Eyewitness Stellenbosch: Life Coach Marlize Stander

Stellenbosch is a picturesque town in South Africa’s Western Cape and the home of Marlize Stander. She loves South Africa, travelling, food and wine and is very passionate about hiking, dancing and theatre. Her positive outlook on life is contagious. 

She enthusiastically puts her dreams into actions. That ability makes her the perfect person to be a Life Coach; she enjoys assisting people to do this too. I met her weeks and weeks ago, and when I think of her I foremost remember her sweetness. I was so very happy, when busy Marlize confirmed to have time to talk about Stellenbosch in South Africa.

The Touristin: Three words that characterize Stellenbosch?

Marlize: Only three words?! It has to be a combined phrase of sorts …’Food and Wine Heaven’! / Beauty and Vibrance = The Winelands.

The Touristin: How do you get around Stellenbosch?

Marlize: I drive around mostly as I live outside the town centre, but in town, a leisurely stroll is the way to go. There are also lots of exciting initiatives in town to promote the use of bicycles to get around.

The Touristin: What is the best kept secret about Stellenbosch?

Marlize: The uniquely Stellenbosch local, non-touristy ‘kuier-spots’ – the tucked-away little restaurants, theatres or coffee shops where you can be entertained, socialise and wine and dine with the people of the town.

The Touristin: What is your favourite town/borough/suburb/area along Stellenbosch and why?

Marlize: To be honest, after my 45 years living and working in and around the town, my most favourite area is ANY location from which I can see the soft pink light of sunset on our beautiful mountains – especially the Pieke (the twin peaks in the Jonkershoek mountain range). So, it doesn’t matter where I am – I need to see our mountains to feel home and happy!

The Touristin: The best place for a hot chocolate or coffee along Stellenbosch?

Marlize: In the town centre it is definitely at De Oude Bank Bakkerij (the Old Bank Bakery) – corner of Church and Bird Street (Schoon de Companje). Outside the centre, my favourite spot is Ya Ya Cafe in lower Dorp Street.

The Touristin: What is one restaurant we must try out while in Stellenbosch?

Marlize: We’re in Food and Wine Heaven – how can I choose?! For outside of town lunch with stunning views, I prefer Tokara Deli on Helshoogte Pass as well as Post Card Café (Stark Conde Estate, Jonkershoek). Town centre for casual and buzzy, do Basic Bistro, or for more elegant dining in the evening opt for the Wijnhuis (the Wine House).

The Touristin: Where would we meet you on weekends?

Marlize: Friday sundowner will be on the Devon Valley Hotel’s patio enjoying a glass of wine & some snacks with friends. Saturday morning – with a cappuccino and the weekend paper in my favourite coffee shop, Ya Ya Café in lower Dorp Street or sipping wine and watching people at the Oude Libertas Slowfood Market. Saturday afternoon I’ll be out for a walk or run in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. Sunday is a time to stroll through the town centre, visit the Botanical Garden or walk along the pathway on the banks of the Eerste River.

The Touristin: Do you have a favourite museum/gallery we all have to visit when in Stellenbosch?

Marlize: The SASOL Art Museum in Ryneveld Street is a must-see. There are also many unique and delightful large scale artworks installed all over Stellenbosch town centre. So you can simply walk the streets and enjoy the creativity of the artists along that way.

The Touristin: What are some of your favourite places to shop for A) groceries and B) clothes?

Marlize: A) In Eikestad Mall in town centre: at the Food Lover’s Market. Just outside of town centre, I visit the Super Spar for most groceries. Also visit Saturday fresh goods markets around town (Root44 at Audacia, the Woodmill Market, Oude Libertas Slowfood Market, and Blaauwklippen Estate Market). B) My favourite for clothing is Big Blue in Dorp Street.

The Touristin: What souvenir shall we bring back from Stellenbosch?

Marlize: The typical answer would, of course, be a bottle of award-winning Stellenbosch wine or some of the unique local produce to nibble on. You can also buy CDs of local musicians of even small artworks by local crafters, branded Stellenbosch T-shirts, etc that you can easily pack in your luggage.

But I do like the idea of ‘old school’ communications - to share memories by buying postcards, sharing your experience in your words and posting them home. People don’t write letters anymore and sending your ‘Wish you were here’ postcard to a loved one, is so special. So, although I’m constantly on social media and post a lot of photos sharing my experiences wherever I travel, the idea of a postcard send or even buying a fridge magnet still appeals to me!

The Touristin: Thank you so much Marlize, hope to see you soon again in Stellenbosch.