Stellenbosch - Heart of the Winelands and Golfers Paradise
Stellenbosch has a lot to offer for its inhabitants and guests alike, Stellenbosch has a small-town aura with a leisurely lifestyle in an atmosphere where art, music and theatre reign. Yet Stellenbosch is only half-an-hour's drive from the Mother City of Cape Town... where else could one find this quality of life?
Stellenbosch is home to one of the oldest universities in South Africa. For the students, in addition to the buzz of campus life, the academic stimulation, and the sports facilities surrounded by mountain scenery, there are the sidewalk cafés and friendly meet-and-eat pubs - all within walking distance.
Stellenbosch is so centrally located in the region that it is the ideal base from which to explore the Cape Town, Cape Peninsula, Whale Route and West Coast. Save yourself some headaches and avoid traffic, high-ways and city crowds and gain some quality time with family and friends.
Apart from all the wonderful wine estates, most of the accommodation establishments and restaurants like Keren’s Vine guesthouse are also privately owned and managed - promising you a personal and pampered experience during your stay in Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch is home to many well known artists and crafters of note. A wealth of local products - art, craft, jewelers, boutiques, deli's etc. can be found and enjoyed.
If you are keen to play golf in a setting close to paradise: Stellenbosch is the hub of a golfers paradise with three 18 hole, championship, golf courses in the town itself where the pristine beauty of the area makes for a perfect day out. Within 20 to 45 minutes drive there are a further 10 top quality golf courses of world class standard. For the keen golfer, this is a true paradise where top class golf can be combined with great food and excellent wine, all at value for money prices.
History of Stellenbosch
Simon van der Stell is the Dutch Governor responsible for giving Stellenbosch its name. He established a small community close to the Eerste River intending to populate Cape Towns Surrounds. Stellenbosch quickly developed into one of the main provisional sources for Cape Town and its harbour. After the attempt to cultivate oaks for the construction of ships failed, the wine trade was begun with great success!
In 1685 the fast growing populace of Stellenbosch established itself as a location of juridical influence, starting the most well known juristic faculty of South Africa. The Cape Winelands such as: Alto, Beyerskloof, Boschendal, Dornier, Eikestad, Gleur du Cap, Meerlust, Simonsig, and Spier, stand in competition to the world’s biggest, producing wines. Simultaneously, the smaller, very passionate wine producers add to the variation and quality in wine produce over all. A multitude of exquisite wine farmers have dedicated themselves to the chemistry-free wine cultivation, called the “slow-wine”, being a particular delicacy.
Geography of Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is situated about 50km in eastern direction away from Cape Town next to Elsies river – 114m above sea level. Following the land revisions act in 2002, locations such as Franschhoek, Pniel, Ida’s Valley, Cloetesville and the township Kayamandi, were added as part of the city. Mountains, bearing fertile valleys and fields, encircle the surrounding lands. As well as being agriculturally important it counts as the most important wine area of South Africa. 10km away in northerly direction you will find the N1 highway.
Stellenbosch’s weather is similar to that in Cape Town, bearing less of an influence from the temperate ocean. Hence the summer temperature will exceed Cape Towns by a good 2°C. Climate as well as soil of wine lands around Stellenbosch are favourable to the cultivation of wine, making Keren’s Vine Guesthouse an ideal accommodation for wine-lovers and experts. Enjoy the sunrise in the wine lands after a restful night at Keren’s Vine Guesthouse.
Introducing Cape Town
Good-looking, fun-loving, sporty and sociable. If Cape Town was in the dating game that’s how her profile would read. The Mother City as its lovingly called by its inhabitants occupies one of the world’s most stunning locations, with an iconic mountain (Table Mountain) dominating the landscape. As beautiful as the sourrounding beaches and vineyards can be, it’s the rugged wilderness of Table Mountain, coated in a unique flora, that makes Cape Town unique.
Long before the Dutch took a fancy to the Cape Peninsula in the 17th century, the land was home to the Khoisan people who valued the spiritual power of the mountains and their life-providing water. While the European immigrants, and the slaves they brought here, have all shaped the physical environment of South Africa’s third-largest city, Table Mountain – now protected within a national park that covers some 75% of the peninsula – remains at Cape Town’s heart. This ever-present backdrop is the city’s adventure playground, as well as a source of legend and entertainment.
History of Cape Town
There is no certainty as to when humans first occupied the area prior to the first visits of Europeans in the 15th century. The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers cave in Fish Hoek and date to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago.  Little is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1486. Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, and the area did not have regular contact with Europeans until 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies, and the Redout Duijnhoop (later replaced by the Castle of Good Hope). The city grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the city to import slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured communities.
During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, the Netherlands was repeatedly occupied by France, and Great Britain moved to take control of Dutch colonies. Britain captured Cape Town in 1795, but the Cape was returned to the Netherlands by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the Cape again in 1806 following the battle of Bloubergstrand. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Cape Town was permanently ceded to Britain. It became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony, whose territory expanded very substantially through the 1800s.
Cape Town’s Geography
Cape Town occupies the southwestern most point of Africa. The City centre lies embedded between Table Mountain, Devils Peak, Lions Head and Signal Hill on the one side and borders on the Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Table Mountain extends along the Twelve Apostles spanning the coastline of the Atlantic oceans with beautiful beaches, bays and valleys until the Cape of Good Hope. Visitors will experience a mixture between awe and comfort, creating a never-ending feeling of belonging. The Atlantic offers quick refreshment at spots such as Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point, Dolphin Beach, or Big Bay, and lends the perfect backdrop to a romantic sun downer. The early bird will experience spectacular sunrises on the other side of the peninsula: e.g. in Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fishhoek, or Simons Town, and can enjoy the warmth of the Indian Ocean.
Cape Town’s Climate
The Cape Peninsula offers a temperate climate. During summer (December-March) the temperatures seldomly climb over 30°C, and the Cape Doctor (South Easter wind) still rids Cape Town of any fog or fumes, just as it did centuries ago – saving Cape Town from the plague. Cape Town is beautiful in autumn and spring days, maintaining a temperature averaging 20°C. A lot of tourists even prefer the winter months, were the rain is intermittent at 15°C, filling the city’s dams. Holiday makers particularly enjoy the rough and raging seas along with the accompanying storms at this time of year. Both sides of the peninsula are well within reach in a short 30-40min drive from your accommodation at Keren’s vine guesthouse in Stellenbosch.