Stellenbosch looks like a perfect replica of a 17th century Cape Dutch town, but in fact it’s mostly the real thing. Many parts date from the town’s foundation about 300 years old: the oak trees lining the avenues, the village green, and many of the Cape Dutch buildings. Others are replicas, which is what gives it that look. They were rebuilt to the original specifications after fires swept the town in the 19th century.
Stellenbosch is a comfortable, conservative town. Its Afrikaans university was the intellectual heart of Afrikanerdom. The architect of apartheid, Hendrick Verwoed, studied at Stellenbosch. Yet it has adapted well to change in the last decade.
The principal attraction is the streetscape. Dorp Street has been designated a national monument because it has one of the longest rows of period buildings in South Africa. Many of Stellenbosch’s historic buildings now house galleries, restaurants, cafés that overspill onto the pavement, shops and guest houses.
You can pick up a walking trail in the tourist office, guided or self-guided. There are more than 60 historical sights in the vicinity!
Stellenbosch is a wine centre and has the oldest wine route in the country. It is also part of the Western Cape Arts & Crafts Route.
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