Ten things to do in Stellenbosch this summer

Make memories under the stars at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, attending the upcoming street soirées, or spoiling yourself with ice cream and wine, a Winelands balloon trip, helicopter ride or tuk-tuk experience in our list of things to do in Stellenbosch this summer.

Spicy Babylonstoren

The latest addition to the Babylonstoren estate, the Spice Garden is a lush hothouse that pays homage to the important historical role South Africa played in the development of the spice trade. The new space is situated next to the Healing Garden and exhibits the main spices that were carried on long sea journeys from the lands of spices around the Cape of Good Hope. Various aromatic plants used in food are included, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. A large fish pond and two aquariums are home to fish from tropical Asia that have been carefully selected for their ornamental value as well as social compatibility. Between September and April, visitors to the Spice Garden can enjoy a fragrant meal that tells the story of how spices made their way to our shores and onto our plates.


Spier Light Art Festival

The Spier Light Art Festival will be back after a very successful first run last year. From
8 December 2019 to 19 January 2020, visitors will experience a dazzling array of light and sound artworks throughout Spier wine farm at night. Eighteen diverse artworks will be scattered across the farm, some interactive and playful while others invite poignant contemplation. Installation highlights include Lyall Sprong’s Bergson, a 4m vertical circle of light and mist; Goldendean’s interactive inflatable sculpture that allows you to lie on it while it gently glows and breathes around you; David Brits’s massive 70m glowing shape suspended high in one of the oldest oaks on the Spier Werf; and Themba Stewart and Qondiswa James’s astute and profound Keep the Lights On. This experience is free and guests can explore the farm at their own leisure. The best time
to be there is at dusk, to catch the beautiful sunset and the switching on of the lights. Be sure to book a dinner or picnic in advance.  


Soirées on the street

Taking place in the heart of Drostdy Street, Stellenbosch’s popular outdoor food-and-wine event is set to pop up again this summer. The Street Soireés are proudly presented by Stellenbosch Wine Routes and include live music and entertainment. Who doesn’t like a good street party? Add a buzzing vibe, wonderful wines and the beautiful backdrop of historic oak trees to the mix and – voilà! All you need to bring is your friends. Each soirée takes place from 6pm until 8pm and features a different variety of cellars and caterers. Entry is R150 per person, which includes a glass and
12 tasting tokens. Food dishes are priced individually.


Tree-top adventures

Looking for a venue for your next team-building activity, birthday party or fun family outing? Acro­branch Stellenbosch is situated in the historic Muldersvlei area at Klein Joostenberg Farm, lo­cated just off the N1. Discover the Tarzan in you with tree-top courses suitable for young and old. The AcroTwigs yellow course, with three zip lines and 15 obstacles, is perfect for keeping youngsters entertained, while older kids and adults will enjoy the challenge of the green course, with an impressive 6m climbing wall among its
17 obstacles and three magnificent zip lines. To top it all off, why not go for a Big Zip, a 120m-long zip line that is suspended 12m above the ground? When hunger strikes, the Stellies Taproom offers a tasty picnic-style menu and award-winning craft beers. The menu is seasonal and the dishes, made from local farm produce, are great for sharing. Joostenberg Bistro also offers a delicious meal and a selection of boutique organic wines produced on Joostenberg Wine Estate. 


Under the stars at Oude Libertas

A visit to the oldest and most picturesque open-air amphitheatre in Stellenbosch should definitely be on your bucket list this summer. Over the years, the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre has become the home of the stars under the stars, with a wide variety of artists performing during the summer season. This year you can look forward to Spanish Fire with Richard Cock, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Charl du Plessis and Sasha Boldachev, Christmas carols with Siyabonga Maqunga, and Nataniël. The theatre’s architecture, inspired by amphitheatres in Tarragona, Spain, and Piraeus, Greece, is enhanced by the splen­dour of its setting, so you can be thrilled not only by stunning performances, but also by the magnificent view of the mountains and vineyards all around, the charming old trees and the picturesque gardens.  


Explore Stellies by Tuk-Tuk

Can you imagine any better way to spend the day exploring wine farms and the great outdoors than on a tuk-tuk in Stellenbosch? Just for some context, a tuk-tuk is a Thai ‘taxi’ operated by the local people. They can be found on every corner and are used mostly by tourists. The Thai drivers usually thrive on telling their passengers funny stories and playing loud music while taking them to their destination. Now Stellenbosch has its own tuk-tuk service and it’s filling a gap we didn’t even know was there. Tuk-Tuk Stellies specialises in all-inclusive wine tours in the Cape Winelands on an authentic Thai tuk-tuk, or a larger version that resembles the Filipino tuk-bus. As the wind blows through your hair and your toes tap to the music, you’ll be transported from one vineyard to the next, listening to a guide recounting the history of this beautiful town and its wines. Half-day, full-day or customised private tours are available – and every one will be fun filled and informative. You’ll love the experience.


Hover over Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Imagine a helicopter ride from vineyard to vineyard, tasting wines along the way. With Dragon Flies, a new offering from Wine Flies Tours, you can now charter your own helicopter to taste wine at your leisure. A knowledgeable tour guide will accompany your flight to give you greater insight into the experience. The route over Stellenbosch and Franschhoek is particularly tailored to impress. You’ll be collected at your accommo-
dation and transported to your helicopter with bubbly in hand. The first stop is a wine tasting in the Stellenbosch wine region, which you can enjoy with a light breakfast or lunch. Your next destination is Fransch­hoek Valley for a few more wine tastings before you head back to Cape Town. At the end of the roughly three-hour trip, the team can drop you back at your accommodation or at a romantic
restaurant (arranged by your guide). All flights are private and include a tour guide, a shuttle to the helipad, breakfast/lunch, wine tastings and an arti­sanal chocolate pairing with wine.  


Hot-air balloon over the Winelands

At GoBallooning, the team offers guests an exclusive hot-air balloon adventure over the beautiful Cape Winelands. Lift-off is at sunrise just a few kilometres outside Stellenbosch and the journey lasts an hour, drifting in whichever direction the wind takes you. The balloon then lands where the team finds a suitable spot and you will be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice, followed by a delicious breakfast. Expect to see a beautiful sunrise, mountains, vineyards, dams and more from a vantage point that very few people get to experience – this is a true bucket-list adventure.


Ice cream and wine

Take your favourite summertime dessert to the next level with delightful ice cream and wine pairings at:

Clos Malverne 
One of the first farms to play around with ice cream pairings was Clos Malverne. This farm in Devon Valley offers exciting seasonal handmade ice cream flavour combinations (think cherry, mint and fudge, white chocolate and five-spice, and even malva pudding and custard). Each is paired with a specifically selected glass of wine – such as smoked maple syrup and bacon ice cream with the estate’s flagship blend, Auret – at a cost of R85 per person. Booking is essential.



To celebrate the warmer months, Koelenhof wine farm offers a fresh and fun sorbet and wine tasting. For R95 you will receive six wines accompanied by four sorbet tastings (granadilla, berries of the forest, lemon sorbet and milk tart pop) and two gelato tastings (chocolate and blueberry). Can you say delicious? Booking is essential. 


Bites and Sites

Walk the streets of Stellenbosch and learn more about its cultures, colours and flavours. The Bites and Sites team’s leisurely strolls through the culinary possibilities of modern South Africa, with an emphasis on local produce and businesses, is a must if you have just a few hours to spend in town. Choose the Classic Cape Cuisine Walk, which introduces you to the authentic
flavours of Stellenbosch, or Foodies on Foot, where you will savour the handiwork of passionate food artisans and celebrated artists in town. The other option is the Kayamandi Township Tour and Xhosa Lunch, where you’ll experience the hospitality and creativity of township life. “The purpose of our walking tours is to connect guests to the heart and soul of Stellenbosch food. It’s all about experiencing culture on a spoon,” says founder Hanli Fourie. “Our Respon­sible Tourism practices are the essence of everything we do.”


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