Franschhoek travel guide
Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands valley is South Africa’s culinary pride and joy, since a number of award-winning chefs have decamped here. Surrounded by wine farms, it makes a perfect daytrip from Cape Town as you can drive there in an hour. But the area has such charming places to stay and such outstanding specialities that you could happily spend a few days there. Visit stately old farms for wine tastings, shop for art, antiques or handmade chocolate in town, and have dinner by a romantic log fire. Franschhoek means “French corner”, since it was founded in the 17th century by French Huguenots fleeing persecution in France, and many of the farms have French names. It really does remind visitors of a picturesque French village, with food and wine that compares with the best of them. On the weekend of 14th July, the town celebrates France’s Bastille Day, with a gourmet food fair, wine tastings and a general blast.
Even during its many festivals, Franschhoek has a rare ability to retain its easygoing style. Whether your budget extends to elegant accommodation and high-end eateries, or a sweet B and B and café with great pancakes, Franschhoek is a delicious experience. Our advice: don’t try to do too much in one day. Take your time and, if you’re keen to dine at a top chef’s restaurant, book your table in advance.
Follow these route maps or weave between:
- Franschhoek Wine Valley Food and Wine Route –
A comprehensive tour of the best the region has to offer. Choose from food and wine pairings, varietal specific tastings,
Cap Classique tastings, chocolate making, cooking classes, olive oil tastings and
restaurant stops. A highlights map is available, allowing visitors to create
their own itineraries.
- Franschhoek Artisan Food Route – Followers
of this route in and around the village will be treated to the products of
skilled artisans who make cheese, olives, chocolate, bread, spreads and
charcuterie with passion and knowledge.
- Franschhoek Cap Classique Route – Ranging
from Old World to New World thinking, the producers on this route make up one
of the country’s leading Methode Cap Classique regions.
Wine farms we love:
- Boschendal – A classic spot. After your tasting, settle yourself at one of the fabulous restaurants. Or have a picnic on the lawns, watching the swans, with a basket of treats that you can order in advance
- L’Ormarins – Aside from tasting wine, this estate has the fantastic Franschhoek Motor Museum with over 400 vintage cars.
- Backsberg – atmospheric vat cellar for tastings and rows of beautiful old trees
- La Motte – Stunning garden setting, top restaurant Pierneef and wines becoming very well known
- Leopard’s Leap – Family friendly vineyard with hands on cooking classes and an organic herb garden
- Holden Manz – Famous for its restaurant, the Franschhoek Kitchen, this farm is also a great picnic spot, located at the top of the valley to give you awesome views
- Allee Bleue – try the award winning pinotage from this elegant estate.
- Tokara – on the magnificent Helshoogte Pass on the way to Stellenbosch, it has outstanding views and a fantastic Chardonnay.
Restaurants to bear in mind:
- La Petite Ferme – Magnificent views and a kids play area, are additional to the
- Pierneef at La Motte
- La Grande Provence
- The Tasting Room – At Le Quartier Francais
- Café des Arts – in the centre of town
- The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz