Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Image: Nenad Gataric/Unsplash

Petrol’s up. Rates are up. Salaries are, well, probably just about the same. So if you’re looking for a wintry getaway that’ll go easy on the wallet, perhaps the Stellenbosch wine lands is the answer. Visitors are being offered 1 200 very good reasons to book a short break to this historic town.

That’s thanks to the new Stay Stellenbucks campaign, which sees visitors rewarded with up to R1 200 in ‘Stellenbucks’ vouchers just for staying in town for two nights or more.

“Our Stay Stellenbucks campaign aims to create and safeguard jobs, while increasing the appeal of winter travel to our town,” explains Jeanneret Momberg, CEO of tourism organisation, Visit Stellenbosch. “June to September is our lower season traditionally, which affords us an opportunity to extend visitors a great incentive to stay and play in Stellenbosch.”

And the mechanics are wonderfully simple.

When you book a room for two nights — or longer — at any one of the 26 participating accommodation partners, you’ll receive Stellenbucks coupons to the value of 20% of your accommodation bill. That’s capped at R1 200, so for the maximum reward you’ll want to spend a total of R6 000 on accommodation.

And there’s no shortage of fine places to drop your bags. In the heart of Stellenbosch R5 900 will get you a weekend at the charming Coopmanhuis Boutique Hotel — an ideal option for soaking up the buzz of the Eikestad. Or, for the same money, spend three nights at Spier Estate in a Riverside Room at the hotel.

With your clothes in the closet, you can head out in search of ways to spend the Stellenbucks burning a hole in your pocket. And that shouldn’t be hard, with more than 50 hotels, restaurants, wineries and activity operators signed up as partners.

Coopmanhuis Boutique Hotel, Stellenbosch.
Coopmanhuis Boutique Hotel, Stellenbosch.
Image: TravelGround

“And most of them have more than one offering, whether it’s wine, art, food or different outdoor experiences. So there is so much to do,” says Momberg.

In the town centre, bright orange barrels already mark out partners where Stellenbucks can be spent, from the antiques and collectibles at Oom Samie se Winkel to the chic new wine bars sprouting across the dorp. Need an adrenalin kick? How about a Scootours jaunt in the Jonkershoek valley. Wine tasting? Point your nose towards the picnics at Jordan Wine Estate.

It’s an incentive with a track record too. The new campaign is a reboot of the successful Support Stellenbosch initiative that launched in December 2020 to help restaurants in town weather the pandemic lockdowns.

“That campaign showed that from investing R1.4m the direct economic impact was R7.1m, so we know the value of a campaign like this,” says Momberg. “And the beauty is that it doesn’t cost our members anything.”

And that’s key to the Stay Stellenbucks offer —  the business owners themselves aren’t losing out. While some partners are offering special rates to encourage more business, there’s no steep discounting or margins being slashed in a bid to woo visitors.

Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch.
Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch.
Image: Jordan Wine Estate

Instead the Stellenbucks awarded to overnight guests are being funded entirely by corporate donors with connections to Stellenbosch, who see the bigger picture in ensuring the town’s tourism economy remains vibrant during the quiet winter season.

Those donors include the likes of Stellenbosch University, Remgro, Capitec, Investec, Mergon and LDP, who have collectively stumped up some R700,000 to fund the campaign.

What it does mean is that Stellenbucks vouchers will only be offered as long as there’s money in the pot, so it pays to get in there early. And while Stellenbucks will only be issued while there are funds available, Stellenbucks can be redeemed right through until the end of September. It’s also worth noting that accommodation must be booked and redeemed before September 30.

All in all, it’s innovative thinking from a local tourism organisation finding creative ways to keep the town busy during a traditionally quiet season. While you shouldn’t really need any more reasons to consider a visit to this charming corner of the wine lands, the 1,200 new ones being offered should help sway you.

Visit the Stay Stellenbucks page for full details on participating partners, and the T&Cs.

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