Stellenbosch the Town

On 6 November 1679 the newly-appointed Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, discovered a river running through a fertile, green valley. This was the first river he crossed on his journey from Cape Town and that is why he named it the Eerste (First) river.

He decided to establish a settlement here and named it after himself - Stellenbosch. Within a short period the first settlers arrived. By 1682 the town became a local authority and 1685 became the seat of a magistrate with an authority over 25 000 square kilometres.

Grapes were planted in the fertile valleys and soon Stellenbosch became the centre of the wine industry. In 1971, the world-renowned Stellenbosch Wine Route was established. The University of Stellenbosch, known affectionately as "Maties" had its inception as the Stellenbosch Gymnasium in 1866. In 1880 it became Stellenbosch College and in 1887 was renamed Victoria College in honour of Queen Victoria. In 1918 the college officially became the University of Stellenbosch.

The meticulously-restored buildings, particularly in oak-lined, historic Dorp Street, bear witness to a proud past with many fine examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture.

Several international enterprises have their headquarters in this bustling university town. An innovative project which involved only "clean" industry (fashioned after Silicon Valley in the United States), was established at Technopark.

Embraced by the majestic Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, Jonkershoek, Pieke (Twin Peaks), and Helderberg mountains, this once quiet little village has evolved into a leading educational centre, centre for industry and business, heart of the wine industry and prime tourist destination.

Welcome to Stellenbosch, ourTown of Oaks.