Top 17 Things to Do in Franschhoek

If you are looking for things to do in Franschhoek, look no further. The seduction and charm of the little French corner of South Africa can be felt all through the valley. It is something that you cannot escape even when you visit and explore some of the activities in Franschhoek that we have listed here for you.

Often popular for being an epicure’s dream, Franschhoek has more to offer besides food and wine tasting. Though we admit that this doesn’t sound bad at all.  What do you do when you have consumed and tasted all the food and wine that is on offer? Surprisingly, a lot!

There are several popular activities that you must not miss out on because they will give you a great sense of what Franschhoek is all about. Are you an avid lover of hiking and seeing nature on display? Maybe you love delving through a bit of history and art? There is literally something for everyone.

We have a million reasons why we love Franschhoek and we hope that this activity guide will evoke the same sentiments from you.

Popular Things To Do in Franschhoek

Activities not to miss out

Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve

Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve

Put your hiking shoes on and prepare yourself for a wonder-filled track along the many trails at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.

By far the most popular hiking reserve in Franschhoek, Mont Rochelle has over 30km well-maintained hiking trails. You will have a front-row seat of the spectacular view of the Franschhoek Valley, as well as a chance to explore the diverse plant life where fynbos thrives.

You even have a chance to see some snow if you take the Perdekop Trail during certain seasons. Hikes usually range from 2km to 13km, so you have a variety of choices depending on your level of fitness and your desire to explore.

The reserve is part of the Boland Biosphere Reserve and is a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. The total area is about 1759 hectares and the highest peak is the Perdekop trail, which measures at 1575m.

The reserve has no food facilities, so make sure that you have packed all your supplies and water before you start.

What it will cost you

●   Day Permits will cost R50 per person, and only children under 16 can enter free of charge as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult

●   Year Permits are R300 and the same conditions as the day permits apply.

●   Pamphlets cost R20

●   No cash is allowed, only payment via debit/credit card, SnapSCan, Zapper or Masterpass apps.

Other essential details

●    The reserve is open from sunrise to sunset every day, including public holidays.

●    No dogs or drones are permitted.

●    No advertising with posters, flags or billboards

●    Paragliders need permits

●    Permits can be purchased at the entrance or online.

●    The reserve allows location shooting.

This is not an activity that you want to miss out on if you are of this particular persuasion.

Huguenot Fine Chocolates-Tasting

Huguenot Fine Chocolates

Chocoholics beware! This activity will do nothing to help you steer clear of this delicious treat, but who wants to quit eating chocolate anyway?

If you were ever curious about how artisanal chocolate is manufactured, then please do yourself a favour and pass by the Chocolate Experience. The event is hosted by Huguenot Fine Chocolates Company. The boutique chocolate shop is located on the main street of Franschhoek, and it offers a delicious variety of chocolates made from the finest imported Belgian chocolate.

The Chocolate Experience is only 30 minutes long, and the programme gives you some history on chocolates, a demonstration of their manufacturing process as well as a bit of chocolate tasting. Participants can expect to receive a two-pack of chocolates to go home with.

What it will cost you

●          You can expect to spend from R21 on chocolates at the store.

Other Essential Details

●          The shop is open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

●          The chocolate experience starts at 11.00am and at 3.00pm.

Hottentots Holland Mountains

Hottentots Holland Mountains

Calling all adventure lovers! The Hottentots Holland Mountains have some of the best things to do in Franschhoek. If the laid-back romantic vibe is not for you, you will thoroughly enjoy making your way down to this nature reserve. It has so many activities on offer.

These rocky mountains have bright wildflowers and natural pools that make the reserve a great place for hikes, kloofing and tour zip lining. You will encounter different wildlife that includes the grey rhebuck, klipspringer, common duiker and grysbok occur, and rarely leopards. There are about 110 bird species that have been recorded on the reserve. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are numerous trails to choose from, and the reserve’s offices mark the starting point of these trails. There are overnight sites with two huts each that can sleep, 30 people. These have basic facilities such as bunk beds, mattresses and water. There is no electricity and fires and braais are strictly forbidden except at designated sites.

Other activities include;

●          Cape Canopy Tour

●          Swimming at the still pools

●          Mountain Biking

●          Kloofing (November to April)

What it will cost you

●          The day access fee is R50 for adults and R30 for children.

●          Self-catering accommodation at the huts will be R240 per person per night.

●          Canopy Tour is R895.

●          Group activities start from R30.

Take the Wine Tram

Franchhoek Wine Tram

Safe to say that it is only in Franschhoek that day drinking is not only allowed but celebrated. For those that enjoy a drink early in the morning, you will feel right at home when you take a ride on the wine tram. The tram tours begin at 9.00am to 1.00pm and as it is quite a popular activity, make sure you book your ticket and arrive there early.

In our opinion, this is honestly the best way to tour all the wine farms without much of a hassle. This combination of a bus and tram ride allows you the flexibility of seeing as many wine farms as you would like. The bus adds an additional two routes to the six that the tram travels.

The ticket office is located on the main street in Franschhoek, and there is a parking lot where you can leave your car. The routes are colour coded, orange, purple, blue, green, pink, grey, red and yellow. Each route connects to a group of wine farms. Once you book you can jump on and off any wine estate along your route. You are free to stick to the designated time slots or stay longer on certain wine farms, but this means that you will skip a winery or two along your route.

What it will cost you

●          Wine Tram costs R240 for adults and R90 for children aged 3-17 years.

●          Curated Tram is R1 050 (adults only)

●          Group Tram costs R215 for adults and R80 for children aged 3-17 years.

Huguenot Memorial Monument

Huguenot Memorial Monument

Perhaps the most distinct landmark in Franschhoek town centre is the Huguenot Memorial Monument. You will not miss it.

Keeping up with the theme of offering visitors some spectacular views, this memorial museum and monument is located in a gorgeous setting, with beautiful Cape Dutch-style buildings. The memorial is a celebration and a heart-warming nod to the history of the town and the French influence in Franschhoek.

If you are fascinated with all things history do not miss taking a stroll down the massive well-kept gardens that lead up to the monument. Very few people actually know how and why the French settlers ended up in Franschhoek so the monument was built to document the history of these French adventurers.

The Huguenot Monument was inaugurated in 1948, and at the centre is a female statue with a broken chain in her left hand and a bible in her right.

Whilst at the monument it will also be worth your while to visit the Huguenot Museum. There is a fountain with some details about the history of the Huguenots both before and after their arrival here in the Cape. The museum also has interesting facts about the French settlers. These include discovering the tools they used to make wine, the clothes they wore, and more fascinating insights about their culture.

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 09.00am to 3.00pm and Saturday from 09.00am to 12.00pm.

What it will cost you

●          Cost R10 (adults)

●          R5 (students)

●          R2 (children)

Franschhoek Pass

Franschhoek Pass

Another great way for you to get a complete picture of the valley is to take a bus tour or a drive along the Franschhoek Pass.

The picturesque views of the valley along the pass is nothing but breath-taking. The pass stretches for at least 13km from corner to corner. It is said that elephants used to cross from one valley to the other across the pass. The road was constructed in 1822 and it curves and winds along so beautifully it seems as if it was created as part of the valley.

The best way to view the pass is to take a tour bus that will take you to all four corners of the valley and show you all the wine farms, restaurants, historical buildings, venues and other places of interest.

What it will cost you

●          R456 for the Franschhoek Adventure Tour Bus

Something for the Foodies

The amalgamation of African, Dutch and French cuisine found in Franschhoek has produced some of the most unique culinary experiences in the world. No wonder it is hailed as the gourmet capital of South Africa.

It is safe to assume that there can be no bad food in Franschhoek, depending on your taste buds of course. Every restaurant, winery or shop is world-class. It will be very hard to leave Franschhoek without gaining a few pounds.

With so many food establishments to choose from it can be quite overwhelming, so here is a list of some of the world-renowned restaurants in Franschhoek.

La Petite Colombe

La Petite Colombe

Arguably the best high-end restaurants in Franschhoek La Petite Combe offers a 10 course and an 8-course meal (only available for lunch). It is the epitome of elegance and caters for those that love the finer things in life and have the pockets to match it. The restaurant seats 54 and you can expect to be wooed by classic jazz background music with chic interiors.

What it will cost you

●          Full Menu (10 courses) R 1 550; R2 650 with wine

●          Reduced Menu (8 courses) R 1200; R2 050 with wine

Some honourable mentions include; Le Chene, Chefs Warehouse at Maison, Arkeste, LeCoin Francais, Foliage, Protégé and MIKO at Mont Rochelle.

Franschhoek Station Pub

Franschhoek Station Pub

Worlds away from gourmet dining is the Franschhoek Station Pub and Craft Bar. A favourite spot for locals, it is also easy on the pocket.

Located on a 1915 railway South African Cultural Heritage building, the pub has maintained the original station building adding to the allure of the place. It is a fantastic way for you to meet locals. There is a Karaoke and DJ event with a T-bone special held every Friday night. The environment is very family-friendly with activities for children.  You can expect traditional well-prepared meals.

What it will cost you

●          R99 for the Friday night T-bone special

●          R130 for their best burger

●          R10-R55 for their craft beers

Other easy on the pocket restaurants include; Tuk Tuk Microbrewery, The French Connection and Café des Artes

Outdoor Activities

Hot Air Balloon over the Cape Winelands

Hot air balloon Franschhoek

There is no better way to appreciate the beauty of Franschhoek other than from the clouds. Take in an uninterrupted view of the mountains, the hotels, the wine farms, the vineyards and gardens as the sun rises. You will even catch a glimpse of the Table Mountains at a distance. There is nothing more romantic than watching the sunrise and the world waking up beneath you.

The Hot Air Balloon is strictly an early morning activity due to regulatory and safety conditions.  We advise that you book early and give room for cancellations because the activity does require stable weather. The only time to book is from November to April due to seasonal changes.

Some tour companies offer you a chance to assist with the rigging of the hot air balloon which does add more excitement to the tour.

There is a vehicle that will take you back to the launch location or to breakfast at any one of the restaurants in the region. All this is included as part of the package.

What it will cost you

●          R 5 077 for two adults

Picnic at a wine farm

Nothing more relaxing than sipping on a glass of wine and indulging in some snacks whilst you soak in the view before you. If you love to whine down and just take some time to enjoy yourself then book a picnic and the numerous wine farms around the valley.

Our best picks for you include:

  1. 1. Grand Country Picnic at Grande Provence in Franschhoek

This country-style picnic at Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate is available during the months of September through to April. There is a vegetarian option and baskets are only available within 24 hours after booking.

What it will cost you

●          R 650 sharing basket for 2.

●          R 325 single basket.

2.         Boschendal Rhone Rose Garden Picnic

The classic Boschendal picnic is open on weekends from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. When you book a picnic basket at Rhone Rose Garden you receive a 10% discount on your wine tasting or wine purchase at the Cellar Door for the same day. Unfortunately, there are no gluten-free or Banting options, they do however have a great vegetarian option.

What it will cost you

●          R600 Basket for 2

●          R300 Basket for 1

●          R125 Kids basket (3 – 10 yrs.)

3.         Allee Bleue

Their Herb Inspired Picnic Baskets and a bottle of Allée Bleue Wine is the perfect way to spend the day out with your family and friends. It is a great way to enjoy the magnificent countryside.

What it will cost you

●          Basket for 1: R245

●          Picnic Basket for 2: R460

●          Picnic Basket for Children: R105

Cultural Activities in Franschhoek

Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren

This wine farm deserves its own spotlight only because of the sheer number of things to do that you can find here. The list of activities is endless. You have wine tasting, a farm shop, a bakery, restaurants, fruit and vegetable gardens, a spa, picnics and you can even make your own soap.

The farm has been in existence since 1692, making it is one of the best-preserved farmyards in the area. The massive garden is divided into 15 sections that include fruit and vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, plants and flowers, a prickly pear maze, animals and the factory to name a few.

What we love the most is the new factory, where visitors get to explore the Scented Room, the Juicery and the Balsamic Vinegar Battery. You can watch the production process of some of the farm’s products.

The X-factor activity at the factory is that you can create your own beauty products. They offer you an option to make scented bath soaks, face masks or hand and foot scrubs using ingredients grown on the farm.

Babylonstoren Farm is on the purple and orange wine tram route and everything about this farm is definitely worth a visit.

What it will cost you

●          R10 (adults) Monday-Friday

●          R20 (adults) Weekends & Public Holidays

●          R10 children under 12

Die Handelshuis

Die Handelshuis

If you love rustic old buildings with antiques and unique trinkets then please make a pit stop to Die Handelshuis. This quaint little community can be found in between Franschhoek and Paarl.

This collection of various shops dates back as far as 1920, and there are a variety of things to do. You can grab a cup of coffee and some delicious pies at the Ou Meul bakery, or explore the Die Gieter nursery which hosts a variety of succulents, plants, pot plants and cacti. You can even score some vintage furniture at Barn & Werf or at Smith’s Interior. The common areas are group and child friendly.

We put this village on our list because it is a hidden treasure that you should not miss out. The different shops have varying operating times but if you get there around 9.00am you should be able to have a look at all the shops.

Farm Sanctuary SA

Farm Sanctuary SA Franschhoek

Get your tissues out and prepare to have your heartstrings pulled by the rescue animals at the Farm Sanctuary.

The organisation has made it its mission to rescue mistreated farm animals and give them a happy home. Here you can take a tour of the farm and meet its two most famous inhabitants.

There is Pigcasso, the world’s only painting pig. Her paintings are sold by the farm, and you are free to make as many purchases. When she is not painting Pigcasso gets up to ‘normal’ pig business such as sleeping, eating and rolling happily in the mud.  There is also Baloo, a sweet male calf rescued from a dairy farm in the area.

The farm is open on weekends between 11.00am and 3.00pm. However, as we typically see with celebrities that move at their own time, Pigcasso’s viewing time is Sunday at 12.00pm. The cost to enter is completely free.

Franschhoek Motor Museum

Franschhoek Motor Museum

Where do you go for a bit of action in the sleepy town of Franschhoek? How about a motor museum with over 220 cars in its collection dating back to 1898.

The museum has more than 80 exhibits on view at a time. These are displayed in chronological order on a huge floor space. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with its rare and exciting collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia. Visiting is by appointment only.

What it will cost you

●          R60 for adults

●          R30 for children between 3-12

●          R50 for senior citizens

 

Buy some art

Grand Provence Franschhoek

Considering the size of the town, the amount of art galleries you can find is quite a delightful surprise. We have a list of some of our favourites below;

  1. 1. Cafe des Arts

Located along the Franschhoek main road, this art gallery offers you the opportunity to grab a cup of coffee whilst browsing the works of various local artists. The shop has an onsite restaurant as well where you can grab a delicious snack or meal.

  1. 2. The Ceramics Gallery

For a dose of pottery head to the Ceramics Gallery and showroom where all the work is hand made by David Walters and his daughter Sarah. On display is an impressive variety of pieces and other artistic impressions.

  1. 3. The Gallery at Grand Provence

One of the popular art galleries in Franschhoek, The Gallery at Grand Provence offers a mix of wonderful exhibitions throughout the year that showcases the unique talents of local artists and craftsmen. You can expect to see paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and photographs.

They are open Monday to Sunday, 10.00am to 6.00pm.

Family Activities

Rickety Bridge

Rickety Bridge Winery

Wouldn’t it be nice to find a place that can offer you these four things?

-a relaxing atmosphere,

-some tasty wine and food,

-an adventure to quench your adrenaline craving and,

-a distraction for your kids.

Sounds too good to be true right?

Welcome to Rickety Bridge, a place that is as close to heaven as you can get. It has a little bit of something for everyone.

The wine farm has the latest closing hours meaning that you can stay as late as you want. There are luscious lawns and monkey bars where your children can enjoy themselves and exert some of that pent up energy.

You can have lunch at Paulina’s restaurant, facing a magnificent countryside and watch the sunset set in, or grab a seat on the wooden deck right next to the vineyard. For those looking for a bit more excitement, there is a Park Run, scenic walks through the garden where you can view the variety of birdlife, or cycle through the vineyards.

You can get spa treatments in your room at one of the onsite accommodations, or take a wine cellar tour which you can book by appointment. To top it all off, there are various events held at the estate that you can join in.

The estate is a fun place for large groups and families. Please do keep it on your itinerary if it’s your cup of tea.

Take a stroll through Franschhoek Market

Franschhoek Village Market

You will be doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on the Franschhoek Market. Not only is it a great place to mix and mingle with locals it has become such an intricate part of the Franschhoek social scene.

Shop for local delicacies such as home-made jams, preserves, baked goods and pastries, unique jewellery, art, clothes, furniture, souvenirs and more. The prices are reasonable, and you will not miss it because every Sunday in the centre of town along Huguenot road, everybody is heading in that direction.

It is fairly obvious now that Franschhoek has a lot more to offer you besides romance, food and wine. The deep history and culture that permeates everything in Franschhoek will certainly make an impression on you. You will leave a part of yourself in Franschhoek and every now and again it tugs at you to return to the wonderful French Corner of South Africa. It is a call most will be more than delighted to answer.


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