Things To Do In Stellenbosch

things to do in Stellenbosch

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As the African sun meets the horizon, the quaint town of Stellenbosch begins to stir. Located in the heart of South Africa’s wine country, this historic gem is full of adventures waiting to be discovered. I remember my first trip down its oak-lined avenues, each corner promising a new delight – from the clink of wine glasses to the whispers of history etched in its Dutch-style architecture.

For those longing to break free from the mundane, let me guide you through the best things to do in Stellenbosch, ensuring your journey is as seamless as it is memorable. Welcome to a place where every moment is ripe for savouring!

Why Stellenbosch?

Tellenbosch is where every sunrise promises a new adventure. Here, the legacy of the Cape Dutch architecture meets the modern vibrancy of street cafes. Each sip of wine tells a story and every meal is a celebration of local produce.

It’s a place where nature is your backdrop every day, and the warmth of the community makes you feel at home. Stellenbosch isn’t just a stopover; it’s where you find the essence of South Africa, complemented by oak-lined avenues and the laughter of its people.

Wine Tasting and Vineyard Experiences

In the Jonkershoek Valley, one of the most treasured activities for any visitor to the Cape Winelands is undoubtedly indulging in some wine tasting. As I recall my own journey, the experience was more than just sipping on fine vintages; it was a sensory expedition through Stellenbosch.

If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the Winelands, a visit to one of the below estates is a must. Whether it’s the rustic allure of a boutique farm or the innovative spirit of a modern tasting room, the wine estates of Stellenbosch offer a variety of experiences that cater to both connoisseurs and curious travellers.

Rustenberg Wines in Stellenbosch is a historic estate where lush vineyards sprawl across the rolling hills

Rustic wine estate – Rustenberg Wines

  • Location: Rustenburg Rd, Idasvallei, Stellenbosch
  • Wine tasting hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Monday -Saturday)
  • Notable wines: Rustenberg John X Merriman, Rustenberg Chardonnay
  • Unique offering: Historical wine cellar tours

At the family-owned Rustenberg Wine Estate, the connection between land and winemaker can be felt.

Here, you can partake in a tasting session that feels like a warm family gathering, complete with stories of the estate’s heritage and a selection of wines that are flavourful and historic.

Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch is a luxurious haven of opulence and artistry, surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and vineyards

Contemporary wine estate – Delaire Graff Estate

  • Location: Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch
  • Wine tasting hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Monday – Sunday)
  • Notable wines: Delaire Graff Botmaskop, Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut
  • Unique offering: Wine and food pairing experiences

Modern innovation meets tradition at the avant-garde tasting rooms sprinkled across the region. But, Delaire Graff Estate stands out with its contemporary flair. Here, wine tasting is an art, paired with gastronomy that adds to the flavours.

The estate’s bold approach to pairing – think wine and spice or artisanal chocolates – offers a fresh perspective on the classic wine-tasting experience.

Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch is a wine lover's paradise, where the marriage of Old World charm and modern viticulture unfolds amidst picturesque vineyards

Eco-friendly wine estate – Waterford Estate

  • Location: Upper Blaauwklippen Rd, Helderberg Rural, Stellenbosch
  • Wine tasting hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Monday – Saturday)
  • Notable wines: Waterford Estate Kevin Arnold Shiraz, Waterford Estate Chardonnay
  • Unique offering: Wine safari on the estate

In Stellenbosch, some vineyards champion sustainability, like Waterford Estate. Here, the wine is a testament to eco-conscious cultivation. The refreshing angle of offering organic wines at Waterford Estate adds depth to the narrative of wine in South Africa.

Outdoor Adventures and Natural Beauty

Stellenbosch is not just a feast for the palate but also a playground for the soul. The moment I stepped into its natural beauty I knew this was where to find the heart of adventure in South Africa.

Each outdoor experience in Stellenbosch is a chapter in a story of discovery. Whether it’s the rugged mountain trails or the gentle river currents, there’s a sense of belonging to the land.

Ubuntu Horse Trails in Stellenbosch offers a unique and enchanting way to explore the beauty of the Cape Winelands, providing unforgettable horseback adventures through vineyards and rolling hills

Mountain biking bliss

If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Stellenbosch, you need to try mountain biking – it’s a thrill-seeker’s dream. The Bottelary Hills, with its single-track trail, offers a rush like no other. I remember the adrenaline surge as I navigated the winding paths – the wind not making things any easier. Here, you can challenge yourself or enjoy a leisurely ride through vineyard-lined paths.

Horseback exploration

Exploring the Winelands on horseback is a unique way to do in Stellenbosch. Galloping through the vineyards is an experience etched in my memory. The connection between the gentle horses and the landscape is deep and offers a serene yet invigorating adventure. And to top it all off, you can even go on a wine-tasting and horse-riding half or full-day wine tour.

Culinary Journey

Embarking on a culinary journey in Stellenbosch gives you a chance to taste South Africa. It’s a sensory exploration that goes beyond just dining; it’s a dance with culture and tradition.

The culinary scene in Stellenbosch is nothing short of vibrant. It’s a journey that will take you from the rustic charm of a roadside eatery to the elegance of a Michelin-star-worthy establishment, all within the span of a few miles.

For foodies, it’s clear that things to do in Stellenbosch must include a deep dive into its culinary waters, where every meal is a discovery, and every dish is a celebration of South Africa. Whether you’re indulging in a biltong-inspired amuse-bouche or sipping on a velvety Pinotage, Stellenbosch is a feast.

Basic Bistro in Stellenbosch is a culinary gem, where simplicity meets sophistication, offering a delightful dining experience

Quaint dining – Basic Bistro

  • Location: 31 Church St, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch
  • Highlight: Vegan menu and great coffee

My first encounter with Stellenbosch cuisine was at a quaint bistro, appropriately named the Basic Bistro. The fusion of flavours was a revelation. Here, you can expect to be greeted with a warm smile and dishes that sum up the town’s rich cultural heritage. From the strong Cape Malay flavours to your more typical matured steak and gourmet burgers, the variety here is great.

Farm-to-table dining – Good To Gather

  • Location: Rozendal Farm, Omega Rd, Rozendal, Stellenbosch
  • Highlight: Pet-friendly and intimate

The movement for fresh, locally sourced food is not just a trend in Stellenbosch; it’s a way of life. I recall a farm-to-table experience where the vibrant colours of the vegetables on my plate were very close to those of the surrounding vineyards. With a glass of the finest local wine to complement the meal, the connection between the land and the palate is celebrated with every bite.

Tokara Restaurant is a gastronomic masterpiece set against the backdrop of the Simonsberg Mountains

Luxurious dining – Tokara Restaurant

  • Location: R 310 Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch
  • Highlight: Wine-tasting paired dinners curated by expert sommeliers

For those who like the finer things, Stellenbosch’s gourmet restaurants, like Tokara, offer a culinary adventure that rivals any global hotspot. Dining under the stars on a vineyard terrace, I was treated to a symphony of flavours crafted by chefs who turned fresh ingredients into gold.

Arts, Culture, and History

Stellenbosch is a canvas where every stroke tells a story of heritage and creativity. To know this town is to walk in the footsteps of its past, to feel the pulse of its vibrant art scene, and to witness the living tapestry of its culture.

As I immersed myself in the culture of Stellenbosch, I was struck by the seamless blend of tradition and innovation. Each gallery visit and each historical tale enriched my understanding of this town’s soul. The art here is a dialogue that invites you to join in.

For those seeking to delve into the arts, culture, and history of Stellenbosch, the town offers all you need and more.

From the halls of its museums to the buzz of its festivals, Stellenbosch stands as a beacon of cultural richness just a short drive from Cape Town. Here, you can lose yourself in the stories of the past, find inspiration in the creativity of the present, and anticipate the art that will shape the future.

Stellenbosch Village Museum is a captivating journey through time, where beautifully preserved historic homes and museums seamlessly transport visitors to the charming 18th-century Cape Dutch architecture

Historic landmarks – Stellenbosch Village Museum

  • Location: 18 Ryneveld St, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch
  • Highlight: Guided historical walks that bring the town’s stories to life

My journey through the streets of Stellenbosch was like stepping back in time. The historic Dorp Street, lined with buildings that date back to the Cape Dutch era, offers a look into the architectural genius of the early settlers.

The Stellenbosch Village Museum, a collection of four houses each representing a different period, allowed me to wander through centuries in a matter of hours. It’s one of the best things to do for history buffs and the casually curious.

Artistic Explorations – Stellenbosch Art Route

  • Location: Grab a map from the Visit Stellenbosch Visitor Information Centre (47 Church St, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch)
  • Highlight: Interactive workshops with local artists

Art in Stellenbosch is not confined to the four walls of a gallery. It spills onto the streets, with sculptures and installations that invite you to look at them. The Stellenbosch Art Route is one of the things to do in Stellenbosch that art lovers cannot miss. Galleries like the Rupert Museum showcase not only the aesthetic beauty of art but also its power to communicate across cultures and time.

Cultural celebrations – The Woordfees

  • Location: ±50 venues in and around the town of Stellenbosch
  • Highlight: Open-air concerts and performances in the town square

The town’s calendar is dotted with cultural events that celebrate everything from wine to words. The Woordfees, a festival that combines literature, music, and theatre, was an experience that stayed with me long after the last applause. It shows the town’s love affair with the arts and is a reflection of the rich culture that thrives here.

Unique Experiences and Hidden Gems

Apart from being the heart of South Africa’s wine country, Stellenbosch is also home to a trove of hidden gems that offer unique experiences beyond the vine.

Discovering the less-beaten paths in Stellenbosch is a journey of surprises. Each hidden café, unassuming gallery, and quiet observation are symbols of the town’s charm. It’s these experiences that linger in your memory, painting a picture of Stellenbosch that’s as intimate as it is enchanting.

Whether it’s the joy of finding the perfect pastry, the thrill of a market find, or the beauty of a starlit sky, the unique things to do in Stellenbosch are as varied as they are memorable.

Peculiar pâtisserie – Schoon de Companje

  • Location: 4 Church Street Corner of Bird and, Church St, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch

Tucked away in a corner of Stellenbosch, I stumbled upon a pâtisserie that felt like a secret whispered down the lane. With a croissant in hand, I savoured a moment of bliss. It’s these little nooks, each with a character of its own, that offer some of the best relaxation and a treat for the taste buds.

Blaauwklippen Family Market is a vibrant gathering place where the spirit of community thrives, offering a delightful array of artisanal crafts, delectable treats, and live entertainment amid the scenic vineyards

Artisanal markets – Blaauwklippen Family Market

  • Location: R44 Strand Rd, Stellenbosch

On a lazy Saturday morning, I found myself in the middle of a local artisanal market. The air was buzzing with the energy of local craftsmen and food artisans. I had a basket full of organic produce and handcrafted cheeses, and in that moment I felt a connection to the community.

Helshoogte Pass is a breathtaking scenic route near Stellenbosch, winding through the majestic Cape Winelands and offering panoramic views of vineyard-covered slopes and distant mountains

Stargazing – Helshoogte Pass

Away from the city lights, Stellenbosch’s night sky becomes a canvas of space art. I remember stargazing on the Helshoogte Pass after a day of exploring the area. That night, the stars stretched across the sky in a wonderful display.

Practical Tips

  • Connectivity: While most places in Stellenbosch offer free Wi-Fi, it’s smart to purchase a local SIM card for uninterrupted connectivity, especially when exploring remote wine estates or natural reserves.
  • Dining: Reservations are recommended for the more popular restaurants, especially during the peak tourist season. Don’t miss out on the weekly food markets for a taste of local cuisine and fresh produce.
  • Accommodation: There’s a range of options, from cosy B&Bs to luxurious vineyard resorts. Booking in advance is key, particularly if you’re visiting during a festival or the harvest season.
  • Tipping: In South Africa, tipping is customary. A 10% to 15% gratuity in restaurants and for tour guides is appreciated for good service.
  • Language: English is widely spoken, but learning a few phrases in Afrikaans can endear you to the locals and enrich your cultural experience.


Is Stellenbosch worth visiting?

Absolutely! Stellenbosch is a vibrant blend of scenic vineyards, rich history, and cultural depth. It’s a place where practically everything tells a story. From wine aficionados to history buffs, there’s a slice of this town that will appeal to anyone looking for an authentic South African experience.

What is the best way to visit Stellenbosch?

The best way to visit Stellenbosch is to immerse yourself in its rhythm. Rent a bike or take a stroll to explore. Join guided tours for deeper insights, especially the wine tours, which are a must. For convenience, consider a hop-on-hop-off bus from Cape Town.

What are the best family-friendly activities in Stellenbosch?

Families will love Exotic Animals World for its colourful fluttering inhabitants and the Toy and Miniature Museum that captivates imaginations. Outdoor picnics at the Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden offer space for kids to play, and several wine estates provide family-friendly tours with grape juice tastings for the little ones.

What are some recommended places for affordable dining in Stellenbosch?

Stellenbosch is full of affordable dining spots. Try the local markets for a variety of budget-friendly eats. Bistros like Gino’s and The Blue Crane & The Butterfly offer delicious meals without breaking the bank, and many wine estates have picnic options that pair stunning views with great value.

Are there any annual cultural events in Stellenbosch that I should plan my trip around?

Yes, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival and Woordfees are cultural highlights that show the region’s best wines and celebrate Afrikaans literature and arts. Plan your trip around these events for a festive and authentic local experience, complete with tastings, performances, and community spirit.


As the sun dips behind the Stellenbosch mountains and the vineyards glow, I’m reminded of the countless treasures this town offers. From the clink of wine glasses to the laughter of children chasing through the streets, Stellenbosch is full of experiences.

It’s not just a destination; it’s a journey that engages all senses and warms the soul. Whether you’re here for the full-bodied wines, the rich culture, or the simple joy of a market stroll, you’ll leave with a heart full of memories and a yearning to return.

So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and come to where life is not just lived but savoured. Stellenbosch awaits, not just as a pin on the map, but as a new chapter in your book of travels.

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