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Revision as of 10:40, 2 September 2010
Stellenbosch  (pop. about 100.000) is a city in the Western Cape of South Africa and is the heart of the Cape Winelands, South Africa's prime wine region.
The Stellenbosch Powder House, surrounded by the oaks for which the city is famous
Stellenbosch (founded in 1679) is about 50 km east of Cape Town and is the second oldest town in South Africa. It was named (like Simon's Town) after the former Governor Simon van der Stel. The town is situated on the banks of the Eerste River ('First River') and has some fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture. It is also known as 'Eikestad' ('Oak City') because of its oak tree lined streets. Wines from the Stellenbosch region are known internationally and rank among the best in the world. Stellenbosch is also home to one of the country's oldest established universities with over 25000 students. There is a bustling night life during the university term-time, with many night clubs catering for young people.
A van service runs from hostels in Cape Town to Stellenbosch for about R120/pp, depending on how many passengers there are (just one and it's R200). The main bus companies also go to Stellenbosch.
MetroRail  operates a regular train service to Stellenbosch from Cape Town via Bellville. Check the schedule, as trains do not run very often. It is also advisable to travel in groups and avoid busy travel times in the morning and evening on weekdays. The train station is on Adam Tas Street, on the western edge of town ; it is only a few minutes walk from the station to the city centre.
Stellenbosch has its own airfield but the nearest international airport is near Cape Town. Cape Town International airport is about 35 minutes away by car and airport shuttle service is available.
Stellenbosch lies approximately 60km from Cape Town. Drive on either the N1 or N2 highway.
If on the N1, exit at the R304 towards Stellenbosch.
If on the the N2, exit at the R310 (Baden Powell Drive) and follow the signs.
The N1 is generally considered to be the safer route, particularly at night.
Stellenbosch is small enough that the entire city centre can easily be covered on foot. The Tourism Bureau also has a few cycles to rent. A curiosity is that there are no street signs. If you look closely you will see that the street names are indicated in yellow (in Afrikaans) on the edge of the sidewalks.
Car Rental Services
- First Car Rental (First Car Rental Western Cape), Jan Katz Building, Church Street, Stellenbosch, ☎ +27 (0) 21 887 1311 (toll free: 0861 011 323, email@example.com), . Always open. Stellenbosch car rental: Sample wine in the Cape Winelands Pick up a vehicle from a First Car Rental Stellenbosch car hire and enjoy scenic drives through the Cape Winelands. Many of the wine farms in the area offer delectable wine-tasting sessions where you can sample some of the best wine in the world. Just make sure that you have a designated driver! From R165 per day. (S33°56'16.44,E18°51'42.12)
- Global Rental, . Always open.
A walking tour of Stellenbosch provides fascinating glimpses of colonial Dutch architecture. The Stellenbosch Tourism and Information Bureau, 36 Market St.,  organizes one and a half hour guided tours at 11.00 and 15.00 Monday to Friday (R80pp) and special groups can also be arranged for on request. Alternatively, buy the brochure "Historical Stellenbosch on Foot" from the Bureau for R5 and guide yourselves.
- Stellenbosch Museum, Ryneveldstreet 37, ☎ 0218872948, . The Stellenbosch Village Museum consists of four adjacent houses of historical interest. Each of these homes represents a different period in the architectural development of the city. The houses, their interiors and their gardens have been restored, and furnished, to illustrate the particular style and taste of the time.
- The Powder House, Bloem St (close to the Information Centre). Powder, lead and flint were supplied to the inhabitants of Stellenbosch.During the first quarter of the 18th Century the annual allowance was 150 pounds of gunpowder, 100 ponds of lead bullets and 300 flintlock stones. This was delivered at the end of September each year for distribution to the citizen army. To avoid damage to the city in the event of an explosion the Powder House was situated away from the main town. These days it houses a small collection of weapons. R5.
- Fick House, 40 Bloem St (corner Bloem and Alexander). Well-preserved Dutch House. Inside is an excellent collection of traditional furniture, kitchen equipment, etc. that can be visited in office hours
- Theological Seminary, Dorp St.. On the site of the original settlement, which was on an island in the Eerste River until one of its watercourses was filled in. This became the first university-level institution in 1859. The garden contains two pines from Norfolk Island, near Australia, which the University's students sometimes like to climb!
Stellenbosch has much to offer. Primarily wine takes the cake and one may taste wine at any of the many estates that surround the town. Problem with that is the driver should abstain. And seeing as there are more than 100 farms just around Stellenbosch choosing the right one can be a little difficult.
Many companies have sprung up taking people on day trips in and around the region.Prices vary greatly and styles of the tours are also vastly different.
Easy Rider Wine Tours offers a good budget option. They depart Stellenbosch at a reasonable 10:30am and will collect you from your accommodation.They visit 4 farms over the day and include a cellar tour, cheese tasting, a lunch at a restaurant in Franschhoek. They will return you to your accommodation around 5pm.
There are many other operators who offer tours for various budgets. Information can be found at the tourist information centre in Market Street.
Another good option is to hire a bicycle from Bongas Bike Hire at 12 Market Street and cycle around to a few farms. Remember it gets very hot in summer so drink lots.... of water.
Wines can be found in supermarkets and in farm stalls for good bargains.
Wine lands tours are also offered by numerous operators in Cape Town, however all of these tours require a 50 min trip from Cape Town to the wine lands area and also the return trip. This adds 2 hours of driving to most of these tours. So its better to stay in Stellenbosch - experience the vibrance of the town.
Stellenbosch is not short of tourist shops. If you are tempted to take some of the local wine home, don't forget that it will not be accepted in airline hand luggage!
- Oom Samie se Winkel means "Uncle Samie's Shop" in Afrikaans. The shop is situated near the lower end of Dorp Street. You will find wines from the local wine estates, antiques, confectionary, sweets, jams, furniture and curios.
There are many good restaurants in the town. The area around Church Street is informally known as the local restaurant district, with approximately 19 venues within a four block radius.
- Apprentice, Andringa Street. Formerly known as L'Olive. Training restaurant for the Institute of Culinary Arts. Clean modern ambience. Fusion dishes, elegantly presented.
- Basic Bistro, 31 Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 883-3629, . Offers a variety of international cuisine. Reviewed by Rossouw's Restaurants - 7/10 food, 8/10 service
- Beads Restaurant, Cnr Church & Ryneveld Streets, Central (opposite the Village Museum), ☎ +27 21 886 8734, . M-Su 8AM-11PM. Vibey and colourful, with fresh, thoughtfully prepared dishes. In the historic Devonshire House. Average main R70. (-33.9374999,18.8627777)
- Binnenhof (Zest), Ryneveld Street. Formerly known as Zest. Has a lovely hidden courtyard at the back of the old house.
- Fandango, Bird Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-7506, .
- Java Cafe, Church Street.
- Lafayette, Andringa Street.
- Mugg 'n Bean, Checkers Centre, corner Dorp & Mill Streets, ☎ +27 (0)21 883-2972, .
- Slowfood Market, Corner of Bosmans&Distilery rd, . Sa 9AM-4PM.. There is a festive atmosphere and a variety of local foods to choose from. Come and see what the locals are up to and indulge in a aray of fresh produce, seafood, luxury bakes and fresly baked breads
- Wijnhuis, Cnr Church and Andringa, Central, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-5844 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Wijnhuis offers a wine tasting lounge, wine shop and restaurant in a charming setting situated in the heart of the old town. It is a bustling meeting place for visitors to Stellenbosch, locals and students alike.
- Banghoek Place, 193 Banghoek Road, Campus, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-0048 (email@example.com), . Great value double rooms with en suite bathrooms, swimming pool and safe on site parking. From R100pp.
- Bertha's guest flats, 16 Helderberg street, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-4113 (firstname.lastname@example.org). From R200pp.
- BellaBosch B&B & Self Catering, 7 School Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 882-9686 (email@example.com), . BellaBosch offers visitors a good base to explore the historic town centre of Stellenbosch, 5 minutes walk away. Friendly hosts, comfortable beds, luxurious showers and excellent breakfast. From R300pps.
- D'Ouwe Werf Country Inn, 30 Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-4608 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Offers 31 very good rooms and has an excellent restaurant. From R1200 per room.
- Eendracht Hotel, 161 Dorp Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 883-8842 (email@example.com), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Award winning historic house in the oldest part of town in Dorp Street. Walking distance from almost everything including +60 restaurants and the University. From R395pp. (33°56' 19.13 S,18°51' 46.15 E)
- Evergreen Manor & Spa, 11 Murray Street, Central, ☎ +27 (0)21 886-6832 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Exclusive luxury guesthouse and spa in central Stellenbosch, ideal for the discerning visitor. From R650pps.
- Stumble Inn Backpackers Lodge, 12 Market Street, Central, ☎ +27 (0)21 887-4049 (email@example.com), . Great value backpackers lodge with double rooms and dormitory beds, swimming pool and safe on site parking. From R90pp.
- de Oude Ryneveld, 71 Ryneveld Street (5 minutes walk from the center), ☎ +27 (0)21 887-7221 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Cosy three star guesthouse with various neat double rooms. Private toilet, washbasin and bath/shower. Good breakfast with the current newspaper, possibly with English breakfast and/or fruit with muesli and delicious youghurt. Can also be eaten outside. Very friendly service, quiet location. Optionally you can rent a bike, a relaxed beach cruiser. On the rooftop you can enjoy the setting sun. Each room has a desk and free internet. From R400pp.
- Visit the nearby vineyards of the Cape Winelands. Maps, information on vineyards that receive and accommodate visitors and advice on getting to them is all available from the very helpful people at the Tourism and Information Bureau . Other activities available in the area include whitewater rafting and tour organizers can also be found at the Bureau.
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