Stellenbosch for families: My top 9 spots
Stellenbosch's resident Food Fox, Ilse van der Merwe shares her top spots to spend time with the kids in Stellenbosch this festive season.
A student town surrounded by wine farms might not sound like the perfect place for children, but the opposite is true. Stellenbosch is renowned for its world class schools and beautiful neighbourhoods, and has remained a firm favourite over many decades for young families to settle with their kids.
I grew up in Uniepark, one of the last suburbs on your left as you drive towards Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. This leafy area was close to our schools, and a bike ride away from town. We lived opposite an open park in Water Road, where we swung from homemade tree swings and played cricket until dark. We practically knew everyone in the neighbourhood, including their pets and their lodging students.
Not much has changed in Uniepark, although I don’t live there anymore. The park is still there, well-kept with most of its original jungle gyms and play gear. Many of the original home owners still live there, but there is a fast growing contingent of prosperous new generation families that are moving in and renovating older homes (I call them prosperous, because buying property in a settled, central Stellenbosch suburb close to schools just isn’t possible on an “average” salary anymore).
Having a four year old daughter, we often seek out places in and around Stellenbosch that cater for kids. But here I have to be clear: we rarely go to places that just cater for kids. I personally don’t like a luminous jumping castle in my face while I’m trying to relax. We rather opt for places that cater for us in terms of fabulous food and wine and views etc, but also cater for kids in terms of a beautiful play area and/or space to move and run around. That way everyone can settle in nicely and enjoy the best of both worlds without any rush.
Catering for families with kids is big business these days, and many of the top wine estates and restaurants have come to the party. Here’s my list of top places to visit/play/eat for families in Stellenbosch:
These guys focus on gourmet picnics and they have a beautiful play area and expansive lawns that would make any kid (and parents) happy. They also have a kids menu. Booking is essential.
With a huge lawn, beautiful pond and breathtaking views, kids can run while parents feast. Fabulous option for breakfast on a weekend.
Book your picnic ahead, and spend the whole afternoon on this tranquil estate. They also provide boules and croquettes to play with, and they have a beautiful jungle gym in the corner.
Here you can sit on the plush outdoor couches or lounge on the lawn cushions for a super laid-back afternoon of wine tasting and cheese platters. There is no jungle gym, but the expansive lawn areas are perfect for kids. The views are majestic.
Nic van Wyk and his team now also have a drool-worthy kids menu and a beautiful dream catcher play area, so take a seat on the lawn and let the kids do their thing.
On weekends you’ll find some proper catering for young families in terms of a dedicated play area, rides, puppet shows and much more. Many parents come only for the activities for kids, but there is so much on offer for adults too in terms of food, music, wine and beer.
This expansive picnic area with play areas is perfect for the whole family. We love the deli because it caters for everyone and you can choose what you want in your basket.
This magical garden remains one of our favourite visits in town. Take the whole family and walk through the themed garden areas, or browse in their botanical shop for plants, books and cool stuff. They also have a small restaurant for refreshments. Or bring your blanket and take a book along for a quiet morning reading session.
Even the drive is beautiful, with the winding majestic road of Helshoogte pass. Nestled in the mountain you’ll find a classy deli with the most beautiful views, and a beautiful play area that looks like artsy sculptures. The deli caters for everyone, so you’ll find some great stuff on the menu for little mouths.
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