Franschhoek is one of South Africa’s oldest settlements, founded in 1688 by French Huguenots, and is surrounded by vineyards and craggy mountains. It’s only an hour from Cape Town and is the perfect escape from the city, a place to winery-hop, eat at gourmet restaurants, and relax by the pool enjoying the stunning scenery. Stellenbosch is the more well-known base for exploring the Cape Winelands (South Africa’s premier wine growing area), but locals recommend smaller Franschhoek and we loved its charm and scenic backdrop.
Franschhoek is a gorgeous village in South Africa’s Cape Winelands, just an hour from Cape Town. Despite its tiny size, it’s a foodie town with a remarkable number of fine dining restaurants in the village and on nearby wine estates. Most Franschhoek restaurants take advantage of the bountiful local produce with creative, seasonal menus.
The biggest problem when exploring wine regions is avoiding drinking and driving. Private or small group wine tours are expensive and being the designated driver sucks (who really enjoys spitting?). The Franschhoek wine region near Cape Town has come up with a novel solution—a hop-on-hop-off wine tram. It’s affordable, fairly flexible, and allows you to visit up to six wineries in one day without driving.
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a stunning setting between mountains and sea. It’s even more spectacular from above and I highly recommend splurging on a helicopter trip over the city to make the most of those breathtaking views. It was even better than I expected and one of our top two favourite things we did in the city (the other was driving a Harley Davidson down to Cape Point).
Klaserie Sands makes an impression as soon as you arrive. After bumping along dirt tracks through the African bush we emerged in an oasis of lush, manicured lawns leading to the grand entrance to the lodge, grizzled tree trunks holding the porch aloft. As we entered the main space with its high ceilings and dramatic chandelier, owner Lee-Ann welcomed us with a smile, cool towel and fruity drink and ushered us onto the terrace. Wow! (We said this a lot that first afternoon.)