Settled between the towering mountains in the lovely Cape wine lands lies the glorious Franschhoek Valley of South Africa.
It is a city that is designed for the ultimate epicurean or the condescending gourmand for it is here where wonderful wines are produced and aged to perfection and where top gourmets create exquisite dishes that is sure to please anyone’s palate.
Admire its stunning landscape, warm accommodation, world class food and the finest wines that will help make enduring memories of a holiday in Franschhoek, South Africa.
This is a valley rich in history revolved around a beautiful town of inviting and friendly locals. Here are a few Things To Do In Franschhoek…
When To Go:
It is agreeably warm in February, but in case you favor cooler temperatures, visit in April or October when they drop to around 15° C.
It can be toured or visited all year round. During the winter season (May – August) it can also have unexpected downpour, however the encompassing region becomes an immaculate green after the rain, while in summer (November -February) you will experience humid days and moderate nights.
These are things to do and see in the valley of Franschhoek, South Africa…
If you enjoy scenic drives, this is your way. The Franschhoek Valley is beautiful, but if you get there by the Franschhoek Pass, it is more spectacular because after crossing this pass it opens before your eyes with its row of flourishing vineyards.
It will never fail to enchant you. It’s a road that climbs the mountains, constantly changing landscape of pine trees, cliffs and fynbos (shrub lands).
In fact, the car traffic HERE is minimal it’s why the bikers love it a lot. It seems like an Alpine pass that can only be found in South Africa. Sometimes there may be strong wind, but there is no danger involved here because as per European standard it is still very safe to do.
A relaxing drive along the Franschhoek Pass can be combined with a visit to
Lunch at La Petite Ferme & connect (only with registration possible) with the Franschhoek Pass Winery
This pass is nice to drive through towards Hermanus. Even if you’re not specifically going there, but as a route to Hermanus, this is better than to ride through Cape Town. It is an idyllic road with winding roads and scenic views.
Just be very careful with the curves. It may take a while to find the road for lack of signage, ask for a location or make use of a map or GPS. The road is easy to drive and you have many options to visit the Franschhoek wineries you will see along the way.
Don’t forget to pull aside and stop for panoramic pictures of the enchanting Franschhoek Valley. There are several car parks, where you can enjoy the view.
The Franschhoek Pass leads towards Villiersdorp and The ewaterkloofdam or towards Franschhoek / Paarl. At the top there is also the possibility to wander in a nature reserve (Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve).
The Franschhoek Motor Museum
One of the most beautiful car / motor museums in South Africa. It has a fantastic collection of old and new cars and motorcycles. From the huge inventory of over 1000 vehicles, the most beautiful are alternately displayed in four large air-conditioned halls.
Among them are the Formula 1 racing cars, vehicles from Porsche, Mercedes, Bugatti, and so on. The private exhibition is a must for car fans. It is a journey through the history of the automobile from its beginnings to the present day.
In addition, there are many rare vehicles that are little known, and some that belongs to famous people.
The exhibition is constantly changing, so it is worth coming back again for a visit.
It is a collection that is invaluable, all clean and well maintained, even outside the pavilions. You can take pictures of the cars, and there is an admission fee but it is all worth it for the beauty that you will find. It is part of the private collection of the richest man in South Africa that is exposed in this museum.
A gem in the middle of the vineyards that is worthwhile to stop and visit. The amusing part is the old cars and not so old are still intact and still ion its impeccable state of conservation proudly displayed in three huge warehouses in Franschhoek.
Franschhoek Wine Tram
Passes through some vineyards and the view is very beautiful. It is worth it if you do not want to drive. This ride on a little train will take you to some of Franschhoek wineries where you can taste wines and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the region.
The service involves a bus and a train, which leads from the center to the museum and then to four wineries that involves two buses, and two trains. So there is no risk of drinking and driving, because you cannot walk to all of it. The service is great and the service is timely.
It is a handy option with different stepping stones at a good price as a number of things include some wine tastings. It runs throughout the day, and you can get on every half hour.
There is lots of friendly staff on the train who will assure you of great fun while checking out some good wine farms to stop.
For the novice wine drinker, this is an ideal way to learn about Franschhoek. Aside from being introduced to a number of wines, you get to meet the vineyard owners, enjoy great food, and get on and off at any stop.
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
Worth seeing whether in short half-hour routes, or full-day excursions. There are a large number of walks to be selected, all well marked and maintained trails. If the skies are clear the view from the Dutoit Shop is simply amazing.
Admission may be paid at different points in Franschhoek in advance, but also spontaneously at the park.
After the “pass the Baboons” area it goes directly and without much warning in the height. At every turn, there are new and great lookouts of Franschhoek.
The paths are beautifully marked and prepared – even the steps are all in perfect order. It is a good destination if you have more time in Franschhoek. The road just past the entrance on the right leads steeply and even slightly sophisticated down to a river.
On the large stones in the river you can search for a shady spot and enjoy the picnic and the idyllic views.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Located at the west of the bridge over the Palmiet River between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond. In the tourism center you can get maps and ask for what routes to select to easily reach the nature reserve.
The accessible path leads more or less along the Palmiet River where you need to pass some flat upstream, through thicket, sometimes rock, sand or earth.
Accordingly, the vegetation changes dramatically. There is a certain season when most of the flower species are in bloom. The Kogelberg Nature had over 1,650 species of plants, 150 of which are unique and live alone here.
On the way you get a lot of with this diversity, which makes the flower fans euphoric. On hot days, the water is brown colored because of the acid coming from the plant.
Huguenot Memorial Museum
At the Huguenot Memorial Museum, the history of the Huguenots who immigrated to South Africa is told on the basis of many original and personal items for display. Unfortunately, some documents are issued only in French without translation.
This simple and unassuming museum returns on low glory days in the history of Franschhoek.
During the visit, you will be able to rediscover these events through a temporary exhibition on loan from the Réunion des Musées de France, which fits perfectly in the permanent collection of the museum that looks back on the history of how the French uprooted the Company Netherlands Indies sent to this side of the world, how they moved, merged with other migrants in 3 generation, and their contributions to the South African culture.
Texts and videos are most often trilingual: Afrikaans, English and French. It takes about 1 hour to visit the museum, and do not forget to stroll in the garden next to the cemetery where you can visit and play with some small tortoises.
For a short visit as part of the wine tram tour you can buy a ticket for a few Euros. There is so much to see from the colonial period which are all well preserved and displayed. It is very educational and informative with clear description of the pieces. The estate itself is also nice to see and worth a visit.
The Huguenot Memorial Monument
Located in a beautiful garden where there is a large female image that carries the world; there is also a pond where you can sit quietly. The monument is significant for the history of Franschhoek. It is rich in symbolic and also religious elements.
The monument provides a nice photo opportunity and if you come here early this is worth a stopover. At the end of the city, the Huguenot Monument is located in a large park right next to the museum. The entrance fee is R10. With blue skies, it provides with mountains in the background a beautiful photo.
One of the smaller emerging wineries in Franschhoek. You must schedule a visit for a personal tour and wine tasting with the owner Dieter Sell Meyer, who founded and lead the entertaining world of his wines. The wine cellar is rather small, but Dieter can discuss a lot about wine production.
Also in the subsequent wine tasting across the range of the winery, you will get a lot of interesting information about the history of the winery and the experimental cultivation. You can also buy wine from here.
The highlight of the tour is the wine tasting, especially his Viognier and Shiraz and also some other wines, it is an excellent value for money!
The small estate is located just outside Franschhoek City and offers dry red and white wines, sweet wines and dessert wines. Once you meet the owner, you will be given a warm welcome from his staff and have a guide (all alone) that will help get you through the wine cellar complete with explanations for harvesting and production process.
The subsequent tasting is individually done and there are photo opportunities right inside the winery and vineyards.
Boschendal Manor & Winery
If you are in Franschhoek City you cannot miss the excursion to the estate of the Boschendal Manor & Winery and if you are in time with you can enjoy the tour all the way up to the wine tasting.
The place is magnificent, the estate in colonial style is all in perfect order, from the lawn to the trees and hedges above the vineyards and the picnic is just amazing!
You can dine on the lawn under the shade of trees while waiters bring some wicker baskets with everything you need ; from the bread to the meats, cheeses, pates, desserts ,all good things accompanied by good wine and great service at a price that is fair and reasonable. It is an ideal place for romantic couples, newly-weds or couples on a honeymoon.
If you want you can also visit the beautiful period house (now a museum) with its attachments, or buy wine in their store, in short, you can spend a pleasant half-day of good wine and entertainment.
It is hard to choose among the many wineries that exist between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Bu Boschendal is definitely one of the most famous. From the entrance fee (15 Rand), you can already enjoy and taste 5 different wines to choose and with another 35 Rand you can take a cutting board with cheese tasting activity. All of these things to do are very good! They also organize trips to the wineries.
La Motte Wine Estate
The visit to the La Motte Wine Estate is a must and a great surprise. The wines are smooth, especially the Sauvignon Blanc (R60) and Pierneef Shiraz (R211). The wine tasting costs R50 and you can taste to up 8 kinds of wines, including the two mentioned above.
In addition, the tour to the winery is beautiful. The tasting is well conducted and the service is different. If you buy some wine they do not charge anything for the wine tasting.
The space is beautiful. You can taste wine and there is an interesting museum where you will learn so many things about the history of the winery and its owners and a restaurant that serves the most divine food in Franschhoek.
In the gardens there are beautiful banks under the shady trees where you can have a coffee or tea after lunch.
Vrede en Lust Winery
You will love the wine tasting adventure at the Vrede en Lust Winery. And what’s more, all the servers here are dressed in red adding more charm and eye catching allure to this place. “Lady in Red” Lynne M. is very helpful and explained in detail the wines, and curious stories about the names.
Of the wines, you have the chance to taste at least 8 kinds of distinctive wines created here. The two favored ones and most requested is the Mocholate and Marguerite. The wine tasting is usually done in the balcony portion of the huge estate where the view is astounding.
This attraction is thoroughly recommended even for the inexperienced riders. The wine tasting adventure on a horseback ride is one of the impressive things to do here in Franschhoek.
There are two schedules of trail, one n the early morning just to look around and one with a guide at 9:00 am at a walking pace.
The first winery to visit is the Rickety Bridge, which can be reached after about 1.5 hours, and then you must hit the road again at about 45 minutes to visit the winery of Mont Rochelle. The horseback ride, guide, and wine tasting are all included in the price.
On the way back, which lasts about 45 minutes again, you make the ride through a forest to reach a small mountain and from there have a great view over the fields.
In the end, you will be allowed to gallop around in a slow pace to have a unique experience of your tour in the Paradise Stables.
There is no original and more cool way to make a wine tasting tour and the envious glances of the other tourists who are coming by your hiking stick and chosen horse priceless. Tip: wear sunblock cream, put on long pants and of course load up with a good breakfast to provide a basis for the many wines that you will find hard to resist.
A tour of Franschhoek City is not just a tour of the mind and spirit but also for the palate and love for wines. If you are a wine connoisseur, this place is heaven for you.
Be sure to include this flourishing city in your travel plans if you ever come to South Africa. Franschhoek, must be experienced, seen, and celebrated along with its huge selection of wines and wineries to visit.