Stellenbosch biedt meer dan wijn alleen

Stellenbosch might be famous for its university and wine estates, but there is definitely a lot more to do in this small town that packs a lot of punch.

Animals and nature

Three hiking trails start at the Devon Valley Hotel, perfect for those who love the outdoors. The trail passes Middelvlei, a winery where you can stop to eat what one visitor calls “homey” cuisine and the kids can visit the numerous animals in the farmyard.

Butterfly Worldis a 1000m2 greenhouse with hundreds of tropical butterflies flying around. You walk on trails between the plants and go into the other enclosures leading out of the main greenhouse to see a variety of birds, iguanas, spiders, snakes, frogs and more. There is also a gift shop and café.

Spier Wine Estate is a must-see. You can have a picnic on the grass at the farm and buy a picnic basket or sandwiches with locally produced vegetables, eggs and meat. You can also eat at Mojo restaurant for a sophisticated African experience, visit the craft market with over 90 different stands, go on the heritage walk, see the cheetahs at the Cheetah Outreach or participate in the daily flying display at Eagle Encounters, which rescues these birds of prey. The hotel boasts its own restaurant and a spa.

Giraffe House has an interesting assortment of animals to see. They have the smallest antelope in the world, the blue duiker, as well as the largest antelope in the world, the eland. Furthermore, there is the tallest animal in the world – the giraffe – as well as the largest and meanest reptile in Africa, the Nile crocodile. This is a relatively new sanctuary and they are in the process of being registered as a non-profit organization.

For art and entertainment

The Franschoek Motor Museum makes collecting cars an art. Here you can view over 100 years of automobile history on the L’Ormarins farm. The cars are housed in dehumidified halls in chronological order and grouped as from Antique, built before end of 1904, to Post-60.

The Oude Libertas Amphitheatre is open during summer months and showcases stars performing under the stars. You can see the mountain range, vineyards, old trees and picturesque gardens that Stellenbosch is famous for from the theatre.

AmaZink LIVE has a true South African township feel to it. You can make use of the restaurant’s shuttle service that takes you to the restaurant and theatre. They claim to offer the very best South African flavours and the musical honours the best in local talent while entertaining guests with a show they’ll never forget.

A time machine. That’s what the Stellenbosch Village Museum feels like. Instead of looking at artefacts from the past behind glass windows, this museum consists of four very old houses. Each of them is decorated according to the timeframe in the history of Stellenbosch that it dates back to. Even the gardens are era-specific. Schreudeurhuis is the oldest documented and restored town house in South Africa, dating back to 1709.

If you still have time to kill, stroll down Dorp Street, arguably, the most famous street in town,and the streets nearby. Oom Samie se Winkel and the seemingly countless array of shops and restaurants always deliver something interesting.  Stellenbosch really is a Mecca for art and beautiful scenery and just 45 minutes drive from Cape Town. Hire a car for a day, drive around and see one of South Africa’s most historic towns.

Originally published by Drive Southern Africa.

(Images: Butterfly World, warrenski, CC by-SA 2.0, via Flickr, Franschoek Motor Museum, Gary Bembridge, CC by 2.0, via Flickr)

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