality deli foods available for purchase in this market from dried meats, baked goodies, craft beer and wine and other products. The atmosphere here is truly spectacular as the crowds move through the stalls browsing all that’s on display and purchases are made.
It almost feels like the markets of the old world where peddlers would sell exotic spices and trinkets from distant continents and countries. Visiting and exploring this indoor market is one of the best Stellenbosch activities to take part in.
Strawberry picking is easily one of the most entertaining things to do around Stellenbosch with family and friends. During the middle of spring, strawberry picking is at it’s best as the berries become a lustrous shade of red and grow to larger sizes. These strawberry farms are nestled between the rolling hills of the Cape Winelands.
There are many farms that dot the landscape around Stellenbosch where rows of strawberries are grown under the South African sun. The view of the mountains from these farms is usually spectacular! Nothing beats a day of picking the best strawberries with your loved ones and enjoying them under the shade of a nearby tree.
Other Interesting Things To Do In Stellenbosch
There are many activities to keep you occupied during your visit here. Stellenbosch has evolved into a university town over the years as more people go study at Stellenbosch University. This has caused the nightlife to start booming as younger people head to the local clubs and bars after a hard day studying or to celebrate the end of exams.
Let’s look at some of the other interesting things to do during your stay here.
The Stellies Nightlife
When it comes to things to do in Stellenbosch at night rest assured that there are many interesting clubs and bars spread around its main strip to keep you happily occupied. Try the balcony bars located on second and third stories for amazing views of the bustle down below and the nightlights. Or head to the clubs with multiple dance floors and music styles.
Most of the locals in Stellenbosch are incredibly friendly and welcoming to visitors. You’re sure to meet interesting folks while out on the town for the night and may even forge lasting friendships.
Museums And The History Of Stellenbosch
The town of Stellenbosch originally began way back in 1679 by the governor of the Cape Town colony at the time. The town rapidly began to grow, so quickly in fact that it became a full-fledged independent municipality within a decade of it being founded.
There are many museums that can be found throughout the town that explain the history and growth of Stellenbosch throughout the years. They contain exhibits and interesting facts on some of the more tumultuous periods in Stellenbosch’s history such as the massive fires that the town survived way back in 1710.
There are tours that can take you through the well-known museums. The guides will be able to answer any questions you may have and give you further insight into the unique nature of the town itself.
Final Thoughts On Stellenbosch
It’s no surprise that Stellenbosch is the famous town that it is today. The residents have shown incredible resilience and work ethic throughout the years building up and around the town. Everyone here is friendly and welcoming, the experience of the town is an unforgettable one.
If you’ve been looking to visit Cape Town be sure to take a day trip or spend a weekend in Stellies, you’re sure to have a fantastic time!