Most guests tell me that they wished they'd booked a few extra days in Franschhoek, once they arrive. There is so much to do and see which they were not aware of and thought a one day wine stop was all it would be. That is not so! Check out this list of fabulous places to visit, things to do and stuff to experience which will keep you coming back for more in years to come.
Day 1: Friday
It's an action-packed itinerary so get here early! The Franschhoek Adventure Bus departs at 10am and is the best way to orientate yourself to the area. The 2 hour sight-seeing trip takes you to the four corners of the valley and you will quickly become familiar with where the wine farms are, the best restaurants, the interesting and historical sights and the best views. From there you can plan the rest of your stay to maximum enjoyment.
Once back in town, spend the day visiting the immediate area. Go for a fabulous lunch at one of the wine farms and relax under the oak trees in the garden. You would enjoy La Petite Ferme with its expansive lawns and vineyards, fabulous restaurant and one of the best views in the valley. After lunch, take a quick walk around the village for some retail therapy. Our very short main road is packed with great shops offering everything from leather goods to take-home curios to haute couture fashion. Our many cafes and coffee shops will keep you hydrated and ward off any peckishness and you could stop for ice-cream at River Cafe. To end off the afternoon, join the Sundowner bike wine tour at 3:30pm which is a leisurely ride through the vineyards on mountain bikes stopping for a wine tasting at one of our smallest boutique wineries. You will also be treated to a cellar tour before making your way back to the main road just after 5pm, in time to get ready for dinner. For dinner, you are certainly spoilt for choice. Depending on your taste and budget, there is something for everyone. You may want to try one of our high-end fine-dining establishments on your first night. Le Petite Colombe is the go-to eatery with its 9 course tasting menu and wine pairing. A bucket list item for many people, it is an amazing experience and well worth the high cost. If that's a bit out of your budget, you will enjoy Le Coin Francais, another fine-dining establishment of high repute. Other excellent choices for fabulous food is Reubens or Le Petit Manoir.
After hours, if you're in the mood for some live entertain and dancing, join the locals at the Elephant and Barrel pub at 10pm. Every Friday night a live band rocks out popular numbers until the early hours and you are invited!
Day 2: Saturday
Have a leisurely breakfast at your guesthouse, most of them serve the most divine spreads and you'll enjoy their offerings. Saturday is village market day and it's a fabulous place to hang out with the locals. Predominantly a craft market where you'll be able to pick up some really awesome bargains, there is also plenty to eat and drink. Plenty of seating under the oak trees, live entertainment and local wines and beers are available from 9am till 3pm. It's a buzzing atmosphere and the locals are very friendly and love meeting and chatting to our visitors. If you're up for something a little adventurous later in the day you could do a bit of Scootouring. Scootours are big boy scooters with fat tyres and really jack up the adrenalin. Working on gravity, these down hill Scootour runs are fast and furious and fantastic fun. If you're up for some cycling, you could join a Mountain bike wine tour which visits 3 local wine farms and gives you some exercise at the same time. The scenic village ride is also available if you are not keen on drinking and cycling, and has a stop at our local coffee roasters for a cup of their best, on the way back into town.
You could also choose to get familiar with some of the animal life around the village. Did you know you can do wine tasting on the back of a safari vehicle while driving around a game reserve, right in the village? A must-do, especially if you've never encountered any of the wild life South Africa has to offer. This is your opportunity. You could also visit the Cheetah rescue centre, the Farm Animal Sanctuary and see Pigcasso the famous painting pig or how about the Animal Sanctuary at Butterfly world with its huge variety of mammals, reptiles and birds that they have rescued and rehabilitated over the years, not forgetting their large collection of butterflies that you can walk between.
To end off your afternoon, take a short drive up Uitkyk Street and have a glass of bubbly at Dieu Donne Wine Estate for the best sunset view in town. While you're there, have dinner at Roca Restaurant next door. Superb food with the best view.
In case you're into movies, our very own theatre is situated at the local High School in the newly refurbished building. Movies are shown at 6:30pm from Thursday to Sunday and from 8pm on Wednesdays as part of the supper club (dinner at Foliage, another highly recommended foraging restaurant, before hand).
Day 3: Sunday
Today's the day to go hiking. The Franschhoek valley is surrounded by 4 mountain ranges and there are quite a few hiking trails to enjoy. The most popular are at the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve at the top of the Franschhoek Pass. Book a guided hike with Franschhoek Adventures and your guide will pick you up at your guesthouse and take you to the reserve. The Uitkyk (Lookout) Trail is the most popular and is a moderately easy hike of 7km's taking you to the look out point which overlooks the Wemmershoek Dam and mountains. You are welcome to picnic there before heading back to the start. Your guide will give you a bit of the history of the town, show you the fauna an flora of the valley and answer any questions you might have about the area, the people or the country. Other trails are available at the back of the Berg River Dam or on La Motte Farm.
if you're in to sleeping late, you could join a guided Historical Village Walk later in the day. Fun and informative, you will learn about the people who first settled in the area and why, see the oldest buildings and hear about the people who lived there, find out about the iconic animals that inhabited the valley before the people and find out why we don't speak French in our very Frenchified village.
If history isn't your thing, make your way to Babylonstoren and join their garden tour at 10am each day. This massive fruit and veg kitchen garden is spectacular and not to be missed.
For lunch, book a picnic at one of the wine farms and relax. You can choose from Boschendal, Allee Bleue or Holden Manz, all of which offer lovely picnic baskets in relaxed gardens to while away the afternoon.
On your way back into the village, stop off at one of our local craft beer breweries and try out their unique offerings. The Franschhoek Beer Co. and Hey Joe Brewery are both found on the right hand side of the R45 road into town. Just a tip, try the chicken skins at Hey Joe.... an absolute favourite!
If you didn't hike in the morning, you could also choose the 1.5 hour sunset hike at Topiary wine farm which starts at 4:30pm. In the cool of the day, take a ramble up some koppies (rocky outcrops) and see the sunset view from a whole different perspective. Enjoy a glass of bubbly or wine at the rest spot before making your way down to the tasting room. This is a leisurely hike, nothing strenuous but with amazing views and fabulous endemic plant life. The perfect way to end the day.
By now you'll want some more down to earth food for dinner. Make your way to the Station Grill and pub from 5pm and enjoy the live entertainment and dancing along with really good pub food that is available there every Sunday evening. The locals will be there, the music will be good, the dance floor cleared and pizzas in the wood oven. By the time you leave, you'll feel like one of us.
Day 4: Monday
Time to make your way home after a sumptuous breakfast either at your guesthouse or at one of the many cafes and coffee shops in the main road. Essence, Cafe Franschhoek or MCC all serve excellent breakfast fare.
If you still have a few hours to spare, join a guided tour of the local Township for an eye-opening experience of the informal settlement. Or choose the cultural tour of the Coloured community. This Rond-en-Bont (around and proud) tour takes you to 5 community members where you will experience their culture and traditions, meet the people and hear their stories, very different to what you have experienced in the village. A sobering and grounding interaction that will stay with you for a long time. Highly recommended.
Other things to do: Visit the Huguenot Museum and Monument; paragliding from Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve; visit the many art galleries in and around town.
We will be sad to see you go but you will by now have a good all round experience of what Franschhoek has to offer. Tell your friends about it and perhaps they will join you on your next visit when we look forward to entertaining you again.
All above activities are bookable through the Franschhoek Adventure Centre. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org before your visit to ensure availability.