Why Visit Franschhoek?
There are many good reasons to visit Franschhoek!
Just 75 kilometres from Cape Town, Franschhoek offers an array of activities for the discerning traveller. Find this beautiful valley nestled in the craggy Franschhoek mountains. And, if you arrive over the Franschhoek Pass, the vistas are breathtaking. The valley abounds with wine farms and plenty of outdoor activities.
To visit Franschhoek only to experience the wine farms is enough, but there is so much more. There are breweries and coffee roasters and a myriad other delights as well!
Franschhoek is often known as the food and wine capital of South Africa. It is also one of South Africa’s oldest towns.
The Huguenots fleeing persecution in Europe, settled in the area more than 300 years ago. The Huguenot Monument and Museum honours their resilience and pioneering spirit. They brought with them their skills for agriculture and wine making and the Franschhoek Valley thrived. Soon the area became the fruit and wine basket of the Dutch East India Company.
Prior to settlement by the Huguenots, the area was called Olifants Hoek. Centuries ago it was the gathering place and breeding ground for elephants who traversed the area going between summer and winter grazing lands. Then early settlers used the ancient elephant paths to help them cross the steep mountain slopes on horseback. (Read more on the history of Franschhoek Pass and the elephant migration route.) Later, this French corner at the southern tip of Africa was re-named Franschhoek, the Dutch for “French corner”.
Franschhoek is renowned as the gourmet capital of South Africa. Here many international and local chefs vie for your patronage and visitors can enjoy a variety of cuisine and treats.
For the latest news and restaurant reviews, look at Trip Advisor. Remember to book at your favourite places. You don’t want to miss out!
There is a vibrant artistic community displaying traditional and modern African artworks. Beadwork, paintings and sculptures are found in the market and galleries along the main street. Take a look at Jo Scott, Ebony and Wild Art for your artistic desires in the village. And visit the wine farms that have magnificent collections of art and sculpture, amongst them Grande Province, Leeu Estates, Delaire Graff and Tokara.
Activities in Franschhoek
The Wine Tram is one of the most popular activities in Franschhoek. Each line visits 7 or 8 wine farms. But, just a word of warning – don’t do the wine tasting at every farm, it’s too much!
The motor museum, is a few kilometres outside the village situated on the L’Ormarins Estate. The museum is well worth a visit and booking is essential. After visiting the museum, tour the estate and enjoy the views of Franschhoek Valley from another perspective.
The village has many antique dealers, a boutique chocolaterie, the Terbodore Coffee Roastery and other speciality shops that will ensure you get your fair share of retail therapy. Then there are interesting jewellery shops and gift shops, ideal for unique and special pressies for the folks back home. Even the clothing shops have a special “je ne sais quoi” and Franschhoek flair. And, of course, just in case you need some wine, La Cotte Inn sells many local and imported wines (and cheeses) on the high street.
For the more energetic guests, there are numerous outdoor activities including golf, cycling, trail running, hiking, and even polo. Or, how about a wine tasting excursion on horseback to finish off your stay? Read more here. You can even try a Wine Tour by Cycle.
Throughout the year Franschhoek holds festivals. These events bring together hosts and wine farms and restaurants. Together we all give the guests something extra.
- Bastille Festival takes place in mid-July. It is such fun and the village goes completely French.
- Literary Festival in late May, brings together a cross-section of international and local authors.
- Franschhoek Uncorked in late October
- Franschhoek Cap Classique takes place in early December
There is so much to do when you visit Franschhoek. For a good source of information that is always current visit Franschhoek Wine Valley.