South Africa is world known by its vineyards. The quality and unique flavour of the wine produced in the country is one of the reasons people visit as I found out in Franschhoek.
Franschhoek is a lovely little town in the Western Cape Province at about 75 kilometres from Cape Town.
As I wanted to go for a ‘wine tasting’ tour while in South Africa I researched where I could do this. Within the most usual places people go to are Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia which are all close to Cape Town. I came across Franschhoek and really fell in love by the breath taking scenery, so decided to go over and stay for 2 days.
Little did I know that the town is world known by the picturesque vineyards, world class cuisine and more than 300 year history.
In 1688 the Dutch government gave this land to a small group of French refugees and they have settled in building farms which they have given French names from where they came. Later these farms became well-known wineries such as La Motte, La Cotte, Cabrière or La Provence.
Needless to say that the all town is very much influenced by the French traditions, from the magnifique wine to the excellent cuisine.
Wine Tours in Franschhoek
There are numerous wine tours in Franschhoek that you can join in with several prices depending on what you are looking for. I must say I am not a great expert when it comes to wines so it was just about the experience.
The Wine Tram
When we arrived to Franschhoek we learned about the ‘Franschhoek Wine Tram’.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a hop-on hop-off tour that goes around the valley with several stops along the way where you can, most of all, taste different types of wine. They have five lines with different colours and you opt for one that takes you to different cellars depending on your wine taste. Each line can take you up to eight wine estates but you don’t have to stop in all of them.
I immediately loved the idea, it just sounded like great fun!
We opted for the ‘red line’ and stopped at Maison Estate, Leopard’s Leap, Chamonix, Dieu Donne, The Franschhoek Cellar and Grande Provence.
As this is one of the most popular wine tours I advise you to book it at least the day before you intend to go.
Wine overload in Franschhoek
It was early in the morning and I was thinking ‘Am I really going to drink wine at 10 am?’ and then it’s like ‘Why not? Life is short’ so off we went to visit some of the most beautiful vineyards.
Each cellar is waiting for these tour groups and they already have ‘wine tasting’ menus ready with super cheap prices, like $3 USD for 6 glasses of wine and some include cheese boards and chocolates.
Make sure you eat properly before you indulge yourself in these activities as by 12 am you may already have tried 40 different wines.
In each stop apart from drinking wine you can also enjoy the views which are incredible and buy a few pieces of art from the local artisans.
I also had sort of lunch in Dieu Donne which consisted in a massive cheese board and fruit with more wine, of course!
The day was absolutely brilliant and even that I still don’t understand much of wines I loved it and had lots of fun.
Food made in heaven in Franschhoek
When I planned to visit Franschhoek I wasn’t really thinking about food but ‘Oh my’ I got a big surprise! To the small little cafe to top restaurants nothing disappoint me, the food was delicious!
I soon found out that Franschhoek has eight of the top 100 restaurants in South Africa and is known as the Wine & Gourmet Capital of the country.
My choices to visit:
- The French Connection
- Café Franschhoek
- Leopards Leap
- Col’Cacchio Pizzeria
Where to stay in Franschhoek?
We booked our accommodation last minute and did not want to spend a lot of money. In Franschhoek there are not a lot of hotels but tons of bed and breakfasts so that’s what we went for! We also looked for one with a pool to enjoy the sun after our wine tour and it end up being the perfect experience! The town is really small and even if you’re not driving it’s possible just to walk to the city centre and the taxis are cheap if you need one.