By far the best way to wine and dine your way through the many wine farms of Franschhoek, the Franschhoek wine tram is not only a safe and enjoyable way to explore, but it’s a fun experience for the whole family. This hop-on, hop-off wine tram tour weaves its way through rolling vineyards with the promise of wine tastings and cellar tours around every turn. Enjoy delicious pairings, sublime surrounds and a variety of award-winning vintages along several pre-arranged routes conducted by the tram operator. To get there, you can find the Franschhoek Wine Tram offices at the corner of Main Road and Cabriere Street, Franschhoek.
Ever since the first French Huguenot settlers sprouted their vines in the Franschhoek Valley over three centuries ago, the region has flourished into a world-renowned wonderland, showcasing food, wine and beer of the most sumptuous standards. Make a day of it as you hop from one brewery to the next, savouring only the most palatable craft brews that Franschhoek has to offer. From Hey Joe Brewing and their traditional Belgium-inspired delights, to The Franschhoek Beer, showcasing award-winning superiority of the finest quality, handcrafted and curated with Franschhoek's mountain spring water and topped off with a dash of excellence.
Hiking enthusiasts eager to explore the world on foot can take to Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, located just beside the Franschhoek lookout point. Here, you'll be met by not one, but seven nature-immersed hiking trails to choose from. For an easy morning trail, we'd recommend the Breakfast Rock Trail - about 2km long and just over one hour in length. If you're up for a challenge, venture along the Uitkyk or Perdekop Trail, both of which extend over 6km and take well over 4 hours to complete. Or perhaps the thought of traversing through the dancing Winelands makes your heart sing? Then the Winelands Trail - 3.5km in length and about 2 hours long – is for you.
If you're a fan of markets and the dainty ornamentals that accompany them, be sure to pay a visit to the Franschhoek Village Market. It is open every Saturday in the town's centre for easy access. Mingle with the locals, and revel in the arts, crafts and the tasty food under the shady old oak trees. With free entry, parking, and a children's play area, it's the perfect stop for the whole family. Enjoy incredible live music as you seek out not one, but several precious souvenirs. Definitely a day out to remember!
Dive into history exploring Franschhoek’s Huguenot Monument. Completed in 1945, it commemorates the Huguenot immigrants who fled France in the 1600s, essentially making Franschhoek their new home. Adjacent to the monument is a museum which explores the settlers’ fascinating history with exhibits featuring the tools they used to make wine with, the clothes they wore and the story of how they came to seek a better life in the southern hemisphere. The Monument lies at the end of the main road. The address is 13 Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek.
After all the wining and dining, plus all the fine chocolate and fresh croissants, it’s probably a good idea to get your body moving. In Stellenbosch, lace up your hiking boots and make a beeline for the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. In Franschhoek, head up to the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve sits within the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley, managed by Cape Nature. The reserve also includes the smaller Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve. Filled with more than 1,100 plant species, four rivers and plenty of wildlife and birds, visitors are spoilt for choice with many marked trails, rock pools and waterfalls to be explored. Visitors can book at booking.capenature.co.za.
For something a little quirkier, head out to the Franschhoek Motor Museum. The museum is filled with a staggering number of cars, motorcycles and bikes dating back more than 100 years and gives a remarkable insight into motoring history. Visitors will find the museum on the magnificent L’Ormarins estate. Afterwards, stroll over to the Terra del Capo Tasting Room or Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room to fill up with a glass of the estate’s finest. Anthonij Rupert Wines (L'Ormarins) is located on the R45, about a 20-minute drive from Stellenbosch.
When you're looking to add some family indulgence to your Cape Winelands’ itinerary, Pete's Adventure Farm is the way to go. This equine exhibition can be found towards Cape Town via Bird Street, following the R304 for approximately 11km, until taking a left into this wonderworld. It’s not just about the horses either! Think flower-filled fields, galloping zebra, bouncing springbok and even a majestic giraffe! With a trusty steed and an expert guide at your side, this one's sure to create lasting memories.
For trips planned November through April, hot air ballooning is the ultimate family experience in the local town of Paarl. This is your chance to take to the skies in admiration of the country's beauty from a bird’s eye view. Although this one calls for an early rise, it's well worth the effort and the kids are sure to agree as you traverse the clouds and uncover a world of wonder you'd never thought possible. From panoramic valleys to distant coasts and mountainous goliaths, this one will have you hooked and returning for more.
Visit Butterfly World Animal Sanctuary in Klapmuts for a radiating display of fluttering wings coated in pulsating colours. This sanctuary has been a region favourite for years, given that a stop here invites you into a fantasy of more than just butterflies. From the exotic likes of snakes, monkeys, meerkats, scorpions, and many species of bird, it's a wildlife adventure of notable heights.
Escape the ordinary and enjoy lunch in the Cape Winelands’ most Instagrammable venue – a unique and exquisitely crafted glass house boasting uninterrupted views over the winelands. Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa’s Le Verger (The Orchard Restaurant) provides a truly unforgettable setting. Enjoy familiar favourites like summer salmon, classic beef burgers and even malva pudding in a conservatory-styled environment so you get the full atmosphere of the Cape Winelands. The Orchard Restaurant is located at the Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa.
Indulge in a chocolate extravaganza at Franschhoek’s Huguenot Fine Chocolates, a boutique chocolaterie that offers a range of delectable fine hand-crafted Belgian chocolate. Run by two qualified Belgian chocolatiers, this is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. Sample delicious chocolate infused with local flavours of Amarula, Pinotage or Rooibos and honey, or participate in The Chocolate Experience, a half-hour programme of chocolate tastings, demonstrations and chocolate history guaranteed to tempt you to buy every chocolate in store. Find it at 62 Huguenot Road.
If you’re enjoying a weekend getaway in the winelands, there’s one place you absolutely have to go to soak up that special winelands atmosphere with the locals. The Root 44 Market is one of the most popular markets in the province. Come rain or shine, the market is there every Saturday and Sunday and offers all the food, drink, arts and crafts you could want, as well as live music in the afternoons, a kids’ area and lawn, and ample parking. It’s definitely an outing the entire family will enjoy. You’ll find the Root 44 Market on the corner of the R44 and Annandale Rd.