Stellenbosch, located 50 km outside of Cape Town, is home to over 140 wine farms and the popular Stellenbosch Wine Route. The 2nd oldest town in South Africa, Stellenbosch is alive with exciting wine pairings and award winning restaurants, in addition to expansive nature reserves and outdoor markets.
I have been a resident of Stellenbosch for over two years and daily life in Stellenbosch is laid-back, outdoorsy and fun. Here is my pick of a few activities, restaurants and markets that are popular with visitors and locals.
To see what other locals say about Stellenbosch, check out #visitstellenbosch.
Saturday: Run, pastry, market and craft beer
8 am – Run 5 km through a vine yard
Start the day by joining hundreds of weekly runners, walkers and dogs that participate in the Root 44 parkrun. Held every Saturday at 8am, it is free to participate, however you are requested to register if you are not already signed up with parkrun. The course is fairly flat and can be run entirely at your own pace.
10 am – Coffee and fresh pastry, De Oude Bank Bakkerij
A popular breakfast venue in the heart of Stellenbosch, treat yourself with one of the freshly baked breads and pastries – you can’t go wrong with the delicious chocolate stick or butterkuchen, served with resident fannyChanel ice-cream.
Alternative: Enjoy a smoothie or a hearty breakfast served by the wonderful ladies at Blue Jay Farm located on Klapmuts Road, R44
1 pm – Lunch and wine/beer tasting, Spice Route
Located in Paarl (a short drive from Stellenbosch), the Spice Route is a great place to spend a few hours as there is a wide range of activities available to keep all ages and tastes happy. The expansive views will make you feel extremely relaxed as you enjoy food, drinks and ice-cream from a wide selection of hand-picked artisanal producers.
Alternative: Babylonstoren, also located about 20 minutes outside Stellenbosch, is a hidden gem where you can let the kids roam free through the farm grounds and enjoy a relaxed lunch at The Glasshouse.
7 pm – Dinner and craft beer, The Thirsty Scarecrow
If craft beer is your thing, you will love The Thirsty Scarecrow. Offering over 17 local beer brands (11 brands on tap), enjoy a pizza or tapas with a cold one – including Stellenbrau, Wildclover and CBC. Sample a few on tap with a beer tasting; four (R40) or eight (R75).
Alternative: For a relaxed vibe, head to ‘Cafe Blanc De Noir’ at Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate on Devon Valley Rd – the biltong pizza is fantastic! Open until 22:00 on Saturdays.
Sunday: Hike/cycle, massage, market & braai
7 am – Hike or mountain bike, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve offers many hiking and mountain biking trails, set among 9,800 hectares (R40 conservation entry fee). As you go through the entrance, you hit the 10 km circular drive which will take you to four hiking trails, varying in difficulty and length. Mountain bikers can enjoy many kilometers of jeep and single-tracks.
9:30 am – Breakfast, Ride In
Ride In, located on the road up/down from Jonkershoek, is a great family run cafe to refuel with a choice of breakfast or lunch, in addition to offering bike rentals and accommodation.
Alternative: Enjoy breakfast or lunch at The Postcard Café at Stark Conde Wines for picturesque scenery and wine tastings.
10:30 am – Massage, Majeka House
Tucked away in a quiet residential area, this 5 star boutique hotel offers a wide range of spa treatments including Africology facials (from R400) and the Africa Potato Body Wrap (from R420) . If you really feel like spoiling yourself, stay the night and make a dinner reservation at the award winning Makaron Restaurant.
1:00 pm – Lunch, Blaauwklippen Family Market
Grab a picnic blanket and spend a few hours at the weekly Sunday market held at Blaauwklippen Wine Farm (one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa). The toughest decision of the day will be deciding which food stall to get your lunch from! There is live music, plenty of stalls selling crafts and home made products as well as pony rides and play areas for the kids.
6:30 pm – Get the braai started at home
A braai (Afrikaans for barbecue) is an essential part of life in South Africa – so get the Weber going and eat like the locals!
- Beer *: Try a few of the local craft beers including Stellenbrau, Wildclover and CBC
- Meat: Boerewors, lamb chops and steak is a good place to start….
- Sides: Mielies (corn on the cob), salad, potato salad and braai broodjiies – bread, butter, cheese, onion, tomato & chutney (braaied toasted sandwich)
- Extras: Braai salt, Jimmy’s Steakhouse Sauce and Mrs H.S. Balls Chutney
* Don’t forget to buy beer and wine on Saturday – the shops do not sell alcohol on Sundays or public holidays.