Relaxed and quaint, Stanford offers visitors the chance to really embrace village life. Located a little after Hermanus, the charming little town is well worth a visit for its great food and wine, and pretty scenery.
Surrounded by mountains, and just half an hour’s drive from the coast, Stanford is the kind of place that’s ideal for those looking for a laid-back weekend. Simply relax in the village itself or explore the surrounding area to enjoy some gorgeous views and fresh country air. Whatever you do, make sure that you sample some of the food and wine that the region has to offer — you won’t regret it!
Like so many small towns in the Western Cape, Stanford has some great food options, especially if you love local flavours. Graze Slow Food Café, located in the village itself, serves up produce from the restaurant’s farm garden with a menu that changes often. Expect wholesome, seasonal dishes like carrot and cardamom soup, pumpkin and cauliflower curry, and saffron and turmeric poached pears. The team also runs self-sufficiency and foraging workshops from time to time, so be sure to chat to them about upcoming dates on your visit.
For a lovely day out with the family, try Klein River Cheese Farmstead. The farm offers a wide range of artisanal cheeses, as well as some lovely picnic menus made up of items from their deli. Choose from delicious treats like fresh ciabatta, farm-grown nasturtium pesto, spicy beetroot chutney, and crunchy cucumber pickle. Grab a basket and find a spot on the beautiful farm — what better way to spend a spring afternoon?
Try The Wine
While we are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to wine in the areas surrounding Cape Town, Stanford has some surprising gems of its own. One of the most pleasant spots to while away a weekend afternoon is Stanford Hills Estate, where you can enjoy a range of boutique wines, including a Pinotage, a Shiraz and a Sauvignon Blanc. There’s also a restaurant with gorgeous views over the Stanford valley, which serves deli breakfasts and lunches made with local, organic and free-range ingredients. As an added bonus, the space is child and pet-friendly, so you can bring the whole family along!
While you’re in the area, it’s well worth stopping at Raka, where you can taste some award-winning wines in an intimate venue. The farm’s Raka Biography Shiraz 2016 and 2017 and the Raka Quinary 2017 all won awards at The National Wine Challenge Top 100 competition earlier this year, so be sure to try those.
Explore The Area
While it’s likely that you’ll be tempted to adapt to village life and slow right down in Stanford, there is plenty to keep you busy if you’re feeling active. The Stanford Walking Trail or wandelpad stretches along the banks of the Klein River and through the town. The route boasts beautiful scenery, as well as the chance to see some diverse birdlife.
It’s also possible to explore the river by kayak or canoe, but if that sounds a little too much like hard work, consider a boat cruise instead. Boat trips along the Klein River can be arranged for groups and include braai facilities as well as other activities like tubing on request.
If you happen to be in town on the last Friday evening of the month, be sure to check out the Stanford Sunset Market. The event is held on the historic market square and is packed with artisanal foods, craft breweries, gift stalls, and live music. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy village life, stock up on local products and have some fun outdoors.