Franschhoek a small town in the Western Cape Province and one of the oldest towns of the Republic of South Africa. With its rich history and culture, there are many sights to see and things to do. Here is a list of a few of our favourites....
Along the Main Road in the town center is Huguenot Fine Chocolates (on the right side of the main street, near the corner of Kruger Street). Here visitors can enjoy a ½ hour chocolate tour for small groups – including the history of chocolate, a demo of chocolate-making, tasting and a small gift.
Franschhoek Wine Bus and Tram
Climb on board the Franschhoek Wine Bus for a fun and personal wine experience. The bus can accommodate a maximum of 10 people on a 3-4 hour trip starting at Rickety Bridge wine estate before heading up to a fantastic viewpoint known as Matoppie. Here you are surrounded by breathtaking views including the Berg River Dam and surrounding Wemmerhoek Mountains. Drinks and snacks are served at the top of the mountain and then the tour continues to another wine tasting and vineyard tour.
Hiking in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
The spectacular Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve in Franschhoek offers a number of day hikes varying in difficulty. The Reserve is part of the UNESCO declared Boland Biosphere reserve and is home to a great diversity of fynbos including erica’s, proteas, pincushions and restios – as well as many bird species and some other small wildlife. Entrance to the reserve is at the top of the Franschhoek pass and entry permits (R20 p/p) and maps can be obtained at the tourism office in the Main Street, as well as from the Protea Hotel and the Huguenot Museum. Within the reserve, the pathways are well maintained and signposted.
The moderate walk to the View Point is 8km and takes about 3-hours. Hikers are rewarded with fantastic views. For the slightly fitter, a moderate to slightly strenuous hike to Du Toitskop takes about 5-hours and is 14km return. The walk is hilly and can be challenging in places. There are small rivers and rock pools to enjoy along the way, as well as good bird watching opportunities. A walk to Perdekop requires a high level of fitness and the 15km return route should take about 8-hours.
Franschhoek Motor Museum
Not your typical winelands experience, the Franschhoek Motor Museum located at the beautiful L'Ormarins wine estate is well worth a visit whether you’re a motor vehicle enthusiast or not. The museum’s collection exceeds 220 vehicles – ranging from a 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar – and more than 80 exhibits are on view at any one time.
The collection of vehicles, looking back over 100 years, is on display in chronological order in four Cape Dutch style warehouses which are carefully de-humidified. In order to keep them in proper working condition, all of the vehicles are regularly started up and driven – so keep an eye out for any ‘unusual’ traffic in and around town.
Set at the end of the main street through Franschhoek, and with a spectacular mountain backdrop, is the Huguenot Memorial and nearby Huguenot Museum. Most visitors will quickly notice the decidedly French influence in the Franschhoek valley – due to the fact that a community of French Huguenot’s settled here in the mid 1800’s. The museum gives a glimpse into their past, as well as listing the names of all of the early settlers – many South African visitors may see their own surnames, and be able to trace back family roots.
There are pretty Protea filled gardens to wander through, and a tea room to enjoy. A small fee is charged to enter the museum.