Quick Facts: Franschhoek
- Historical Cape Winelands town
- 5-star and comfortable affordable accommodation
- Wine tours and tastings – best wines produced in Cape region
- Superb cuisine by leading chefs: gourmet capital of South Africa
- Shops and Art Galleries
- Museum and Monument – history of the French Huguenots
- Walking trails, cycling and horse riding
- Trout fishing & fly fishing
Distance to Airport: 81 km
The Franschhoek Wine Valley is a picturesque country escape in the foothills of a majestic mountain range. The French Huguenot refugees who settled here in 1688 have left a legacy of culture and cuisine that has contributed to Franschhoek’s status as the food and wine capital of the South Africa. This "Little France" is a choice destination for exquisite cuisine, luxurious accommodation and - of course - wine. An array of wine estates radiate from the quaint village and each year on Bastille Day visitors and residents paint the town and street side cafes red, white and blue in celebration of French Huguenot heritage.
The Franschhoek Valley is surrounded by towering mountains with breath-taking scenery. This picturesque village with its rich history provides its visitors with warm hospitality, where the finest wines are produced, and world-class cuisine. Franschhoek in South Africa is the food and wine heartland of the country. The Huguenots settled here more than 310 years ago and brought with them their French wine and food culture and planted the first vineyards in South Africa. Today spectacular vineyards cover these mountain slopes. The high spectrum of visitor accommodation ranges from internationally renowned hotels, spa resorts, auberges and guesthouses to self-catering cottages on wine farms.
In the village, one finds beautiful crafts, art and antique shops and galleries. The main street of Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands is lined with coffee shops and restaurants. Only 45 minutes from Cape Town, Franschhoek is an ideal base while exploring the entire Cape Winelands. The Dutch government settled the Huguenots in the area named Oliphantshoek / Elephant’s Corner – so named because of the vast herds of elephants which roamed in the area. Later it became known as Franschhoek (French Corner). This heritage lives on today with the Huguenot monument standing proudly at the top of the village. Close by is the Huguenot Memorial Museum, which tells the tale of the religious exiles fleeing persecution, in search of a new life.
Wines in the Franschhoek Valley, Western Cape (South Africa)
Most farms still bear their original French names with towering oaks on either side of the driveway lead to the spectacular Cape Dutch homestead. There are a variety of cellars (more than 40), from small boutique wineries that cater for those in search of something unique, and large cellars that offer organised tours and conducted wine tastings.
Cuisine in Franschhoek, Western Cape (South Africa)
Normally up to eight of South Africa’s Top 100 restaurants are located in Franschhoek. Chefs create everything from world-class cuisine to light meals using the freshest produce of the valley, complemented by the excellent, award-winning local wines. Franschhoek is also often referred to as the gourmet capital of South Africa. Visitors are invited to linger a while and savour the hospitality, ambience and variety of Franschhoek's many great restaurants.
Accommodation in Franschhoek
Guests have a broad range of different housing options. Visitors may stay in the scenic vineyards or the quaint village at hotels or in small bed & breakfasts, guest houses, self-catering cottages and internationally acclaimed country lodges.
Shops and Galleries in Franschhoek, Western Cape Province (South Africa)
In the quaint Main Street of Franschhoek is a host of shops and galleries which provide a fantastic choice of antiques, a collection of artworks and interesting bric-a-brac to browse and shop. Speciality shops such as fromagerie’s, a chocolate factory and a sofa maker are a must to visit.
Energetic attractions in and near Franschhoek / Franschhoek Valley
Walking trails, cycling and horse riding in the surrounding mountains await the active tourist. Trout fishing in various streams and dams on the surrounding farms is available and makes for an enjoyable experience. For a wine tour with a difference, visitors are encouraged to hop onto a horse and visit a few of the Vignerons de Franschhoek. In July every year, one should try to visit Franschhoek over the weekend closest to the French Bastille Day (14th July) when the village celebrates its French heritage with a wine and gourmet fair and lots, lots more of fun and entertainment.
Wine Estates in Franschhoek, South Africa:
Boschendal Wine Estate
Boschendal can be found approximately 18 km from Franschhoek village en route to Stellenbosch. Viticulture was first practised here back in 1685, making it one of the oldest wine farms in the region. The 1812 Manor House is a Cape Dutch gem that boasts an excellent restaurant in its cellar. For sunny days opt for their elegantly civilised Le Pique Nique.
Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate
At 300 years old, Grande Provence is indeed the ‘grand dame’ of Franschhoek's Wine Valley, producing award-winning wines, year after year. This lavish estate houses a restaurant, tasting room and fantastic art gallery that showcases the best of contemporary South African art. Grande Province is within easy reach of Franschhoek village, and if you are staying at the Franschhoek Country House next door, then you can roll right out of bed into her gracious arms.
A taste of Haute Cabriere's speciality camp noise is an essential part of the Franschhoek Valley experience. Haute Cabriere lies on the slopes of Franschhoek Pass around the corner from L'ermitage Chateau and Fransche Hoek Estate. Book a cellar tour for a dramatic journey into Method Cap Classique and watch the owner uncork a bottle with a rather famous French cavalry sabre.
If you are staying in the village at The Franschhoek or La Residence, La Motte is easy to reach option for those pressed for time. This ‘full-bodied’ wine estate experience includes a museum, monthly classical music concerts in a historic cellar and a restaurant serving Cape Winelands cuisine. La Motte is also one of a handful of Franschhoek wine farms that has implemented a long-term environmental strategy. Their 2009 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc was the recipient of the Organic Wine Trophy at the 2010 Michelangelo Awards.
Solms-Delta Wine Estate
The unique Solms-Delta Farm is a must for any Franschhoek itinerary. Notable features include Fyndraai Restaurant, which draws on homegrown, indigenous ingredients, excellent wines made from grapes desiccated on the vine and a museum detailing the history of Solms-Delta and its original inhabitants. Select one of their fascinating tours, followed by a tranquil forest picnic.