WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK | IMAGES: NATASHA LASSEN & GOOGLE MAPS
Historically, the university and agricultural industries were the principal heartbeat of the town of Stellenbosch. Now tourism has become a big player, hospitality an ever-growing source of employment, and Stellenbosch’s reputation for gourmet restaurants and superb wine estates drawing international foodies.
Depending who you speak to, they’re likely either to have grown up here and never moved away, or to have relocated from elsewhere in South Africa, attracted by the country lifestyle in this most beautiful Winelands centre, mountains the backdrop to every view, and a picturesque small town that’s connected to the cosmopolitan and creative worlds beyond. “The chilled and relaxing ambiance, the architecture and how art forms a big part of the town, is what hit me ﬁrst as newcomer to the place,” says resident Abdel Oueryemchi, who moved here 10 years ago on marrying a Stellenbosch local.
Demand for property of all types in Stellenbosch is high, both from the student population seeking secure apartments within walking distance of the university and from families wanting homes near the schools. The town has expanded rapidly over the last two decades with multiple secure estates on its fringes, spanning the range from luxury golf and lifestyle estates to townhouse complexes.
With much of the countryside around Stellenbosch being premium agricultural land under vines, growth has now slowed close to town, the most recent country estates to be developed being further out along the road to Klapmuts and the N1.
In the town itself, families count themselves lucky to buy and renovate homes in the central residential areas and older suburbs such as Krigeville and Die Boord, which are all conveniently close to top schools. New developments of apartments, the closer to the university the better, are snapped up by parents or investors for student accommodation.
Stellenbosch’s top schools have an even longer history than the university and have maintained their reputation over the years, regularly featuring in lists for exceptional academic performance. Rhenish Girls High School, Bloemhof High School and Paul Roos Gymnasium attract students from far aﬁeld and are another reason for families choosing to relocate to Stellenbosch.
Resident Tanith-Lee van der Merwe also enjoys the fact that “Stellenbosch is so close to the mountains, there are a lot of extra-murals available to kids of any age, and kids can still ride their bikes to school.” Families looking for less traditional curriculums might choose Stellenbosch Waldorf school on Spier Wine Farm outside the town, or Bridge House on the way to Franschhoek. And of course Stellenbosch University is at the heart of the town, its graduates often staying on to ﬁnd work or start their own businesses, adding to the creative vibe.
There’s so much happening in and around Stellenbosch that it’s hard to keep up. The town centre itself has a lively atmosphere. “I love that you can walk almost everywhere, that there are always interesting people, tourists or students around. Also all the festivals that are on, in and around the town,” says Tanith-Lee. These include the Summer Soirees, art festivals and installations, food festivals on the wine farms, chamber music and more.
Escaping into nature is easy, the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve with its trails and waterfalls a favourite wild destination that feels miles from civilisation. There are mountain bike trails extending from the Coetzenberg woodland behind the university sports campus all the way up to Eden and the Paradyskloof pine plantations, as well as several more excellent spots.
And of course food and wine lovers have their work cut out trying to get round all the wine estates and fabulous restaurants of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, a lifetime of tasting on your doorstep.
“Stellenbosch is a beautiful place; I wouldn’t change it at all. I love the pretty green surroundings, the easy access to mountains and landscapes, so many beautiful spots to go to when you want to walk, run, cycle, hike or even ride. And it’s not too far from the coast.” ABDEL OUERYEMCHI, RESIDENT
- Root 44: family fun every Saturday and Sunday
- Slow Food Market at Oude Libertas: every Saturday
- Blaauwklippen Family Market: every Sunday
- Stellenbosch Organic Farmers Market at Stellenbosch Waldorf School: every Saturday
- The Craft Market at Spier: every day in summer (October to May)
- Vine Bistro at Glenelly: excellent French bistro food
- Eike: Bertus Basson’s South African fine-dining experience
- Jardine Restaurant: contemporary dining with George Jardine
- Lanzerac: family Sunday lunches and elegant dinners
- Schoon: artisan bakery and pastries
- Fat Butcher: popular steakhouse
- Hike mountain trails to waterfalls in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
- Wander the Botanical Gardens in town and picnic
- Full moon hikes on Delvera Farm
- Park runs at Root 44 market and Kayamandi
- Take the TukTuk wine tasting tour
- Explore art galleries and public art installations
Rawson Properties Stellenbosch | 021 882 8960 | rawson.co.za/offices/stellenbosch
“Surrounded by mountains, Stellenbosch is a spectacular playground for any outdoor lover, whether you enjoy walking, cycling, playing golf or just having a picnic by the river. When you’re not spending time in the great outdoors, a large selection of the best restaurants, bars and wineries in SA awaits you. Whether you’re looking for a luxury lifestyle estate, a home in a quiet suburb, or a great investment, Stellenbosch can help you. With the Stellenbosch University and some of the best schools located here, there’s also a growing rental market.”
Suzanne Hugo, sales partner
082 576 1217 | email@example.com