Exploring Your Own Backyard: A Weekend in Stellies

Words: Crush

When last did you hop in your car, load your favourite playlist and just go for a drive? Tourists can’t stop talking about how beautiful the Western Cape is – it’s time to explore our own backyard!

Start with Stellies

Stellenbosch, a historic town with a young soul, you’ll love the vibe here. Every street is filled with students, restaurants, period architecture and art galleries. And on its edges are some of the Cape’s finest markets and, of course, wine farms. All this, less than an hour from Cape Town!

Start with a wander of wonder down Church Street. In just three or four blocks, you’ll discover why this town is called the art cradle of South Africa (see the Stellenbosch art route map). From the Dorpstraat Gallery to SMAC, Portjie Viljoen’s Red Teapot to Teresa Decinti Gallery, Gavin Collins and Palette to Vincent Da Silva’s Gallery and Stephan Rautenbach’s studio.

You’ll pass wonderful restaurants and sidewalk cafes – the food is great and the people-watching is even better.

Stay at the Oude Werf Hotel

If you’re looking for peace, you will find it halfway up Church Street at Oude Werf, quite possibly Stellenbosch’s most romantic hotel. It’s been welcoming travellers longer than any other hotel in South Africa. Choose between the traditional rooms in the original homestead or one of the classic-contemporary rooms in the award-winning extension.

Relax, refresh and revive

Whether you’re enjoying an in-room beauty treatment, dining at the chic restaurant, enjoying the famous cheesecake or a glass of Stellenbosch’s finest on the vine-covered patio. (Oude Werf has great specials on at the moment – book direct via the website).

For your second day here, you could discover the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden (Paradyskloof, by appointment only) and the Rupert Museum (Stellentia Avenue), or visit the markets and wine farms. Many of the wine estates, including Warwick, Tokara, Delaire Graff, Jordan, Kleine Zalze, Simonsig and Rust en Vrede boast excellent restaurants.

Vergenoegd adds its famous Duck Parade to proceedings, while others host wonderful markets – think Blaauwklippen Family Market, Root 44 (at Audacia), and the Stellenbosch Organic Farmers Market (at Spier). Though if markets are your thing, you really cannot afford to miss Stellenbosch Slow at Oude Libertas.

Something for everyone

There are also breath-taking mountain hikes and trails for cyclists and runners; there are brilliant breweries, a variety of festivals and a thriving music scene. Whether you want a jam-packed getaway or a chilled escape, Stellenbosch has options aplenty.

The above includes a mere handful of the myriad choices available in and around Stellies. Go and see for yourself!

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