Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

Wagon in Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in South Africa after Cape Town. It is located in the Western Cape Province, about 50 kilometres from Cape Town. Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, naming it after himself. The charming town is located on the banks of the Eerste River.

The town grew at such a rapid rate that is became an independent local authority in 1682 and the seat of magistrate with jurisdiction over 25 000 square kilometres in 1685. Stellenbosch is the heart of the Cape Winelands, if not geographically then definitely spiritually. The town is famous for its charming old buildings, oak trees and water furrows lining the quiet streets.

The history of Stellenbosch is an interesting one. After the French Huguenots arrived, grapes were planted in the fertile valleys around Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch soon became the bustling centre of South Africa's wine industry. The valleys of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek form the Cape Winelands, the larger of the two main wine growing regions in South Africa.

The South African wine industry produces up to 10 million hectorites of wine annually. The Stellenbosch wine route was established in 1971 and is a world renowned tourist attraction. Enjoy a long day of wine tasting and buying while experiencing the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Stellenbosch is also the primary location for viticulture and viticulture research.

Stellenbosch boasts a wide variety of accommodation options, from charming guest houses and B&B's, to five star hotels in grand surroundings. For those wanting an authentic Winelands experience, many of these accommodations are situated in regal Cape Dutch manor houses, complete with sprawling views of the Winelands, lush gardens and towering trees.
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