Sipping in Stellenbosch: Our Favorite South African Getaway

After our glorious time flitting from vineyard to vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, we thought there couldn’t possibly be a place in the world that competes with its wine, vineyards, and geography. Stellenbosch proved us wrong. This adorable and sophisticated town, a 45 minute drive east from downtown Cape Town, blew us away. Sure, wine tasting wasn’t quite as convenient as tooling between the vineyards in the tiny town of Renwick, but its other qualities made up for it.

Stunning backdrops, luxurious wine farms, incredible wine, fantastic food, and a nearby nature reserve all contributed to our great memories of Stellenbosch. Plus, just like in Cape Town, the prices are extremely affordable. But the similarities to Cape Town are few – this gorgeous, countryside town is incredibly laid-back, a perfect destination if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway for a weekend (or, if you’re stretched on time, even a day trip). Intrigued? If you need further inspiration, here’s what our trip in Stellenbosch was like.

Wineries

There is an incredible amount of wineries in the Stellenbosch area. Here are the ones we went to, based on either locals’ recommendations or good reviews online.

Tokara

Happy customers: this is an unplanned shot of Pete and my mom after our Tokara wine tasting. Such joy!

Our first stop on our wine tour, this place left a lasting impression with the incredible scenery and upscale restaurant. The wine tasting was about $10 per person and was very generous.

Spier Wine Farm

This place is an institution! It’s a massive property. While were pretty amped about the chocolate and wine pairings, it didn’t quite meet up to expectations. The chocolate was pretty bizarre, and the whole thing seemed a bit gimicky. Still, it was a fun experience.

Guardian Peak Winery & Grill

Wine, mountain views…what’s not to like?

Okay, so every winery I list sounds prettyyyy similar: great scenery, lots of natural light, etc. etc. We get it, right?!? But seriously, I can’t put enough emphasis on the beautiful ambiance that greeted us at every single wine farm.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

If you have some extra time, or you’re just all wine-d out, I’d suggest spending a day in this gorgeous nature reserve. We did the hike to the waterfalls and it was absolutely incredible. Bring your bathing suit – you’ll want to jump in the crystal clear (and freezing very refreshing) water.

P.S. We still have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this place. Anyone wanna clue us in?

Cost: R40 per person, or $3 USD.

Food

Stellenbosch seriously has it all – vineyards, nature, and amazing food. Many wineries also double as restaurants, which works really well if you don’t want to imbibe on an empty stomach. Here’s where we ate (yes, there are some repeats from the wineries).

Basic Bistro

If you’re looking somewhere with delicious food in the heart of Stellenbosch, look no further. This place rocks! The only downfall is that it’s not very vegan-friendly.

The Cape Malay Chicken Curry was out of this world.

Decameron Restaurant

This unassuming Italian restaurant had some of the best calamari we’ve ever tasted. However, I wouldn’t recommend the lasagna (just a suggestion – it had a funky taste to it).

Tokara Restaurant

Hmm…to cheese plate or not to cheese plate?

Offering gorgeous porch seating, as well as indoor seating with plenty of natural light, this place screams posh. I wasn’t a huge fan of the food, but the cheese plate was exactly what we needed after their generous wine tasting.

Guardian Peak Winery & Grill

Yep – we wined and we grilled here. The meal was fabulous. Keep in mind that the kitchen closes early.

What We Missed

Here are some places we didn’t have time to see, but I’d definitely put on my list if I ever go back to Stellenbosch (fingers crossed!).

Waterford Wine Estate

Apparently this place is gorgeous and also offers a chocolate-and-wine tasting. Obviously I wouldn’t mind giving that a second chance…

Postcard Cafe at Stark-Conde Wines

Serves breakfast, lunch, and of course wine.

Delaire Graff Estate

If you go to Tokara and have the time, you should also go to this winery – it’s right across the street. Unfortunately, I realized that too late!

Rustenberg Wines

A lesser known place that sounds like it has a gorgeous property and great wine.

Balboa Balcony Bar

Downtown Stellenbosch – good for cocktails and pizza.

Have you ever been to Stellenbosch? Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear!

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