Stellenbosch suburb focus

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

A magnificent setting in the heart of the Cape Winelands and a booming property market ensures this town’s popularity amongst local and international buyers.

About the area

Beautiful historic streets lined with oak trees, a spectacular setting among mountains and wine estates, and a world-class university at its heart, Stellenbosch is a town that feels alive all year round. In summer it overflows with international visitors attracted by its reputation as the gourmet centre of the Winelands. Students keep the energy youthful, and a growing number of creative businesses and technological start-ups are born here, with the arts well represented too. So there’s a big city outlook with the closeness of a small town community.

It’s a very walkable town for residents lucky enough to live in the historic suburbs close to the centre, with tempting artisan bakeries and coffee shops on every corner, the botanical gardens to stroll in, and regular wine festivals and cultural happenings on the calendar. The high street stores are actually on the high street here – no out of town malls – and the only downside is the traffic if you do have to drive. Families settle here for the schools, which have a long-standing reputation for academic excellence and enviable sporting facilities, and residents can use the Maties university sports facilities too. Within minutes you can escape the town bustle and be hiking to a waterfall in the mountain wilderness or in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

A wealth of secure estates and golf estates cater for those who prefer a mountain view just out of the centre, with easy access to hiking, mountain biking and running trails through adjoining wine estates and nature reserves. Several of the Cape’s top restaurants are scattered around the Stellenbosch wine estates, so gourmet residents can choose between legendary names such as Rust en Vrede, Overture, Tokara, Jordan, Terroir, Delaire Graff and more. On weekends foodies and families flock to the markets – there’s Slow Food Market at Oude Libertas, Root44 Market, Blauuwklippen Family Market, and the Stellenbosch Organic Farmers’ Market just for starters. For a weekday artisan market vibe De Warenmarkt fills the gap.

"I love living in the heart of town in walking distance of my favourite bakeries and shops – very much a European way of living. We are surrounded by world-class wine estates, restaurants, art galleries and music performances – literally something to do for every single night of the year." - Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox, resident

Things to do:

  • Hike in Jonkershoek with waterfalls and amazing views
  • Visit a market, like Root44, Slow Food and Blauuwklippen
  • Picnic in Jan Marais Nature Reserve
  • Concerts in the Endler Hall where the Stellenbosch University Choir, ranked number one in the world, often performs
  • Tour the art galleries and public art installations
  • Summer street soirees under the oaks

Best in food:

  • Jardine Restaurant for informal fine dining
  • Schoon de Companje for artisan bread, deli, coffee and ice cream
  • Helena’s Restaurant at Coopmanhuijs Hotel for elegant dining
  • Basic Bistro for gourmet burgers and casual buzz
  • The Blue Crane and the Butterfly for coffee and cake

Top schools:

  • Rhenish Girls’ High School
  • Bloemhof Girls’ High School
  • Paul Roos Gymnasium
  • Hoërskool Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch Waldorf School

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a spectacular journey through the Stellenbosch area here:

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Oak trees, historic buildings, students, green spaces, cafés and lots of great wine are among the first impressions of this buzzing university town, but there’s much more to life in Stellenbosch than its undeniable picture-postcard charm
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