Undoubtedly the “foodie capital” of South Africa, Franschhoek offers a wonderful mix of Europe and Africa in a scenic valley where elephants once roamed.
History tells us that the French Huguenots arrived in the Cape in the late 1600s (fleeing persecution) and settled in a lush valley that became known as the “French Corner”. The French influence in both food and wine can still be felt today and Franschhoek offers the ideal weekend getaway for visitors to Cape Town.
If gourmet dining is your thing, you don’t need to go much further than down the main drag, where you’ll find a host of fantastic restaurants side by side.
Either that or visit one of the wine estates in the Franschhoek, many of which have their own restaurant on the property. Haute Cabriere, La Motte, Solms Delta and Boschendal are all worth a visit.
However, even if you don’t book a spot at one of the restaurants, just walking down the street is a feast for culinary hounds - you’ll find fantastic chocolate, cheese, coffee and, of course, wine. There are also wonderful galleries, designer decor stores and a range of fun outdoor activities on offer.
Look out for
Tour the Franschhoek Food and Wine Route, which is on offer all year round and includes food-and-wine pairings, olive-oil tastings, Cap Classique tastings, chocolate-making courses and a heap of activities around the food and wine theme.
Consider the Ront en Bont Route, which will give you insight into the local communities. Various tours are on offer, including a Culinary Tour, an Educational Tour and a Freedom Tour.
The Huguenot Monument (1948) at the top of Lamprecht Road was built as a tribute to Huguenot heritage. Another great spot where you can learn about the Huguenots is the Huguenot Museum.
Visit the Museum van de Caab at Solms Delta and the authentic Cape Dutch Manor house at Boschendal, where you can also enjoy picnics in the gardens.
The Motor Museum is a fun option. Here you can view a privately owned collection of gorgeous motor vehicles that span the history of the motor car across the ages.
Outdoor adventures including walks and hikes in the mountains, paragliding, hot-air ballooning and horse-riding trails through the vineyards.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a quaint way to make a day of winetasting, right from the centre of the village. Be sure to book in advance during the high season.