Something happened in Stellenbosch during its first settlement that forged the identity of the town for its inhabitants and those who visit. The 2nd oldest settlement in all of South Africa, the Dutch planted oak trees to shade the homesteads that they built. They also had in mind that when they were harvested the wood would be used for wine barrels, for which they are used in Europe, to add flavour to the wine.
Their use as wine barrels never came into being. The oaks grew too quickly in the warmer South African climate, quicker than in their native Europe thus making the wood too porous for holding wine in barrels. But the trees persisted in the soil leaving iconic streets like Dorpstraat lined with oaks, not a common site in South Africa.
The town has since gained a provincial feel to it. Located 50km outside of Capetown, the main city of the region, it has become an iconic cultural place to visit in the region.
Stellenbosch was intended as an agricultural centre to supply the Cape with produce for passing ships. These days it is the centre of South Africa’s most important a savoured wine regions. Because of its age, it has preserved many of the old buildings, many with their thatched roofs, and maintains its charm to attract the passing tourists.
The locals are undoubtedly proud of their town. The 2nd oldest in South Africa, the oak lined streets, the iconic houses, the celebrated wineries, one of Africa’s oldest universities and the large student populations, the water canals that run through the town to supply the old mills and the inhabitants with water, and its central location to many of the Cape regions great attractions (50km to Capetown and 30km to the beach).
So it is important that they set some standards as to how to consider yourself a local. During those days sitting in the streets and relaxing at a cafe or outside restaurant, an acorn from the oak may hit you on the head.
Die Laan or The Avenue is a well-known thoroughfare in the town and is part of local folklore. Apparently you cannot consider yourself a local until an acorn has fallen on your head (Stellenbosch is also known as Eikestad or City of Oaks), you have fallen on your own head in De Akker (The Acorn pub – SA’s second oldest) and kissed on Die Laan. Do you have any idea how long it takes hanging around under oak trees waiting for an acorn to fall on your head?!!!!!
This blog had a great amount of information on the town. Click here to read more.
Being a central in the Cape region it is a great point to tour the region here are some great places to visit in the region
Drive around the Cape Peninsula for the day
One of the amazing aspects of Stellenbosch, is its central location. Within 30-60 minutes drive, you are within reach of:
- The beach: The Strand, Bikini Beach, Camps bay, Muizenberg, St. James beach and many more
- Cape Town International Airport
- Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
- Table Mountain
- Cape Point Nature Reserve
- Kirstenbosch Gardens
- Ruben Island
- Whale watching in Hermanus
- Franschhoek – the gourmet capital of South Africa
- A Tour of 4 passes: Helshoogte, Franschhoek, Viljoen’s and Sir Lowry’s Passes
- And much more…
To view more of Batavia Boutique Hotel’s suggestions for what to do in Stellenbosch click the link. It has a number of blog posts on cultural things in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch connect is also a great blog to check out lots of great information on this old provincial town
Maybe you might want to sit in the street and wait for an acorn to hit you on the head , but certainly, hope one day you can enjoy the easy-going provincial town of Stellenbosch