Franschhoek is the Valley of the Huguenots
This is the fertile ground is where the French first made wine in South Africa 300 years ago. Today, that noble tradition is carried forward by the members of the Vignerons de Franschhoek. Franschhoek has 42 wine farms, including some of South Africa’s most respected names in wine. Noble cultivars and classic styles can be found here. From superb whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The Franschhoek valley’s is also renowned for Cap Classique Sparkling wines and Ports. Most farms readily welcome visitors for tastings.
Visiting Franschhoek is a delightful experience. This small village, tucked away in a valley, surrounded by mountains, is only an 60 min from Cape Town. Every day of the week, but especially on Sundays, visitors flood into Franschhoek from all over.
If you’re planning to drive to Franschhoek, allow at least 1:30 hour from Cape Town, 12 hours from Johannesburg, 17 hours from Durban, 8 hours from Port Elizabeth and 11 hours from East London. Situtuated 83 km from Cape Town, along the N1, in 1:30 hour one can be in Franschhoek. This makes it perfect for a daytrip and its proximity to Stellenbosch, 30 km; Paarl 30 km; Wellington 45 km and 45 km to Somerset West makes it ideal to explore the Winelands.
Cape Town is positioned on the 34 th latitude south, which equates it more or less with Casablanca, Los Angeles or Sydney. Cape Town however has a Mediterranean climate. In summer it is pleasantly warm with the hottest days often cooled by the South African Cape Doctor. It seldom rains in summer, and only briefly when it does. The winters are cool and wet, with the temperature occaisionally falling below 10 °C.
Founded in 1688 our scenic gem nestles in a rich and fertile valley in the beautiful Heart of the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek has many award winning restaurants for connoisseurs that will find a delicious choice in and around Franschhoek. Many of these eateries are award-winning and widely acclaimed, both internationally and locally. In season (Oct–Feb), it is wise to book your table. Visit our Restaurants page to find a list of the best dining establishments in Franschhoek.
In South Africa the Graham Beck Wines is acknowledged as one of the great sources of fine wine from the Cape. With vineyards on four farms in three distinct viticultural regions in the Western Cape, Graham Becks two estates the original Robertson Cellar and the Franschhoek Cellar now operate in tandem.
The areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek comprise the magnificent region of the Winelands. These historic towns are fascinating attractions in their own right, not to mention the many surrounding wine farms.
The Cape Winelands has a Mediterranean climate and winter rainfall of the south-western Cape. The rich fertile soils have become world famous for their whites, reds, sherries, ports and brandies. You will be spoilt for choice between small, boutique wineries and the larger, more commercial wine estates.
As well as sampling some of the world’s best wines in magnificent surrounds, you can join the winemaker on a tour of his cellar where the harvest is lovingly transformed into award-winning wines.
Attractions and other places of interest:
At the foot of the pass you will find the Huguenot Memorial and Museum which commemorates the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Huguenots. The museum serves as an information and research centre on the Huguenots and their descendants.
The Jan Joubert’s gat bridge is one of the oldest bridges in South Africa still in use and is in the Franschoek pass.
The Dutch Reformed Church is a National Monument and is open to the public on request.