Stellenbosch, with its oak-lined streets and heritage Cape Dutch buildings, is a popular getaway in South Africa’s Cape Winelands. From wine farms to restaurants, art galleries to museums, not to mention hiking and mountain biking, there’s lots to do in the area when you stay at Vine Guesthouse in Bottelary Road, Stellenbosch.
So it was a joy to discover that Vine Guesthouse in Bottelary Road in the Stellenbosch countryside was neither of those things. This Winelands accommodation reopened under its new name in August 2018. The owner/management team consists of Ruan Swart, his mom Suzette and his partner Joy Lazenby. Ruan and Suzette are South Africans who have been living in Singapore since he was 12; now they’re back in the Cape. Joy is a Brit who met Ruan in Malaysia.
Drive in through the garden and park in the shade, enjoy the sound of the fountain near the entrance. Inside, you’ll find a reception lounge with soft grey couches and a glass-doored fireplace for cold winter days.
If you feel like being extra indulgent, ask about the mobile spa. You can book an in-room massage, facial, hand or foot treatment with the travelling therapist.
Here you’re in the beautiful Cape Winelands, so visiting Stellenbosch wine farms for wine tasting is one of the most obvious things you’ll want to do. Hartenberg Wine Estate is right next door to Vine Guesthouse, so close you can take a walk there to enjoy the gardens and birds along the way. When we visited in spring the colourful pincushion proteas that line the access road were in full bloom. Hartenberg also does lunches and really nice picnics, and there’s a kid’s play area next to the picnic area to keep the young ones entertained while you relax.
Other wineries close to Vine Guesthouse include:
- Simonsig – famous for its Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines; it has a nice restaurant too
- Beyerskloof – best known for its pinotage; the onsite bistro even does a pinotage burger which you can enjoy with great views over the valley
- Bellevue – wine tasting (including an unusual wood-fired pizza and wine pairing) and horse riding on the farm
- Kunjani – a relatively new winery with a gorgeous tasting area and restaurant that has good views; Kunjani is Zulu for ‘Hi, how are you?’
- Kanu – restaurant and tasting area with a view deck, hiking and mountain biking trails; named after a mythical African bird of paradise
For lovers of something made not of grapes but of malted barley and hops, there’s a lesser known beer route in Stellenbosch that includes breweries like Stellenbosch Brewing Company and Zebonkey.
And don’t forget the many superb restaurants in Stellenbosch and surrounds, offering everything from fine dining to bistros and coffee shops. Try the Postcard Café (bistro whose ace up the sleeve is the fabulous garden and mountain views), Schoon (coffee shop and bakery) or the restaurant at Rust en Vrede (fine dining, deep pockets required).
If your inclination is more active than cultural, do a walking or cycling tour around Stellenbosch. Suzette or Joy can book you a guided bike tour with the Adventure Shop. Go horse riding, play golf (Devonvale golf estate is just around the corner from Vine Guesthouse and you can book ahead to play as a visitor), or head for the hills on a hike or mountain bike ride in the lovely Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
Get more information about the huge range of activities in my post, 20 things to do in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands.
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