About the Western Cape
The closest town to the Spier Estate (10 km) is the picturesque town of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest formal settlement in South Africa and named after a former Dutch governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. It is also called the Eikestad (City of Oaks) in Afrikaans, after its oak-lined streets.
Stellenbosch is internationally renowned for its scenic beauty, fine wine and cuisine, white-washed historical buildings and its university. The town centre can be explored on foot and buzzes with sidewalk cafés, curio shops, various museums and the university’s botanical garden. Stellenbosch University is the only academic institution in South Africa that offers degree programmes in viticulture and oenology. Many leading wine estates are located in the Stellenbosch surrounds and are home to some of the best restaurants in the country.
The town has modern shopping centres, pharmacies, beauty salons and spas, as well as state-of-the-art medical facilities at the Mediclinic. Stellenbosch offers an interesting blend of the historic and the modern , cobbled furrows and new architectural features, farmland, wine estates and natural surroundings.
The summer programmes at the Spier and Oude Libertas amphitheatres, as well as concerts in the University’s Conservatoire of Music and the AmaZink township restaurant all offer a unique experience in theatre, music, dance and other forms of entertainment. The Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg and Papegaaiberg offer hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers a breathtaking outdoor experience.
The Western Cape
The Cape Town city bowl, Waterfront, Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Hout Bay and Boulders Penguin colony are famous tourist attractions that are between 30 and 60 minutes from Stellenbosch. If your schedule permits, delegates are encouraged to either arrive a day or two earlier, or to stay a few days after the conference. The tourist attractions of the Western Cape will not disappoint.
Climate and weather
The Western Cape has a moderate Mediterranean climate, but Cape Town is infamous for having all four seasons in one day. December hails the beginning of summer. Days are mild, dry, sunny and warm with temperature minimums around 15 degrees and maximum temperatures around 27 degrees at the coast. Inland temperatures – applicable to Spier and Stellenbosch – are three to five degrees higher than the coastal temperatures. Light showers may occur, but will have little effect on temperatures. The south easterly wind may batter the Cape on occasion during the summer months, draping Table Mountain in a spectacular white fleecy table cloth. Called the Cape Doctor, this wind clears all pollution from the air, but can also sweep pedestrians off their feet.
Clothing and accessories
Light summer clothing is recommended for delegates, but do pack a light-weight summer jacket or wind-breaker with a hood for evening functions, as well as an umbrella. Bear in mind that the conference venue is fitted with air-conditioning which may require a light jersey, pashmina or shawl if you are sensitive to air-conditioning temperatures. The African sun is glorious and addictive, but can be intense. A hat and sun screen are must-haves if you plan to be outdoors. Most hotels and lodges have swimming pools.
Camsissa Travel and Tours
One of the entrepreneurs participating in the TaIlloires Network’s YEPI program in South Africa, through UCT ‘s Raymond Ackerman Academy, operates a tour company called Camissa. They offer a number of exciting and informative tours including their new “learning journey ” programs, where you get to meet and engage social entrepreneurs and social innovators operating in and around Cape Town . Join them as they conduct a learning journey with the TNLC student delegation on the 1st of December 2014.