Whether you have money in the bank or not – it all comes down to finding awesome ways to spend your down time. Here’s a short guide on some fun things to do in Stellenbosch. I have included outing ideas that range from being completely free to around R200 per person.
1. Strawberry & Berry Picking
Suggestion 1: Polkadraai
If you feel like getting your fingers dirty & picking your own delicious strawberries to eat, look no further than Polkedraai strawberry farm on Lynedoch Road, 10 minutes outside of Stellenbosch. It is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends or family, and the strawberries are worth the effort!
Picking season is from October to December but the farm stall is open annually if you want to pop in and buy a punnet of ripe strawberries.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 17:00 pm
Contact: +27 (0)21 881 3854 (Select option 2)
Cost per person: R50 – R100
Suggestion 2: Hillcrest Berry Farm
Hillcrest Berry Farm, ten minutes outside of Stellenbosch along the Hells Hoogte pass, is also a wonderful farm to visit as it overlooks the valleys of Franschoek and is tucked away above the mist. If fairies existed, this is where they would choose to drink tea and feast on seasonal berries. The restaurant makes lovely scones and has many gluten free & health options, catering to all food requirements. The shop stocks every kind of berry, berry jam and berry liqueur you could possibly imagine. The availability of certain berries depends on the season, but you will be able to find whatever you are looking for in the frozen section.
Opening Hours: Monday- Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Contact: +27(0)21 885 1629
Cost per person: R80 – R150
2. Botanical Gardens
The Stellenbosch University Botanical Gardens, though small, is beautiful and is the perfect spot to study in-between lectures as it is within walking distance of campus. It makes for the perfect picnicking spot. There is also a restaurant if you feel like a cup of tea or bite to eat. Find this hidden gem in Van Riebeeck Street, Stellenbosch.
Opening hours: Open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Contact: 021 808 3054
Cost per person: Free, unless you feel like indulging in a slice of cake, which would set you back around R30 rand.
3. Pulp Cinema for Students
Any Stellenbosch student knows the Neelsie as a second home, offering somewhere to study and a cheap meal when you can’t stand another cup of two-minute noodles and miss your mom’s food. Besides good food and a place to cram for exams, it is also home to Pulp Cinema, the student movie house. For just R350 a year, you can attend as many movies as you’d like and as often as you like. You can also pay per ticket if you don’t join the society.
4. Wine Tasting
If you pride yourself on being a wine connoisseur or are looking for a fun group activity, Stellenbosch is the place for you. There are specials ranging from as low as R50 and some even include free biltong or chocolate, so there’s something for everyone, even if you don’t feel like wine.
Stellenbosch Hills offer the “Biltong & Droewors adventure” which costs R50 for a maximum choice of five wines paired with biltong and droewors.
The Waterford Wine estate also has a chocolate and wine pairing for R50.
Opening hours: Monday- Friday 8:00 am – 5:00pm Saturday: 10:00 am- 3:00 pm (Closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Contact: 021 881 3828/9
Cost per person: R50 – R150
5. Weekend Music
Friday and Saturday nights in Stellenbosch are known for attracting everyone in the town to listen to amazing local talents, from Al Bairre to Shortstraw, to aKing and Fokofpolisiekar. If you enjoy letting your hair loose and love music, Aandklas, Bohemia and Die Mystic Boer would be the venues for you. Bohemia and Die Mystic Boer are located on Victoria Street, a block away from campus, and Aandklas is on Bird Street.
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week, 11:00am – 2:00am
Contact: 021 8828375
Stellenbosch is slowly becoming a market attraction, with a few markets offering delicious food, live music and local products to buy. The Slow Market at Oude Libertas is one of my personal favourites, as it has a welcoming atmosphere, delicious homemade food and in wintertime they make heavenly glühwein. The slow market takes place every Saturday from 9:00h – 14:00h.
Opening hours: 9:00 – 14:00pm
Contact: 021 809-8412/8106
Cost per person: Free to browse, R30 upwards if you’re interested in food or shopping.
7. For the Car Enthusiasts
The Franschoek Motoring Museum is one of the largest privately owned car collections in South Africa. The museum showcases cars from the first production car made, The Model T Ford, all the way through to today’s racing cars including brands such as Ferrari, Mercedes & Porsche, not to mention vintage Formula One cars.
Opening hours: Mon- Fri: 10am – 5pm and Sat – Sun: 10am – 4pm
Contact: (021) 874 9000
Cost per person: Less than R100
8. Did you say Chocolate?
Calling chocoholics of all ages, Le Chocolatier is the place for you. Situated on Church Street in Stellenbosch, you’ll be able to taste a range of unique flavours in small chocolate pockets. The owners of Le Chocolatier believe that chocolates should not contain any preservatives, therefore they rely purely on recipes inherited from generations of Swiss chocolatiers. The quaint cafe is a great location to stop by for a cup of coffee, as well as for some eloquent chocolate tasting. Also, seemingly chocolate releases endorphins which means you’ll be smiling for days.
Opening hours: 8:00-19:00, Monday – Sunday
Contact: 021 883 2200, email@example.com
9. For the Beach Bums and Wave Riders
Calling all beach babies missing the sandy shores of Durban or Cape Town. There is a beautiful beach in Somerset West to dip your toes into. Follow the Somerset west turnoff until you hit the beach. It’s that simple! If you were looking for prime surf spots, then Gordon’s Bay would be the next beach to check out. Drive along Strand Main Road until you reach Gordon’s Bay and then turn right onto Gordon’s Bay Beach.
10. The Earth without ‘Art’ is just ‘Eh’
There is nothing more relaxing than wandering the halls of a gallery, seeking inspiration from beautiful artworks. The Rupert Museum is home to famous South African artworks by Artists such as Alexis Preller, Walter Batiss and Pier Neef to name but a few. At just R10 if you present your student card and R20 without – it is definitely worth it!
Opening hours: Monday- Friday: 9:30 am- 4:00 pm Saturday: 10:00 am – 13:00 pm
Contact: 021 888 3344
Cost per person: R20 for adults, R10 for pensioners, students & scholars
As a student living away from the comforts of home, finding somewhere to go where you don’t have to pay obscene amounts for entertainment is always a factor I have to consider. If you are looking for cheaper places to go or even if you have the cash on hand to spend, it would be a good idea to have a look at the Tourist Centre on Mark Street Stellenbosch. The staff are friendly and are more than happy to point you in the direction of something to do and will take your budget into consideration. Another piece of advice – be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk around waving your cellphone in the air looking for signal; you are asking for trouble.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]