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Originally known as Eikestad or “Oak City” (due to the numerous oak trees that were planted at its founding) Stellenbosch is one of South Africa’s oldest cities and while it is best known for its world-class wineries, it also often impresses architecture buffs with its numerous Cape Dutch style buildings.
Luckily for the locals as well as the vineyards, Stellenbosch enjoys wonderful climatic conditions. Pleasant ocean winds temper the typical heat of South Africa and lower rainfall averages making it a great region for tourists to visit and grapes to grow.
Be sure to visit these idyllic wineries during your visit to Stellenbosch, some of which have been producing wines for more than 300 years.
The Village Museum features four superbly restored houses, each representing a different time period and dating back through to the founding of the city as early as 1709. Each house is furnished and decorated appropriately for its time period and are fascinating to explore. Furthermore, charming employees are also on-site, dressed in period-appropriate clothing, ready to answer questions and tell stories about the happenings at the time of the houses initial construction.
Dripping with old school charm, Dorp Street has one of the oldest and best-preserved rows of houses in South Africa. This is Stellenbosch’s old town and in fact, almost all architectural styles of years past are represented here. Be sure to take a stroll down this oak tree-lined street and soak up the area’s historical charm. Wonderful restaurants, antique stores and art galleries are here for your enjoyment.
Serving as the administrative headquarters for the Stellenbosch Museum, the Erfurthuis house was built in the late 19th century as the family home to Johan Beyers. The house was named in honour of his ancestors who hailed from Erfurt, Germany. Known for its magnificent wood carvings and wrought-iron balcony, the house is a treat for history and architectural lovers alike.
While Stellenbosch is definitely famous for its wines, Stellenbrau Brewery is trying to make a name for Stellenbosch as home to wonderful beers as well. On-site tastings await those travellers craving a change from all the wondrous wines of the area. The brewery also offers tours on site to better help you understand the intricate brewing process.
A local landmark of Stellenbosch, the Moederkerk church (Afrikaans for Mother Church) was originally built in 1719. Over the years it has been rebuilt into the current neo-gothic style building you will find now. The church also features a beautiful garden, pristine white walls and wonderful stained glass windows.
Noted as the friendliest market in the Cape Town region, the Blaauwklippen Family Market is held every Sunday and is a treat for young and old. For the young ones in your group, there are friendly goats, alpacas and a fun-filled jungle gym. For older visitors, wine-tasting and a sampling of treats from around the world are on offer. With all these wonderful activities on hand, this family market is the perfect way to spend a relaxing Sunday.
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