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Stellenbosch lies in a fertile valley alongside the Eerste river, and is South Africa's best preserved and oldest town ( Cape Town being a city), established in 1679. The town is named after the Dutch East India Company governor Simon van der Stel, who recognised its suitability for wine production. He began planting oak trees and his legacy is a town affectionately known as Eikestad (The town of oaks) with over half of South Africa’s wines produced here.
Like any university town, Stellenbosch has an academic atmosphere and the beautiful buildings housing research centres and faculties is testament to this. Being in a valley, the weather in Stellenbosch is temperate; warm in summer and moderate in winter.
Things to do
Stellenbosch offerings are practically endless:
If you enjoy architecture, the town and surrounding wines farms are filled with centuries-old houses built in the unique Cape Dutch style. Dorp Street is bursting with national monuments.
If you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, the more than 140 wine estates offering wine tastings and food pairings out in the Winelands is sure to satisfy your palate. Purchase a Cellar Door Collection Passport for reduced tasting fees and discount vouchers on your wine purchases.
Most wine farms have world-class restaurants onsite and the town has several fine-dining venues.
If you are a lover of art, Stellenbosch is lined with street art, however, for a more traditional viewing there are four venues worth visiting: the Rupert Museum showcases the best of South African art whilst the D-Street Gallery, the art gallery at the Stellenbosch University and SMAC all showcase contemporary and unusual art exhibitions.
If you enjoy museums, check out the wine museum at Die Bergkelder or take a self-guided walk through the passage of time at the Stellenbosch Village Museum. This museum consists of 4 authentic homes built and occupied between 1709 and 1870.
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For those who are a little adventurous and enjoy the company of other travellers, you can decide to stay at a Backpackers. Often having to share a room with others as well as costs, it is incredibly inexpensive. Often the best choice for those who may be just passing through or will be occupied for the majority of their day. It comes with the most basic amenities and is often formed as part of a bar or similar establishment. Not recommended for those who want privacy, this is best suited for those who wouldn’t mind meeting various other interesting travellers.