Lindsay recently enjoyed a wonderful stay at Rusthuiz Guest House in Stellenbosch. From exploring museums to indulging in great wine and food, it was certainly a weekend to remember.
Having recently moved out of Stellenbosch, I was so excited to visit my old stomping grounds for leisure and not learning! Just 800m from the centre of town, we reached the luxurious Rusthuiz Guest House with more than enough time to spare during our first evening in the quaint, student town of Stellenbosch.
We were warmly greeted by Nicholas who offered us tea and coffee before showing us to our room. As a converted conference room, our classical room was very spacious and was the only room in the guesthouse with its own dressing room.
Although our neatly made up beds looked very inviting after a long day at the office, we didn’t want to waste a moment in the stunning winelands. After dumping luggage and hanging up coats in the dressing room, we headed out for dinner at Brenaissance – a wine and stud farm just 10 minutes outside Stellenbosch. Here we enjoyed their famous wine and pizza pairing before enjoying a drink in town among students celebrating the end of their third term.
We woke early on a beautifully clear Saturday morning and headed downstairs for breakfast: a spread of cereal, fresh fruit, cheeses and bread plus the option of cooked breakfast. As an ex-Matie, I was quite familiar with the area but manager Hannelise gave us great recommendations on coffee shops and restaurants to try.
Our first stop for the day was Stellenbosch’s Toy and Miniature Museum – a 5 minute drive from Rusthuiz. For only a R15 entrance, this little-known historical gem houses an impressive collection of vintage toys, dolls and miniatures. Some miniatures were even of buildings around Stellenbosch; my personal favourite being the highly detailed Oom Samie se Winkel.
I then forced my partner to take a trip down Die (memory) Laan with me as we grabbed coffees from the student centre walked around a quiet campus marvelling at academic buildings and newly-sprouting oak leaves.
A short walk through the botanical gardens led us to the Dorp (Village) Museum – a selection of 4 historically-restored houses representing a different period in the architectural development of Stellenbosch. For (again) only a R15 entrance, you’re greeted by an appropriately dressed guide at each house and allowed to roam the premises at your own leisure. In the first house, we even saw the life-sized version of a miniature kitchen we saw earlier! The Dorp Musuem is a must-do in a town brimming with fascinating history and stunning architecture.
Our morning’s cooked breakfast lasted us well through all our escapades but then it was time to find some lunch. On our walk to De Stomme Jonge (a firm favourite during my student days) we passed one of the many art galleries found around the town. Marvelling at one of the sculptors inside, we were invited into Stephen Rautenbach’s studio, where we got a glimpse into his artistic process and vision. A truly unexpected, magical experience!
After a long lunch of gourmet roosterkoek and chatting about our morning’s adventures, we did what every sensible visitor to Stellenbosch does – goes wine tasting. Just a short scenic drive outside Stellenbosch, Stark-Condé offers a unique wine tasting experience out on the water with incredible views of the Jonkershoek Valley.
Perfectly located so close to Stellenbosch, we had enough time to head back to Rusthuiz to freshen up before enjoying dinner at the cosy Basic Bistro in town. Make sure to book if you’re heading there on a weekend evening – this Stellenbosch gem is very popular amongst locals and tourists alike. After such an eventful day filled with history, food and art, we headed back to Rusthuiz for some late-night TV watching before calling it a night.
A little worn after our gallivanting the previous day, we took a slow start on Sunday and again enjoyed a delicious breakfast before being shown around Rusthuiz. A favourite among tourists, Hannelise told me the intimate guesthouse was fully booked and often accommodates returning foreigners. Understandably so, Rusthuiz has that true “home away from home” feeling with just enough attention to detail to make you feel like a favoured guest. Hannelise also mentioned that every winter season – a quieter time in Stellenbosch – they like to renovate and update the guesthouse, meaning that Rusthuiz always has a bit of that “new” feeling to it! Their latest renovation was to their bathrooms – introducing a selection of frameless showers.
Before heading back to the mother city, we stopped at the popular Schoon De Companje for a quick cup of coffee as per Hannelise’s suggestion. After returning home, it wasn’t long before we started missing the romance of Rusthuiz and beauty of “the Bos”.