We’d planned on taking a day trip to wine country – mostly Stellenbosch – during our stay in Cape Town, but the friends we made in Kruger convinced us that we needed to stay at least a few days. So, we switched our itinerary and booked a stay at the Franschhoek Country House & Villas , which ended up being one of my favorite places we stayed at during our honeymoon because they really treated us like royalty. We tried to make it to Franschhoek, bypassing Stellenbosch, in time to take the wine tram (literally a cute tram/train that takes you around to all the wineries in the area), but apparently it departs from the town at 10 AM! But, no worry, because our Country House had a private driver that we could call to take us around between the wineries, and we took advantage of them all day.
Franschhoek is nestled in the Fraschhoek Valley, and was the site where the French Huguenots settled when they were fleeing Catholic prosecution in the 1600s. The area does have strong European influences, which is why our overall trip to South Africa was so amazing – we were in the middle of the African wilderness one day, then would spend a few days in pseudo-Italian villas.
The main attraction, of course, is visiting the wineries, where you can do tastings for an extremely affordable price (around $8 for a flight of premium wines). We visited Dieu Donne (beautiful vistas), Chamonix Wine Farm, La Couronne, and La Petite Ferme for wine tastings/food, and also had a delectable 8-course chef’s tasting menu at the Maison Estate. I think my favorite was La Petite Ferme, especially since neither of us are wine connoisseurs and therefore focused much more on the food/ambiance.
There’s also a cute center town with restaurants, tourist shops, chocolate shops, and a giant Huguenot memorial & adjacent museum. It’s perfect to spend a few hours wandering around.
wandering around town before calling our driver. First time we bought wine from a winery!
Overall, you could spend days visiting the various wineries (especially since they close around 5 PM) and relaxing at the villa; our time was too short, but it certainly piqued my interest in visiting other wine areas in the world – California and Tuscany are next!
our delicious 8-course tasting menu at chef’s warehouse maison. It only came out to around $35 pp including wine!