Top Things To Do In Franschhoek
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Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

The Franschhoek Wine Valley

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

Rolling vineyards, memorable hospitality, oak lined avenues, magnificent Cape Fold mountains scattered with snow in winter and delicate fynbos in summer, cutting edge cuisine, and some of the worlds most renowned wines and respected winemakers. These are just some of the hallmarks of the Franschhoek Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, why not stay in the captivating Cape Winelands? Franschhoek is in one of the most breathtaking villages in the Winelands. It gives you the opportunity to relax and unwind, to experience some of the finest cuisine and exceptional wines in the country – Franschhoek is known as the ‘Food & Wine Capital of South Africa’ after all – and discover and explore everything this beautiful area of the Western Cape has to offer. With its world class, award-winning restaurants, pristine wines, globally acclaimed wine estates, extraordinary experiences and Wineland adventures, and spectacular vineyard and mountain views – do you need any more reason to visit Franschhoek?

Are you ready to discover, explore, and experience everything South Africa’s French Corner has to offer?

#Explore Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren is one of the most magical Cape Wineland’s escapes and natural gems.

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

Situated in the Drakenstein Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Babylonstoren is as beautiful as they come. Besides being one of the most sought-after Wine Estates in the Western Cape, Babylonstoren is home to one of the most magnificent gardens in Cape Town.

The famous Babylonstoren Garden is laid out over 3,5 hectares (eight acres) and is divided into 15 sections that comprise of more than 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, and herbs as well as bees for pollinating, an abundance of indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, towering rose vines and so much more. It also boasts a uniquely beautiful cactus patch.  In fact, the Babylonstoren cactus patch has fast become one of the most coveted attractions and ‘Instagrammable’ spots in both Cape Town and South Africa.

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

The Babylonstoren garden beauty doesn’t end there. While meandering through the garden you will find a stunning secluded path that runs along a stream where thousands of clivias flower during Cape Town’s spring season. The garden also boasts a plethora of trees that are of great historical and botanical significance.

Babylonstoren’s extraordinary botanical diversity and unapologetic natural beauty makes it one of the most picturesque gardens and Wine Estates in the Cape Winelands and beyond.

**Fun fact: Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best-preserved farmyards in the Cape, dating back to 1692.

#Explore the Franschhoek Wine Valley on the Franschhoek Wine Tram

Calling all head-over-heels wine lovers – it’s time to experience the ultimate bucket-list worthy Cape Winelands adventure – Are you ready?

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek
Photo credit: Franschhoek Wine Tram

Exploring the glorious Franschhoek and its abundance of exceptional Wine Estates on the famous, and dare we say legendary, Franschhoek Wine Tram is undoubtedly an experience that should be on everyone’s Cape Town bucket-list. Loved by locals and tourists alike, The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is by far one of the best, and certainly the most thrilling, ways to explore, discover, and experience the true essence of the Franschhoek Wine Valley and everything it has to offer.

From Franschhoek’s magnificent mountain ranges, picturesque vineyards, breath-taking scenery, spectacular views, and rich 300-year history, to the region’s world-class cuisine, exceptional array of fine wines, and countless globally acclaimed Wine Estates, the Franschhoek Wine Tram offers guests an unforgettable hop-on-hop-off Cape Winelands adventure.

This iconic hop-on hop-off tour will allow guests, travellers, tourists, and wine lovers alike to experience the Franschhoek Wine Valley in a unique and leisurely way as they journey through rolling vineyards in a vintage style railway tram and open-air tram-bus stopping in at several of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished Wine Estates.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is essentially a combination of tram and tram-bus that transports passengers around a loop of stops / Wine Estates, allowing you to hop-off at each stop and enjoy the incredible array of activities and experiences on offer – be it wine tasting, a cellar tour, lunch or simply a stroll through the vineyards – it’s entirely up to you. Then, when you’re ready, simply hop-on to continue your Franschhoek Wine Tram tour.

The tour takes passengers right into the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, with a narration focusing on the history of Franschhoek and wine cultivation in the valley, all while surrounded by unparalleled views of the valley and surrounding vineyards – it’s truly breathtaking!

The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers approximately 8 different routes / lines to choose from with each route including anywhere from 6 – 10 Franschhoek Wineries / Wine Estates that you’ll get to visit.

What are you waiting for? Pick your route and enjoy every second of this one-of-a-kind hop-on hop-off Wine Tram experience!

It goes without saying that taking a trip on the Franschhoek Wine Tram is a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED experience for ALL avid local and global wine lovers. Even if you’re not much of a wine enthusiast, the experience itself is beyond worth it – trust us!

#Go Wine Tasting

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

The Franschhoek Valley with its age-old oaks and rolling vineyards is known for its vast array of cellars and world-class Wine states, from smaller boutique wineries to bigger cellars that offer visitors organised tours and tastings, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy.

Home to some of the country’s most loved cultivars and classic styles, these range from superb whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, and Chenin Blanc, to the full-bodied reds of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot, Franschhoek is any wine enthusiast and vino aficionado’s dream destination. Some of South Africa’s most extraordinary Méthode Cap Classiques are produced right here in Franschhoek and can be sipped, savoured, and enjoyed during any trip along the Franschhoek MCC Route.

The wines made by the Vignerons de Franschhoek can all be tasted and paired with wonderful food available from Franschhoek’s restaurants, many of which are located within the Wine Estates.

#Go hiking in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve

Top Things To Do In Franschhoek

Once you’ve tasted-tested your way around the glorious Franschhoek Wine Valley, take some time to enjoy the stunning natural scenery that surrounds you. The magnificent mountainous Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve is the perfect place to explore the outdoors and enjoy a walk or hike – all while admiring the breathtaking views of course.

Situated in and among the Franschhoek Mountains, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve is part of the UNESCO declared Boland Biosphere Reserve. In addition to over 30km of safe, well-maintained walking and hiking trails (ranging from 2-hour walks to day hikes), the reserve is known for its vast diversity of plant life and fynbos – including erica’s, proteas, pincushions, and restios – as well as several incredible bird species and some other small wildlife, stunning surrounding landscapes, and spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley and beyond.

The moderate walk to the View Point is 8km and takes about 3-hours. Hikers will be well rewarded for their efforts with fantastic sweeping views. For the slightly fitter crowd, a moderate to somewhat strenuous hike to Du Toitskop takes approximately 5-hours and is 14km return. The hike is hilly and can be challenging in places. There are small rivers and rock pools scattered along the route for you to enjoy along the way (you will be particularly grateful for these on those hot summer days), as well as good bird watching opportunities. If you’re well and truly up for a challenge, a hike to Perdekop is right up your hiking alley. This hike requires a high level of fitness and the 15km return route should take you about 8-hours to complete.

**Important note: Entrance to the reserve is at the top of the Franschhoek pass. Entry permits (R20 p/p) and maps can be obtained at the tourism office in the Main Street of Franschhoek, as well as at the entrance point of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, from the Protea Hotel, and the Huguenot Museum. Within the reserve, all of the pathways are well maintained and signposted.

#Visit The Franschhoek Motor Museum

Across the length and breadth of Southern Africa, only one place can adequately portray the evolution of the automobile – The Franschhoek Motor Museum!

The Franschhoek Motor Museum offers visitors a special opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with its unique and exciting collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and memorabilia in the magnificent setting of L’Ormarins.

The museum’s collection exceeds 220 vehicles – ranging from a 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar – and more than 80 exhibits that will be on view at any one time, displayed in four de-humidified halls with a total floor area of 2700 m², and presented in chronological order.

#Treat yourself to ‘The Chocolate Experience’ at Huguenot Fine Chocolates 

Head-over-heels chocolate lovers – this one is especially for you! ‘The Chocolate Experience’ is a 30-minute programme held regularly at Huguenot Fine Chocolates – a boutique chocolaterie situated in the Main Street of Franschhoek,

The half hour Chocolate Experience (which takes place twice a day) outlines the story of chocolate, as well as includes a chocolate tasting and a demonstration of how chocolates are made. Alternatively, if you’re eager to take your chocolate love affair to the next level, you can book a full hands-on chocolate-making workshop.

To top it off, as an extra bonus, all guests will receive a two-pack of chocolates at the end of their chocolate experience.

**Interesting to know: Partners, Danver Windvogel and Denver Adonis are both Belgian-qualified Master Chocolatiers. They hand-craft a delicious range of chocolates using the finest imported Belgian chocolate (dark, milk and white), in a range of forms and flavours.

#Visit The Huguenot Memorial Museum

Set at the end of the Main Street through Franschhoek, boasting a spectacular mountainous backdrop, is the Huguenot Memorial and nearby Huguenot Memorial Museum. The story of the Huguenot Memorial Museum is quite fascinating and lends the building and its contents a certain charm and intrigue. Most visitors will quickly notice the decidedly French influence in the Franschhoek valley – due to the fact that a community of French Huguenot’s settled here in the mid 1800’s. 

The museum gives a glimpse into their past, as well as lists the names of all of the early settlers – many South African visitors may in fact see their own surnames and be able to trace back family roots. The exhibition includes original silverware, furniture, bibles, and even documents. The artefacts and remnants of their lives provide such interesting peeks into what they did and how they lived, making the visit to this museum a very special, personal one.

There are lovely gardens at the Huguenot Memorial Museum, and visitors are invited to bring along a picnic basket and enjoy the loveliness of Franschhoek.

The Huguenot Memorial Museum is open seven days a week and offers its visitors the opportunity to learn about the French Huguenots before their arrival in South Africa, the challenges they faced getting here, their lives and customs and the effect they had on modern South African culture.

#Take a drive along Franschhoek Pass

The Franschhoek Pass is not only considered as one of the most beautiful drives in the country, but one of the more heart-stopping passes in the Western Cape. When it comes to sweep-you-off-your-feet scenery, stunning surrounding landscapes, sheer drops (particularly the drop down to the Franschhoek River from the summit), and sensational sweeping views, the Franschhoek Pass is tough to beat.

Also known as Lambrechts Road, the Franschhoek Pass is a spectacular, steep, and dramatic pass that follows the path of least resistance along the Middagskransberg, tracing the northern edge of the Franschhoek Mountains between the Wemmershoek Mountains and the Franschhoek Valley.

Known for its breathtaking panoramic views and vistas of the surrounding valleys, gorges and mountains, the pass is a firm favourite amongst locals and tourist alike.