Undecided on what to do or where to go during your next trip to the second oldest town in South Africa, Stellenbosch? Surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg, Stellenbosch is one of the most well-known towns in South Africa and a great tourist destination with rich history, culture, natural beauty, education and wine. The town offers one of the best wine tasting experience in the country. If you still can’t decide on what to do, here is a helpful guide on the best things to see or do in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Hike the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Ready for adventure? Head to this nature reserve including the Jonkershoek Mountains, with hiking, biking, waterfalls and swimming activities. The fynbos covered mountains of the Jonkershoek Reserve make for great hikes through a striking landscape, varying in length from 5 to 18 kilometers. All Trails have 7 great hiking trails, views trails, wild flowers trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Small rivers also run down the mountain forming two main waterfalls in the reserve. The waterfalls are at their best during winter after rain has fallen. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a beautiful nature oasis and a great tourist destination, one of the best days you’ll have in South Africa.
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Visit the Butterfly World Zoo
Walk into the lush tropical gardens at Butterfly World Zoo and be greeted by the sound of running water, birdsong and free flying butterflies. Butterfly world is home to hundreds of brightly colored, free-flying butterflies in the center’s 1000m² greenhouses. Butterfly World imports 500-800 butterfly pupae per week all year round. The pupae then emerge into the humid tropical garden environment, where they feel right at home. Visitors can wander along the pathways amidst the greenery and water features and observe the butterflies as they flit around. Butterfly world is not only a butterfly park, but indeed a sanctuary for exotic animals, a bird sanctuary, a place where reptiles gets the highly specialized care they should and a whole lot more. This interactive animal attraction is the perfect activity to indulge in Stellenbosch.
A day trip to Mooiberge Farmstall
This busy and iconic farmstall attracts people from far and wide and it’s not hard to see why. Mooiberg Farmstall is a noted landmark in the Stellenbosch. Brightly colored scarecrows attract your attention as you pull into the parking lot and invite you into the farmstall. Mooiberge Farmstall has so much on offer and the shelves are packed with a variety of preserves, sauces, fruit rolls, jars of curried veg, pickled chillis, biltong, eggs, nuts and more. This family-friendly farm offers the perfect day. Grab a basket, and roam around the fields picking (and eating) delicious strawberries at leisure. Your ‘pickings’ will be weighed and charged per kilo. Also, just next door you will find a warehouse filled with fabulous wines, champagne and a selection of spirits.
Explore Contemporary African Art at Rupert Museum
The Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch is housed in an elegant building along the banks of the Eersterivier and is home to the private collection of Anton and Huberte Rupert. The predominant mediums displayed are paintings, sculptures and tapestries. Commissioned by Huberte Rupert in 2003, the museum complements the architectural history, natural beauty and wine culture of the Stellenbosch area. The Rupert Museum currently houses over 350 works, and can be regarded as the premier collection of contemporary South African art from the period 1940 to 1970. The Rupert gallery showcases the best of South African artists such as, Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, Walter Battiss, Elza Dziomba, Jean Welz, JH Pierneef, Lippy Lipshitz, Moses Kotler, Anton van Wouw and Coert Steynberg. In addition, there are also major European works by leading sculptors such as Auguste Rodin and Käthe Kollwitz, as well as French tapestries by Jean Lurçat.
Visit the Boschendal Wine Estate
Boschendal is located between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Western Cape. Producer of organic wines with establishment that dates back to 1685, Boschendal Wine Estate is one of the oldest producers of wine in the world. The farm stretches over 6 kilometers along the slopes of the Groot Drakenstein Mountains. The Manor House was built in 1812 and is a great example of Cape Dutch architecture and has been converted into a museum allowing guests to gain insight into the world of Huguenot wine farming. You are sure to enjoy all this magnificent farm has to offer; award winning wine and food experiences, a rich heritage and specular natural landscapes. It is definitely a must-visit in Stellenbosch for a wine tasting experience of lifetime.
Discover Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery
Brandy enthusiast or not, a visit to Van Ryn’s brandy distillery is well worth it. With the arrival of Dutch immigrant Jan van Ryn to the Cape in 1845, Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery in Stellenbosch was built in 1905, and the original building remains. The stone in its walls are from the nearby Eerste River, and the river further plays a role as it runs beneath the cellar making for perfectly cool storage conditions. For those with a sweet tooth, the Brandy and Chocolate Tasting is beyond compare, offering three hand-made Belgian chocolates paired with a flight three of Van Ryn’s pot still brandies, comprising the 12-year-old Distiller’s Reserve, the 15-year-old Fine Cask Reserve, and Van Ryn’s 20-year-old Collector’s Reserve. You will also be rewarded with a guided distillery tour.
Golf in Stellenbosch
If you wish to make golf a part of your winelands escape, there are three world-class, 18-hole golf courses in Stellenbosch and a further six courses within a 30-minute drive. These golf courses include the Stellenbosch Golf Club, De Zalze Golf Club and Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate. Stellenbosch Golf Club is the 4th oldest Golf Club in the country, and changed from a 9-hole golf course to the current 18-hole championship lay-out in 1953. This magnificent golf course has hosted some of South Africa’s most prestigious golf tournaments, including the 1999 South African Open and 5 South African Masters tournaments. Situated at the foot of the majestic Helderberg mountains, Stellenbosch Golf Club offers golfers an immaculate golf course, complemented by a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
At the Devonvale Golf Estate, there is also a driving range and restaurant and both locals and internationals enjoy the challenge of the course with its stunning mountain backdrop. At De Zalze, visitors can also enjoy wine tasting, luxury accommodation and dining at the Terroir restaurant.
Taste 300 years of Heritage at Spier Estate
Spier is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa with a recorded history dating back to 1692.Wines at Spier are among the most awarded in the country. Enjoy them paired with wholesome, tasty food made with ingredients grown on their farm. However, a visit to the Spier Estate in Stellenbosch is far more than just wine tasting and it is better to set aside at least a few hours to relax and explore. Rolling lawns on the banks of the Eerste River are ideal for long picnic lunches with plenty of space for the kids to run around. Picnics need to be booked 24-hours in advance (visit www.spierpicnics.co.za). For a unique African dining experience, Moyo Restaurant with its treetop tables, private tents and main dining tent offers a real variety of African dishes as well as music and entertainment. For wine tastings, the new tasting venue is located on the banks of the Spier dam with stunning mountain views. Here, award winning wines and innovative food pairings make for a unique tasting experience. Wine is available for sale at cellar door prices.
Wine Sales: Monday to Thursday, 9:00 – 17:00
Farm Cafe food store: Open daily, 9:00 – 16:00
Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 – 16:00
Hotel & Restaurant: Open daily, reservations required
Eagle Encounters: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 – 17:00
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