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Cape Town Winter: Weekend in Stellenbosch

It’s no secret that I think the Cape is incredible in summer and in some ways, even better in winter. Less traffic, no wind and phenomenal winter prices that make being a local even more pleasant, if that seems at all possible.

The city is on fire with winter specials during the colder months, with some of the top restaurants in the country offering dramatically reduced rates. Accommodation is also a steal over winter, with hotels and guesthouses opening their doors and basically welcoming the winter crowd as old, long-lost friends.

We spent a night in Simon’s Town a couple of weekends ago and this weekend we ate, drank and walked our way through one of my favourite places, Stellenbosch. This is why I love the winelands in winter.

The Slow Market is basically the Neighbourgoods Market without the crowds. It’s all about taking things easy, with good food, craft beers and local wines. A great excuse to get up and out of the house early on a Saturday morning.

I maintain that Cape Town’s harsh, perpetually wet winters are a rumour. Look at this! This weekend was warm and sunny, with temperatures up to 20 degrees!

We spent two nights at the lovely 22 Die Laan Guesthouse. The room was big and plush, with a huge bathroom that included my own personal winter weekend getaway essential: a bath. Nothing like a long bubble bath with a glass of wine to help you get into the swing of a wintry weekend. The room came with hot water bottles for the cold nights and it must be said that the staff were exceedingly welcoming and friendly. When we requested an early breakfast for Sunday morning, since we had to shoot through to Cape Town for Keenan’s soccer match, they were more than happy to serve us a full English breakfast at the crack of dawn. They also knew all the best local spots for food and wine.

Brampton Wine Bar is a great little spot that serves wine at R18 for a glass of Pinotage and lets you draw on the tables. I love this place since they always have a good vibe. They also do a plate of fivedolmades for R30 – student prices for grown up people!

If you prefer beer to wine, then you’ll love CRAFT. They serve so many different craft beers on tap that I forgot to count how many there were on offer. They also have a coffee and cake shop and a wood-fired pizza over. This place was packed on Saturday afternoon and is not far from Brampton and just across from Wijnhuis – ie. perfect for bar-hopping on foot.
Everyone recommended 5 Ryneveld for burgers, but they were full so we settled for a little look around and an addition to our list of where to eat for next time. We had dinner at Gino’s instead and it was flipping delicious! I had the pasta platter – a combo of spaghetti bolognese, fettuccine alfredo and penne arrabitia which was enough to feed four people but didn’t stand a chance against my winter appetite. Keenan had a tropical pizza which was also delicious, but I couldn’t fit any more food in me and sadly only had one bite. 

I love the Cape Dutch architecture of Stellenbosch. Every building I see is my new favourite building.

Tokara is one of my favourite places in Stellenbosch. Their restaurant serves the most amazing, fresh, light and delicious food with a view that is so beautiful it’s actually a joke. The deli is my kryptonite, with olives, olive oil, breads and cheeses to take home and a light lunch menu on offer. We ordered this antipasti platter and it was delicious. They have a mega-huge fireplace which wasn’t lit due to the mid-winter heat, but it definitely somewhere I would want to hang out on a cold and rainy day. 

The current Come Sit outdoor sculpture exhibition is super cool. Along the streets of the town, you’ll come across this monkey, a beautiful lady with an umbrella and lots more. The exhibition makes use of these practical benches, where local artists have designed a variety of sculptures to keep you company. The idea of combining art and functionality sits well with me and I love this project.

Beautiful in summer or winter.

This is my favourite of the Come Sit benches, by artist Izanne Wiid and is called C-ME-C.

I discovered Mila The Cake Shop in 2010 and have been obsessed with the delicious treats inside ever since. I drive from Cape Town to Stellenbosch just to pick up a birthday cake from her shop every year. Next door to the cake shop is Dorp Staat Deli. Good luck walking out without having committed carbicide. We took home three little cakes and ate them back at 22 Die Laan, be-robed and in bed. Perfection!

I’m kind of obsessed with Keenan right now. You know what I mean?
Stellenbosch has an amazing Come Sit, Stay & Savour campaign running this winter, with special offers that can work with any budget. Starting at R1400 per person for two night accommodation, dinner, lunch and two Stellenbosch experiences, ranging up to R3200 per person for a luxurious experience in a five star hotel. Check out the details here.