Stellenbosch, affectionately known as the Town of Oaks or “Eikestad”, is nestled at the foothills of the Jonkershoek and Simonsberg Mountains which is the source to the Eerste (First) River that winds its way through the town. The documented history of Stellenbosch dates back to 1679 when farmland was developed to supply food to the settlers in Cape Town. Today, Stellenbosch is a bustling town in the heart of the Winelands, with a unique character where a strong historical atmosphere is combined with the advances of a modern society. Stellenbosch University, with more than 24 000 students, also provides a robust educational character to the town. Stellenbosch is a mere 25 minutes away from Cape Town International Airport and 45 minutes from the centre of Cape Town.
The town itself can be easily explored on foot, offering a variety of charming shops, galleries, curio shops and restaurants. It is situated in a valley (average elevation of 136m) at the foot of the Cape Fold mountain range and is surrounded by mountains reaching more than 1,500 m. Visitors who have more time to spend will find that Stellenbosch provides a base from which to explore the Cape region. Regarding agricultural activities it is best known for grape and wine production, being part of the Cape Winelands, as the Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool winters is excellent for grape production. The Western Cape area itself is one of the most important horticultural regions in South Africa, with 52,300 ha of fruit trees under cultivation and the majority of the country’s apple, pear and stone fruit production being situated in this area. But also the Cape Peninsula with its beautiful beaches and nature reserves and vibrant Cape Town are easily accessible from Stellenbosch. This region is a biodiversity hotspot and features many protected areas with a high level of endemism for both fauna and flora.
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, the property is located at the south-western extremity of South Africa. The Cape Floral Region has been recognised as one of the most special places for plants in the world in terms of diversity, density and number of endemic species. The property is a highly distinctive phytogeographic unit which is regarded as one of the six Floral Kingdoms of the world and is by far the smallest and relatively the most diverse. It is recognised as one of the world’s ʻhottest hotspotsʼ for its diversity of endemic and threatened plants, and contains outstanding examples of significant ongoing ecological, biological and evolutionary processes.