A Cottage Amongst the Vineyards

Last updated: Oct 04, 2016

Jade recently stayed at 401 Rozendal Cottages in Stellenbosch for two nights. She had an amazing time relaxing amongst the vineyards and the beautiful town.

Without traffic, the farm-style cottages at 401 Rozendal are just a 40-minute drive from the heart of Cape Town CBD - but it feels like a world of its own. The open spaces, surrounding chardonnay vineyards, unassuming hills, a sprinkling of houses and lots of clear sky, was an immediate relaxant. The humble cottages at 401 Rozendal are all named after various cats (ours was called the Maine Coon), and they sit facing a scene from a Jane Austen novel.

We unpacked the car and quickly surveyed our living quarters for the weekend; the Die Pophuis cottages are simple and homey with a modern finish (think screed-flooring, trendy dinnerware and clean lines).

It is a quiet and peaceful 4-sleeper cottage surrounded by vineyards. It is home to one shared bathroom with a shower, linen and towels provided. This little cottage also boasts a cosy fireplace and outside braai area.

The lush green grass outside (fenced with a low, unassuming gate so as not to impose on the view) was a perfect place for our 6-month-old puppy to run out his pent-up energy. We were ready to explore Stellenbosch.

Our first stop was the highly-recommended Basic Bistro in Church Street. This charming eatery sits at the heart of Stellenbosch, a mere 15 minute drive from the cottages (which gives you another chance to admire the beauties on the horse farm next door). We settled in at an intimate table on the outside porch and shared a breakfast together. One of my favourite things about getting there early was watching their fresh produce arrive via a boutique delivery service. Knowing the ingredients on our plates were fresh and farm-bought made everything taste just that much more scrumptious. I would recommend their Full Breakfast - the farm-style boerewors is tastier than any I've had before.

The Stellenbosch Slow Market piqued our interest, so we headed there next. With ample parking and signage, it's not difficult to find yourself walking into the market bustle. We quickly realised that such a hearty breakfast was a small mistake - the food stalls displaying their glorious wares were almost enough to tempt me straight into a second meal. Set amongst a brick-paved area with leafy trees all round, this fairy-knowe location makes ambling along the stalls a lovelier experience. You can lighten your wallet on anything from fresh produce and slow-cooked meals to beautiful bead-work and second-hand books. The market is also dog-friendly (leashed hounds only), which suited us perfectly. One of the nicest things about this market is getting to experience a lot of locals interacting in a relaxed and happy-go-lucky environment. Their friendliness and familiarity made it really feel like we had left the fast-paced city behind us for a while.

What's a trip to Stellenbosch without a visit to one of the wine farms, right? For lunch, we met with a friend and found ourselves a table at Eight, the farm-to-table dining spot at Spier Wine Farm. We had tried to get in a spot of wine-tasting, but there was a small waiting list (ever-popular Spier!), so we enjoyed our midday meal around an outside table instead. Of course we each ordered a glass of wine and mine (the Chardonnay) was crisp and summery, just the way I like it. I also tried their vegetarian risotto, which I thought could have been a little more flavoursome. My companions both thoroughly enjoyed their fillet and beef burger though so we left in good spirits. If you haven't been to visit Spier, it's a beautiful place to spend an afternoon - they also offer picnic baskets to be enjoyed on the grass next to the picturesque dam. Make sure to visit Eagle Encounters too - they offer daily shows -and since the birds are mostly rescue animals, the sanctuary is really for a great cause.

As we left on Sunday morning, we stopped by the R44 Market to pick up a bite for the road. It runs on Saturday and Sunday and requires a good few free hours to truly experience it. The food stalls are numerous and varied, the outside seating is setup in a park-like setting and there is a whole section dedicated to arts, crafts, clothing, accessories and even fun activities for the kids. We agreed that we definitely have to go back with a group of friends for the day.

Of course, eating delicious foods and enjoying copious amounts of wine are not the only things to do in Stellenbosch. We went for a short walk up one of the many mountains in the area, we ambled along and around the beautiful Rozendal vineyards and we relaxed on our front porch while enjoying the sounds and sights of farm-life. We made a cosy fire when the sun went down and lazily read magazines and ate snacks in bed. Visiting the Stellenbosch area should be a fine balance of enjoying what this beautiful town has to offer without completely tiring yourself out (it is a holiday, after all). The area is full of things to do and one weekend is really not enough to satisfy the list of restaurants and wine farms and farm-style bakeries and boutique clothing stores. My advice is to take it easy. Have a vague plan of the things you want to see and experience before you get there, but always allow for happen-chance!

PS. Wonderfully, Die Pophuis is pet-friendly, but only if arranged prior to your stay. Have fun!

To find out more about 401 Rozendal Cottages and to book a weekend away in Stellenbosch, click here.