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Outdoor sports and activities in Stellenbosch

The beautiful vineyards and the mountainous nature reserves surrounding Stellenbosch offers a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. With its agreeable climate and endless sunsets, Stellenbosch is a year round destination for hikers, bikers, adventurers, or those who simply live to bathe in nature.

Here are our suggestions for great outdoor things to see, do, explore and stay in Stellenbosch.

Hiking and trail running

Stellenbosch is blessed with an abundance of awe inspiring trails thanks to the strong conservation ethic shared by Stellenbosch residents and the surrounding wine farmers. The area is blessed with craggy peaks, fynbos ridges, verdant river valleys and, of course, extensive vineyards.

The Duiwelskloof hike is a gem worth exploding – hidden deep within the remote and rugged ridges of the Banhoek Conservancy. Here is our list of five of the best hikes in and around Stellenbosch and some of the best wilderness walks South Africa has to offer.

Adventure Shop offers guided or self-guided adventure three-day Stellenbosch Meander Slackpacking Tours through the regions most iconic scenery and towering mountains while enjoying wine tastings and meals at award-winning estates.

An outdoor exploration of Duiwelskloof Hiking Route in the Banhoek Conservancy, near Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands.

Nature reserves and conservancies

Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) located along hills to the north west of town. Mountain bikers are allowed controlled access to a network of trails stretching across 20 private farms. Read more.

Banhoek Conservancy.  Located about 10km to the east of Stellenbosch, this beautiful valley offers hiking and mountain bike routes. Click here for more information.

Greater Simonsberg Conservancy, situated next to Banhoek along the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain boasting 60 bird species, more than 120 indigenous plants and a range of reptiles and mammals, like duikers, dassies and porcupines. Click here for more information.

Assegaaibosch is a small nature reserve just outside town in the Jonkershoek valley next to the Eerste River and a World Heritage Site. In addition to its dramatic setting, the reserve has historical buildings and two easy to walk circular walks. Click here for more information.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a dramatic amphitheatre of mountains just outside of town. With the surrounding summits rising to more than 1 500m, the valley offers some of the most beautiful mountain vistas the Cape has to offer.

Jan Marais Nature Reserve, although not strictly a formal garden, surely qualifies as one of our town’s botanical jewels. This is the only remaining example of the vegetation that the very first settlers encountered when our town was established.

Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve  comprise of 70 000-hectares of pristine nature  stretching from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch Mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland Mountains, and is a World Heritage Site.

Gardens

Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude. That said, gardening is not a rational act, which is probably why it is easier to appreciate the works of others. We share a selection of must-see gardens that will reward the senses and bring much-needed serenity to your soul.

Old Nectar Gardens, created by Una van der Spuy over a period of 70 years is something to see. The gardens extend over 4 hectares with 16 individual garden areas to explore. The gardens are open to the public all year round.

Dylan Lewis Sculpted Garden is situated on Mulberry Farm on Paradyskloof Road. Dylan is a sculptor of international acclaim and his garden is undoubtedly Dylan’s largest sculpture to date and speaks of his meticulous attention to detail.

Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden located in the middle of town is a special place, the oldest university garden in South Africa and protects endangered plant species from around the world.
Babylonstoren is a unique piece of Cape heritage consisting of rare cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden over 3,5 hectares (8 acres).

Look out for Garden Week Stellenbosch planned for October 2022 comprising of open gardens, horticultural tours, landscape art, dining, hiking and music.

Mountain bike trails

Stellenbosch has more than 500 km’s of the most spectacular mountain bike trails in the world. From well-known Bottelary Hills Conservancy trails to the magical singletracks of G-Spot and the sheer excitement of Skyfall, is every mountain biker’s dream. Whats more, local wine estates have invested in amazing MBT trails, which combined with their hospitality offering makes for a memorable day out.

Here is our list of some of the nicest trails in and around Stellenbosch.

Stay over

Make the most of your visit to Stellenbosch by staying over. With a range of fine hospitality establishments, there’s something for everyone. Here are our list of some of the hidden gems that justifies a visit all by themselves.