Stellenbosch Municipality is located in the heart of the Cape Winelands. It is situated about 50 km from Cape Town and is flanked by the N1 and N2 main routes. The municipal area covers approximately 900 km² and has a population of approximately 270 000 people. The municipality’s area of jurisdiction includes the town of Stellenbosch and stretches past Jamestown to as far as
Raithby in the south, to Bottelary, Koelenhof, and Klapmuts to the north, and over the Helshoogte Pass to Pniel, Kylemore, Groendal and Franschhoek in the east. Apart from formal settlement areas, the municipal area also includes a number of informal settlements.
Stellenbosch town is the second oldest town in South Africa, dating back to 1679 when an island in the Eerste River was named Stellenbosch by the then Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. The first farming activities in the area were started in 1679. Today, the area has become primarily known for its extraordinary wines and its fruit. The towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are renowned for various architectural styles such as Dutch, Georgian and Victorian, which reflect its heritage and traditions, but also divisions of the past.
The area houses excellent educational institutions, including the University of Stellenbosch and a number of prestigious schools. It has a strong business sector, varying from major South African businesses and corporations, to smaller enterprises and home industries. The tourism industry alone is responsible for the creation of about 18 000 jobs in the area. Wine farms and cellars abound, and the area is the home of the very first Wine Route in South Africa.
A variety of sport facilities is available. Coetzenburg, with its athletics and rugby stadiums, has delivered star performances over many generations. The municipal area has a number of theatres, which include the university’s HB Thom Theatre, Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, renowned for its summer season of music, theatre and dance, Spier Amphitheatre, as well as Klein Libertas Theatre, Dorpstraat Theatre and Aan de Braak Theatre.
The area is known for its quality, award-winning restaurants and is a tourist haven with many boutiques, galleries, and curio shops. There are several museums and art galleries and the area is host to a number of annual cultural, food and wine, and sports festivals. A wide array of
accommodation is available for visitors to choose from. Welfare and community organisations abound and the municipality and university play a leading role in assisting meeting the needs of previously neglected communities.