Explore Stellenbosch with insight of locals and deeper meaning.
January 1, 1970
by Callie Aspesberger
I don’t know about you, but when I travel to a new destination I go there to see a different perspective of how people live,what they do for fun and their favourite places to go to. It is all good and fun to go see the tourist attractions, but sometimes you don’t get the real insight of the heart of that place if you don’t discover it for the gem it is. It sometimes feel that the tourist attractions are set up for people to see only the one side of things.
I am a firm believer of the yin yang balance of things. The good cannot exist without the bad and vice versa. In the same breath, I also want to shed some light on perception. There is no good or bad only the way we perceive things. If you accept things for what they are, you will have an amazing trip no matter where you are. So what does that actually mean?Let me explain in terms every traveller will understand. When you get to a destination like Stellenbosch after travelling for a long time and check into your first backpackers or hotel,you get this feeling of relief rushing over you.
The feeling that you arrived at your destination. Soon after that the curiosity worm constantly whispers in your ear like a song you can’t get out of your head. It sinks in that this is simply the first pit stop and the journey is only beginning. You start asking around what there is to do or what is a must to see where you are. TripAdvisor becomes your new best tour guide and you save all the best rated restaurants and things to do in the area. This, however, can also be overwhelming because you read reviews and there are so many things to choose from. You want to make the most of the time you are there and because a holiday can never be long enough you want to try everything.
Book everything ahead or go with the flow?
Some people even book tours and plan out their entire holiday beforehand. Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. I understand that you want to make the most of your trip and that you trust specialized people to deal with landmark places, things to do, places to eat and sleep so that you will enjoy your money’s worth. I, however, like to rather place rainbow bricks as I go with the natural flow instead of following the yellow brick road.
From my personal experience, wherever you go you meet new people that match your vibrational frequency, which means you will have at least one thing in common. I see it as finding the silver lining in every situation. Once you find such a person you can openly talk to and ask for advice, but also voice your own opinions freely. Whether they are locals or people passing through, they will give you tips and recommendations of things to do and places to see. From there it is up to you to make up your own mind what you like and where you decide to go.
For example – some people will tell you that Camps Bay and Clifton (in the South Africa) is a great place to go to and has beautiful views. I completely agree on the beautiful view, but in my experience of those places it is a place where I go to inhale the spectacular beauty of nature and then move on to a smaller, more down to earth town. The type of place where people want to talk to you, share experiences and takes every day as it comes. To be brutally honest, the places where people don’t have their noses so high in the air that I can see which nose hair is out of place. I like to go to small towns that you would normally miss if you stayed on the main road. The cosy places where people are doing it for the love of the people and not for the love of power or money.
Local outdoor enjoyment in Stellenbosh?
So if you ever find yourself in Stellenbosch, and want to wander around without being lost,here are a few places I can recommend that might not be on top of the list of things to see or do in the Western Cape (South Africa).
As Stellenbosch is a student town, it blooms with young vibrant energy when the university is open and almost becomes a ghost town when it is holiday season. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful place to explore. For local outdoor enjoyment, I would recommend you walk through this town on foot. See the campus where so many friendships are made and lessons are learned.
Walk through Victoria Street, the street where all the hostels for students are and Church Street, the artistic side of town. On the corner of Victoria Street and Marais Road there is a small Nature reserve called Jan Marais Reserve.
You are likely to find students taking a break from studies or holding a picnic.
Jonkers hoek is a great place to explore if you like to hike and get in touch with nature,you can decide how far you want to walk. Or just walk into the forest and find yourself a beautiful spot to sit and soak up the breathtaking view.
If, like me, you think the only sound your stomach can make is pizza I recommend you go to a small local place called Aandklas. This is a common place for students to hang out to see and support local upcoming bands. Directly translated from the Afrikaans language the word Aandklas means night class which I think is a clever play on extracurricular activities for the university. This way students are not lying to their parents when they say that they are going to night class, merely not specifying what type of “class” it will be.
For more places to get lost with me, keep reading my follow up blogs on the Western Cape (South Africa)…