|The second oldest town in South Africa, founded by Simon van der
Stel in 1679 and renowned for its Cape Dutch buildings, university
and wines, Stellenbosch lies in a fertile valley surrounded by vineyards,
orchards and mountains.
It is an academic and farming community and one of the best preserved
towns in South Africa. Stellenbosch is affectionately known as
"Eikestad" - town of oaks
Stellenbosch is situated in the fertile Jonkershoek river valley
and boasts a mild Mediterranean climate with rainy winters and
hot summers. The Eerste River that flows through the town, has
it origin in the nearby Jonkershoek mountains and flows into the
Sea at the Strand in False Bay, 20 kilometers away.
The Stellenbosch mountains form a link in the chain of mountains
along the south coast of the Western Cape, to the southern tip
of Africa (Agulhas). The Stellenbosch valley was the first to
be settled and cultivated by the Dutch as they moved from Cape
Town towards the interior.
The areas offers superb scenic views over mountains, vineyards
and orhards covered with wild flowers in spring. The magnificent
mountains ranges reach heights of 1600 metres, forming a spectacular
backdrop to the town.
Stellenbosch is a haven for tourists who have time to walk around
and savour the atmosphere of this unique town with oak-lined streets
and ater furrows. Open-air restaurants and cosy coffee shops line
the shady streets and secluded lanes, inviting people to linger
and observe the everyday activities of this bustling village.
Of the towns founded in the Cape during the period of control
by the Dutch East India Company, Stellenbosch is the best preserved.
This becomes apparent when walking along Dorp Street, a national
monument, which has one of the longest rows of surviving old buildings
in South Africa. Dorp Street is a gracious blend of Cape Dutch,
Georgian and Victorian architecture.
Many of these historic buildings currently house art galleries,
restaurants, shops, guest houses and hotels. Talented artists
and craftmen find inspiration in this stimulating yet serene environment.
The University of Stellenbosch is an intergral part of the history
and atmosphere of the town. As the Second oldest university in
South Africa it is dedicated to preseving its heritage, while
at the same time preparing the leaders of the future.
Coetzenburg, the university sports grounds, has nurtured some
of South Africa's top athletes and sportsmen and women as well
as being the scenic venue for many other events such as the Pavarotti
concert and music festivals.
Annual Events that take place are: Athletics meetings at Coetzenburg
(February and March); University Rag (February); Stellenbosch
Festival - street and music festival (September and October);
Simon van der Stel Festival (October) and the Food and Wine Festival
(October). Thousands of vistors flock to the village to join in
the festivities with the locals!
The viticulture centre of Southern Africa, Stellenbosh boasts
the oldest Wine Route in the country, established in 1971.
For a wider appreciation of the area enjoy spectacular views
whilst traversing the four passes which make up the fruit route.
Starting with the Helshoogte Pass to the Berg river valley, over
the Franschoek Pass to the upper Riviersonderend valley, then
over the Viljoenspass to Elgin and finally back to Stellenbosch
down the Sir Lowry's Pass.
Stellenbosch with its beautiful art galleries and interesting
shops is also part of the Western Cape Arts and Crafts Route.
Stellenbosch Tourism Information is situated at 36 Market Street.