Stellenbosch is known for its history and university, as well as its status as one of the main towns of the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape Province. There is so much culture here, creating an almost tangible buzz. While the local wine farms and estates are, without a doubt, some of the most popular attractions to those visiting Stellenbosch, there is plenty more to see and do.
After a tour of the local wine farms, the following five attractions are also well worth a visit …
1. The Stellenbosch Village Museum
This historical gem tells the tale of the architectural development of Stellenbosch and the culture and customs that this evolution brought along with it. The museum is made up of four different houses, each of which represents a different architectural style and period. They are all furnished and maintained so that their integrity has not been lost. The Schreudeurhuis was built in 1709, making it the oldest documented town house in the country. Blettermanhuis dates back to 1789 and boasts an 18th century Cape Dutch style, while the Grosvenor House was built in 1782 and exhibits the style typical of the early 1800’s. Om Bergh was constructed in the mid 19th century and remains classically elegant.
2. Nature Reserves
Stellenbosch and its surrounds are wonderfully adorned in spectacular vegetation. There are mountains, valleys, and forests, making for a gloriously varied topography that is a delight to explore. It is no wonder, then, that the area boasts three nature reserves within very close proximity to the town centre of Stellenbosch. These are the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and Limietberg Nature Reserve. Not only do these showcase some of the Western Cape’s finest fauna and flora, but they also have a number of trails and picnic spot in which to unwind and soak up the loveliness.
3. Butterfly World
As its name implies, this attraction is dedicated to the colourful antics of hundreds of different butterflies. This massive greenhouse allows the butterflies to fly freely and is the largest of its kind in South Africa. These colourful delights come from all over the world to live in this climate-controlled haven. In addition to butterflies, there are also monkeys, tarantulas, various reptiles, and meerkats, which make exploring Butterfly World exciting for young and old alike.
4. Stay in Stellenbosch
The accommodation in Stellenbosch is varied and plentiful. You’ll find country-style hotels and guest houses with outstanding reputations offering great value for money or go all outr and stay in opulent luxury at a boutique hotel, but plenty of studio apartments and self catering units will accommodate the budget concious traveller.
5. Walking Stellenbosch
The streets of the town of Stellenbosch are quaint and inviting, flanked by charming coffee shops, restaurants, shops and galleries; or elegant homes. Known for the hundreds of oak trees planted by Simon van der Stel, the town has its own charm and intrigue that is quite unique. Much of the architecture of Stellenbosch reflects the Cape Dutch style. Its history is a complex and fascinating one, and formal tours of the town will reveal many of the tales that make this such a vibrant and exciting little town.
6. Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve
This reserve covers an impressive 322 030 hectares and comprises a number of different ecosystems. This is a UNESCO site, making it protected and well maintained. The reserve is scenic, boasting some of the most beautiful vistas in the Cape. It claims no fewer than seven rivers and four individual nature reserves of its own, and showcases wonderful fynbos varieties. There are a number of sustainable development initiatives being conducted within the reserve, ensuring that it adds value to its local communities.