There’s a lot more to South Africa’s second-oldest town than wine. Rich in history and culture, and surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and nature reserves, Stellenbosch has enough unique travel experiences to make it a must-visit destination even for those who are not culinarily inclined.
That said, the bon vivants among us will feel like they’ve died and gone to gourmand heaven when visiting the city of oaks, as there’s plenty of eating, drinking, and living it up to be done. Here are the best things to do in Stellenbosch:
Off-road scooter adventure
The dirt paths and slopes of Jonkershoek Nature Reserve are calling. Hop on a stable, nonmotorised scooter and experience Stellenbosch differently.
Departure times Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 11am; 12pm – 2pm; 3pm – 5pm
Duration 2 hours
Cost R590 (driver); R290 (passenger)
Please note Drivers should be 10 years and older; passengers need to be older than 4 years.
Meeting spot Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Winery-hopping, tuk-tuk style
A unique way of visiting various estates in the Stellenbosch Winelands, without having to drive yourself. Hop on a tuk bus or a small tuk-tuk!
Departure times Monday – Saturday
Half-day tour: 11.30am – 4pm
Full-day tour: 9.45am – 4pm
Half-day tour: 4 hours 15 minutes
Full-day tour: 6 hours
Cost R780 per person(half-day tour)
R1 100 per person (full-day tour)
Good to know Private tours can be customised on request. Passengers should be 18 years and older. Private tours with children of all ages can be organised on request to a range of kid-friendly wine estates.
Meeting spot Tourism Information center, 47 Church Street, Stellenbosch
Bike around Stellenbosch
E-bike your way through Stellenbosch – the town, Jonkershoek and Helshoogte – tasting superb wines along the way.
Banhoek tour: Tuesday – Saturday, 9am & 1.30pm
Stellenbosch tour: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am & 1.30pm
Duration 3.5 hours
Cost R885 (adult)
R350 (children 5 – 9 years, half wheeler)
R150 (children 3 – 5 years, seat)
Please note Minimum 3 – 5 years (passenger on adjoining seat); Minimum 10 years (driver)
Banhoek tour: Banhoek Lodge, Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch tour: De Warenmarkt, 20 Ryneveld St, Stellenbosch Central
Trek Jonkershoek Nature Reserve with a guide
I Love South Africa
The awe-inspiring hike through the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is as magnificent in summer (for a cool waterfall), as it is in winter, when it is particularly lush and pretty. We recommend doing this hike with an experienced guide, considering the variety of different trails on offer, ranging between 5km and 17km (two to eight hours) – and the fact that the reserve is a Unesco World Heritage site of around 9 800 hectares of terrain to navigate!
Our guide offers three trail options including the Second Waterfall Trail (the least strenuous, with a picnic at the waterfall); Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof (between 5km and 7km); and the Panorama Route (around seven hours). While the latter rewards you with incredible vistas, the descent is not for the knee-injured nor clumsy-footed.
Good to know Dogs are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.
Please note The reserve entrance fee of R50 per person is not included in the cost. Lunch is also an additional R150 per person (includes 2L water, a sandwich or wrap, seasonal fruit and snacks for the trip).
Cost with a guide R1 500 per person (R500 deposit is required)
Contact 021 483 0190, email@example.com
Where to find it Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch
Cobra through Helshoogte
Few moments come close to cruising along the picturesque Helshoogte Pass in a vintage open-top sports car. This particular route makes its way from central Cape Town to Overture at Hidden Valley Wines, where you’ll enjoy a picturesque picnic. Of course, when in Stellenbosch, (responsible) wine-tasting is always recommended – we recommend Delaire Graff Estate for its magnificent position on the Helshoogte Pass. After enjoying the unparalleled setting of both of these estates, it’s back into the driver’s seat. Sounds like a day out, you might just dream about tonight…
Good to know The first 120 kilometres are free.
Please note Lunch and wine-tasting is for your own account.
Duration Around 3.5 hours
Cost R3 700 for two adults (R15 000 deposit)
Where to find it 48 Rose Street, Schotsche Kloof, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Visit a township theatre
Amazink’s vibrant atmosphere is immediately welcoming – hardly a surprise given that it’s the soul of Kayamandi Township and Stellenbosch. As the country’s first township theatre-restaurant, which opened in 2011, this fairly hidden spot continues to receive rave reviews from all those who visit. Offsetting the authentically South African experience is a three-course dinner, followed by interactive performance and songs that celebrate the story of life.
Cost R350 (show and three-course meal)
Times Friday, 7pm
Where to find it 118A Masithandane Street, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch
Tree-hop and zipline through the forest for uninterrupted excitement. If you’re brave enough, try the Big Zip – 120 zipping through the air!
Times Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
R90 (Big Zip)
R190 (Monkey Moves)
R230 (Swinging Tarzan)
R280 (High Flying)
R270(Blue Combo: Swinging Tarzan & Big Zip)
R230 (Green Combo: Monkey Moves & Big Zip)
R330 (High Flying + 3 Big Zips)
R180 (Acro-twigs Course & Bungee Combo)
R60 (Acro-twigs Bungee)
Good to know Children should be at least 3 years. Acrobranch Constantia is also a fun-filled obstacle course for all. Age and height restrictions may vary from park to park.
Where to find it Klein Joostenberg, R304, Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch
Explore a farmers’ market
Housed in sturdy, super-cosy marquees (which means rain is never an issue), and surrounded by picturesque vineyards and trees, Root 44 Market offers live entertainment, 80 craft and homeware stalls perfect for leisurely browsing, as well as an awesome selection of over 50 food traders offering edible and drinkable treats.
Good to know The market hosts live bands every Saturday and Sunday, from 12.30pm to 4pm.
Times Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm (rain or shine)
Contact 021 300 3935, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Audacia Wines, Annandale Road, Stellenbosch (via N2, R44)
A bus tour of the Winelands
Explore the Winelands on the relaxed hop-on-hop-off Stellenbosch Valley Route tour. Or, opt for the Premier Wine Bus tour, which includes three premier wine-tastings, a cellar tour (featuring a tasting from a barrel where possible) and a traditional South African braai for lunch.
Please note The Stellenbosch Valley Route tour doesn’t include lunch, wine-tastings and other activities at each stop, unless stated otherwise. Children are most welcome to join – they will enjoy a juice-tasting instead of the wine-tasting.
Departure times Stellenbosch Valley Route: Daily, 9.45am – 5.30pm (depending on package)
Premier Wine Bus Experience: Daily, 9.45am
Duration Stellenbosch Valley Route: 5 – 6 hours
Premier Wine Bus Experience: 6 – 7 hours
Cost Stellenbosch Valley Route: R290 (adult)
R120 (children 3 – 17 years)
Premier Wine Bus Experience: R1 250 (adult)
R750 (children 3 – 17 years)
Meeting spot Stellenbosch Information Centre, 36 Mark Street, Stellenbosch
Visit a strawberry farm
This family-friendly farm offers the perfect day out for little ones (and big ones, too). Grab a basket, and let your children roam around the fields picking (and eating) delicious strawberries. Afterwards, they can enjoy mini-golf (available everyday), face-painting, tractor and pony rides, which run on the weekends and school holidays.
Good to know Party booths are available for hire daily (10am – 12pm; 2pm – 4pm for R500). Bring your own refreshments and a cake, and let the littles one run free.
Times Daily, 9am – 4pm (September – January)
Cost R40 (Junior Picker, 900g)
R55 (Harvester, 1.4kg)
R150 (Professional, 5kg)
R190 (Ultimate, 6.5kg)
Contact 021 881 3303, email@example.com
Where to find it M12, Stellenbosch Arterial Road, Stellenbosch
Almost as old as time itself, this Stellenbosch estate (founded in 1685) captures the very essence of the Cape’s history inside its every nook and cranny. Wine-tasting takes place in the cobwebbed Tasting Room (complete with old paintings and stained glass); the beautifully maintained, old-styled George Paul Canitz room (which honours famous Stellenbosch painter and farm owner); or amid the cellar’s weathered wine tanks. Here, you really will taste (and feel) a bygone era, complemented by Muratie’s timeless passion and careful winemaking approaches – which, in many respects, still take their cue from days of yore.
Cost R60 (Standard Tasting, includes 5 wines)
R95 (Premium Tasting)
R80 (Chocolate Pairing Experience)
Times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Good to know The Muratie Farm Kitchen, is open from Wednesday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch. There’s also wonderful MTB and running trails on the estate.
Contact 021 865 2330, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Knorhoek Road, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Housed in a cherished 18th-century heritage building in the heart of Stellenbosch’s vibrant cultural district, De Warenmarkt offers a range of exciting flavours and experiences inspired by the Cape’s legacy as a trading post. Lining the walls of the restaurant are food and drink offerings to satisfy all tastes, including a deli, gourmet coffee bar, juice bar, butcher, and delightful creperie.
Good to know Enjoy fresh, cultivated Saldanha Bay oysters or choose something from the extensive seafood menu, as you sip on a glass of Simonsig MCC at Kaapse Vonkel MCC and Oyster Bar.
Times Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 9.30pm
Saturday, 8am – 9.30pm
Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 883 2274, email@example.com
Where to find it 20 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
Experience both sides of the Stellenbosch culinary coin with a guided tour that seeks out hidden flavours, all while being immersed in the architecture, culture, art and history of this neighbourhood. Stop off at a rustic eatery for an array of home-grown teas and rare spice-infused sweet treats; an artisanal bakery; a family butchery for biltong and a “Five Senses of Gin” tasting; before ending off at the oldest hotel in South Africa for a lunch platter that emphasises traditional heritage.
Please note Booking in advance is essential.
Departure times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 1.30pm
Duration 3.5 hours
Cost R1 150 (patron, Classic Cape Cuisine Walk with lunch included)
Contact 076 032 8234, firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting spot Stellenbosch Wine Route Office, 47 Church Street, Stellenbosch
Segway tours around Spier
These two-wheeled Segway PTs (personal transporters) are a fun way to zig-zag between rows wines of this child-friendly wine farm in Stellenbosch.
Departure times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm
Duration 2 hours
Cost R575 (driver)
Good to know A training session (20 to 30 minutes) will get you “up to speed” with your segway. Children should be older than 12 years.
Please note Meet at the Wine Tasting Lounge at least 15 minutes before the tour.
Meeting spot Spier Wine Farm, R310 Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch
Experience our country’s second-oldest town – on a bicycle – passing historic sites, Stellenbosch University and through the Jonkershoek Valley. Do some wine-tasting at various estates, a private cellar tour and a chocolate-and-wine pairing along the way.
Departure times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 2pm (booking essential)
Duration 4-5 Hours
Good to know Guided tours may vary in difficulty according to your preferred cycling ability.
Please note “Baby seat” passengers should be at least 2 years old.
Cost R 880 per person (minimum 2 passengers)
Meeting spot Black Horse Centre, Corner of Dorp and Mark Street
Tailored Winelands tour
Tailor-make your own exclusive wine tour with a knowledgeable guide who will collect you from your doorstep. You’ll visit between four award-winning wine farms and do a cellar tour, too.
Good to know Tours are weather permitting.
Departure times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
Duration 7.5 hours
Cost R3 340 (for 2 people)
R700 per person (additional persons)
Meeting spot Collection from any Stellenbosch Guesthouse
Unique, personalised wine-tasting
Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate
For a memorable Winelands experience, enjoy an itinerary that features wine-tasting with pairings at five estates, a cellar tour, a traditional (and light) South African, plus transportation from the Winelands to the city centre. Locally produced cheese, artisanal chocolate and a selection of cured meats will accompany a variety of vino styles (dessert wines, sparkling, white and red).
Good to know Your group tour’s luxury air-conditioned vehicle will have a maximum of 13 guests. Participants should be at least 17 years.
Departure times Daily, 8am – 5.30pm
Duration 9.5 hours
Cost R1 075 (adult)
Meeting spot Pick-up from wherever you are staying in Cape Town (to be arranged beforehand).
Chopper over the Winelands
Fly to a number of wine estates in your own helicopter, or custom-make your charter from one winery to another. This takes exploring the Winelands to the next level!
Good to know You can opt for a one-way transfer, or NAC Helicopters will wait on the ground until you complete your tasting. Passengers should be older than 2 years.
Departure times Daily, 8am – 6pm (depends on your tour, and the landing permission of the estate)
Duration Varies, around 12 minutes – 40 minutes
Cost One-way flight: R16 900 (1 – 3 passengers)
R22 450 (4 passengers)
R33 700 (5 – 6 passengers)
Return: R25 350 (1 – 3 passengers)
R33 700 (4 passengers)
R50 500 (5 – 6 passengers)
Meeting spot East Pier Road, Waterfront, Cape Town (or wine farm of choice, depending on landing permission)
Get lost in a sculpture garden
Located on Mulberry Farm, whose majestic hills and luscious gardens are home to over 60 stunning sculptures created by feted local artist, Dylan Lewis, the seven-hectare Sculpture Garden is also home to a wide range of indigenous fynbos, buchu and erica.
Please note Visit by appointment only, last entry at 4pm.
Times Tuesday – Saturday, 8.30am – 5pm
Cost R150 (adults)
R110 (students and pensioners)
R1 000 (private guided tours are available on request)
Contact 021 880 0054, email@example.com
Where to find it Mulberry Farm, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch
Visit a museum
Stellenbosch’s Village Museum comprises four historic houses that will give you a sense of what it was like to live in Stellenbosch during the 18th and 19th centuries. Exhibitions include the Schreuderhuis – the oldest restored townhouse in South Africa; and the Blettermanhuis – built in 1789 by the last magistrate appointed by the Dutch East India Company.
Times Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, 10am – 1pm (April – August); 10am – 4pm (September – March)
Cost R40 (adults); R20 (children 2 – 17 years)
Contact 021 887 2937, firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Where to find it 18 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
Researched by Bianca Hausle, Adam Lange and Michelle de Bruin
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