dorp street, stellenbosch

The picture above shows the main (Dorp) street as it appears today. While more contemporary buildings now adorn this most nostalgic and tree lined street, many of its earlier Cape Dutch dwellings survive.

Stellenbosch History (Circa 1679)

The Birth of Stellenbosch
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. When Governor Simon van der Stel first visited the area in November 1679 he was much taken by its beauty.

The name Stellenbosch ('Van der Stel's bos') was given to the site of the governor's camp, and by the following year the first settlers had arrived from Cape Town.

By 1682 the town had become a local authority and in 1685 it became the seat of a magistrate with authority over 25 000 square kilometers.


Grapes were planted in the fertile valleys and soon Stellenbosch became the center 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 honor 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.

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

"We travel all over the world and could'nt be happier with our beautiful accommodation in Stellenbosch!  Thank you!"  - Bob & Karen Drummond, USA