Stellenbosch lies near the head of the eerste river Valley and is the most beautiful town in South Africa, just ask any local or better yet – come see for yourself!
The valley produces the grapes for some of the world’s finest wines. Stellenbosch is in the heart of this fertile farming area which produces some of the best wines in the world. Stellenbosch is also the home of the wirld renowned University of Stellenbosch, one of the oldest educational institutions in the country. Our charming, unique little town has a rich history and many interesting things to see and do.
Stellenbosch was founded by Simon Van der Stel in 1679, when he was appointed Governor of the Cape and travelled to South Africa with his children from Netherlands. After arriving in Cape Town, he and his party journeyed towards the mountains of Africa, where eventuallythey came across a lush valley, which Simon van der Stel described as a level valley, very suitable for agriculture, provided with water from the passing river and adorned with may wooded areas suitable for firewood and gardens. Van der stel’s party pitched tents on an island and named the areas Stellenbosch or “Van der Stel’s bush”.
Within a few years the valley was dotted with thatched houses and the ground was being used for agriculture. After a pleasant stay in Stellenbosch, the Van der Stel family returded to Cape Town leaving the town to grow, but kept a special interest in Stellenbosch, often having to return to sort out quarrels about land rights. On one of these trips Vna der Stel created a Country Court to settle any further disputes, in which members were elected and changed each year by an election. All matters had to be approved by Van der Stel regarding the growth of his town.
By 1683 there were about 30 families in Stellenbosch in which year the first school was built and the magistrate was appointed. In 1686 the churck was built and an annual gathering was held there to celebrate the town’s founder, Simon Van der Stel’s birthday on the 14th of October, which he always attended. His birthday is still celebrated in Stellenbosch today.
So Stellenbosch was formed and to this day, is as charming as always. Ancient Oak trees line the streets around the new church, and the white buildings are well maintained to give a feel of the historic roots of this town.
A mere 25 minute drive to the Cape Town International Airportmake Rusthuiz the perfect base for your explorations of the Cape. From here you will be in short driving distance to Cape town, Hermanus, Franschoek and all the sites of the Cape.
Please follow directions below from Cape Town Airport to Rusthuiz:
- From Cape Town take the N2 turn-off to “Somerset West” – Continue straight
- Take “Baden Powel” / R310 off ramp (left)
- At T-junction turn left on to the R310 / Stellenbosch Road
- Continue straight on this road. At T-junction turn right to “STELLENBOSCH”
- At second traffic light turn right into “Dorp Street” (Volvo/shell garage on your right hand side)
- Continue over another traffic light until you get a small circle in Dorp Street – turn right into “PIET RETIEF STREET” (Rusthuiz sign board visible here)
- Rusthuiz is situated 600m up in Piet Retief Street on corner of Jean & Piet Retief Street (Piet Retief Street no 13)
Stellenbosch is without a doubt the most well-known town in South Africa. History, culture, natural beauty, sport, education and winehasmade the name “Stellenbosch” resonate around the globe as one of South Africa’s premier tourist, wine, business and education attactions.
After its discovery, Stellenbosch was quickly identified as an area in which to settle, with great potential for agricultre. The surrounding areas proved rich soil and correct climate for producing vegetables to sustain the ships passing by the Cape of Good hope en route to the other dutch colonies in the East. Add to this the thirst of the dutch and other settlers that necessitated the making of good wine, Stellenbosch soon saw its hills and valleys also planted to vines along with other agricultural crops.
Besides its status as a leading cultural, education and leisure destination, it is wine that has made – and continues to make – Stellenbosch famous.
A variety of soils and locations ideally suited to flourishing of a wide variety of grape cultivars, has seen Stellenbosch continue to dominate the South African wines globally, Stellenbosch remains at the forefront of growth in the wine industry.
The region’s potential for producing quality of the wines and as a tourism hub has seen investors fromas far afield as France, Germany, Switzerland, Itlay and America staking their claim in the Stellenbosch winelands.
in 1971 Stellenbosch became the first wine region in South Africa to establish a wine route as on organized network of wineries at which the tourist could experience the product of the vine and tune into the soul of the region’s winelands.
Stellenbosch has a typically Mediterranean climate benefiting the local viticulture and wine production. Summers are hot and dry with long days. A south easterly wind often blows in summer bringing cooler air from the nearby coast. At times this wind can be very strong in Cape Town, but thanks to the mountains surrounding Stellenbosch those strong winds mild down a lot by the time it gets here.
Daytime temperature range from 24 degrees C to 35 degrees. The occasional scorcher with temperatures in the hight 30s and low 40s can be expected in mid-summer. Night temperatures range from the mid teens to the high 20s with the occasional hot and balmy night over 30 degrees C.
Winter is typically wet, windy and cold. Rains are brought with north westerly winds. Daytime temperatures range from 10 degrees C to 20 degrees C. Some chilly days with temperatures below 10 degrees can be expected in mid-winter. Night time temperatures range from the mid teens to below 0 degrees C. Snowfalls are rare but the surrounding mountains can have snow-capped peaks.
Spring and fall are temperate times with the occasional rainfall.
Visitors should wear sunscrean, a hat and drink plenty of water in summer. Dress warmly in winter with water proof clothing.