Photoblog: wanderlust for Stellenbosch

Posted by Vuyi Qubeka on 3 September 2015

Stellenbosch has a solid reputation for vino and I recently discovered that she’s also got soul. Here are a few things I can recommend in the pretty town – and images from the ubuntu-filled Kayamandi – to tempt your wanderlust.

 

I know why I crossed. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka.

I know why I crossed.


On the drive to the Winelands from Cape Town, shacks line the highway en route to Stellenbosch, listed as having one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the country. I find that uncomfortable. I do love my wine, though. I was kind of nervous. I’d heard stories about Stellenbosch conservatism and was feeling inquisitive: what would I find? What else was there besides award-winning wines and, of course, students from the university?

I had only been to Stellenbosch twice before: initially it was for a first date. He was tall and rather good looking, and that combo meant my gaze was on him, totally, rather than on the adored ‘Stellies’ (to borrow from the brus and the boets). The second time was with family from Johannesburg. It was over the festive season, and we hadn’t seen each other in a while and hunkered down together. So though I’d experienced the town twice, I still had no idea who she was. Here’s what I found on my trip.

 

1. Bites and Sites, Kayamandi

UMamma Swartbooi who lives on Swartbooi Street, a spaza shop - see the love we got, and umqomboti (traditional African beer) tasting at a local shebeen.

UMamma Swartbooi who lives on Swartbooi Street, a spaza shop – see the love we got, and umqomboti (traditional African beer) tasting at a local shebeen.


Kayamandi was a pleasant find and I enjoyed experiencing something different from what the town is largely known for. There’s so much to explore and learn from uMamma Swartbooi and tour guide Thembi Koli in Kayamandi. You’ll be greeted like an old friend by all you meet, in other words ubuntu is freely distributed and you’ll also get a different perspective on how residents have experienced the changing times of the place. Arrange a tour through Bites and Sites.
Contact: Tel 076 032 8234

 

2. Oude Werf

A charming place to rest your head. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

A charming place to rest your head.


Oude Werf Hotel was recently refurbished and the rooms are a charming mix of the old and contemporary. The swanky spot is conveniently located on Church Street with restaurants shopping dens and other suprises just next door.
Contact: Tel 021 887 4608

 

3. Dorp Street Gallery

Things are pricey but you'll enjoy a browse. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

Things are pricey but you’ll enjoy a browse.


‘Art is Art. Everything else is everything else,’ says Ad Reinhardt. Ja, maybe. Wander into Dorp Street Gallery and you decide.
Contact: Tel 021 883 2337

 

4. Pastries at De Companje

A place of pastry heaven. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

A place of pastry heaven.


There’s nothing like a good pastry. Well De Companje place serves the chocolate kind, and there’s cheese, and other kinds your tastebuds will thank you for.
Contact: Tel 021 883 2187

 

5. Wine about it

You don't have to go to the vineyards, there's plenty tipple in the town. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

You don’t have to go to the vineyards, there’s plenty tipple in the town.


Gone are the days of vineyards, well, sort of. Both bars are in town and Wijnhuis Wine Bar and Grill has 20 wines available by the glass, and – wow! – they have a beautiful Gallery hidden behind the door in the back. Bartinney Champagne Bar is experimental-chic in its design, and the bubbles won’t disappoint.

 

6. Tailoring

PapeSidy
Sidy Niang and Babakar Diop are artisans working from Die Braak Market. They make clothing like the ones they wear and other variations made-to order. Take a look at whats on offer, and maybe this summer you can be a little different.
Contact: Sidy Niang on Tel 083 734 4090

 

Silk is woven on site at African Silks and merchandise hangs at Braak Market. Photo by Vuyi Qubeka

Silk is woven on site at African Silks and merchandise hangs at Braak Market.


We really do live in a beautiful country and there’s so much to discover, and it’s usually much closer to you than you imagine. For me, Stellenbosch is just a 20-minute drive from home.

 
Anchor yourself in town and experience the old buildings and history. Stellenbosch is very walkable and great for trips with family or friends, or, if you’ve had too much wine.
Contact: Tel 021 883 3584, www.stellenbosch.travel

Also, I took the 702 Weekend Breakfast team to the other side of Stellenbosch, listen to that interview here, and you can keep up with my adventures and other things over on Instagram, and Twitter.

 
 

Read our guide to Stellenbosch in the August issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

All prices were correct at time of publication, but are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please check with them before travelling.

 






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