3 Day Trip | Walking The Cape Winelands
Franschhoek & Stellenbosch
Day 1 - Overnight @ Franschhoek
To set the stage, we start our three day tour in the wonderful village of Franschhoek, and appropriately with the local town historian, on an informative morning walk and a visit to some of its best wine makers nearby the centre of the village.
Starting from the historic Dutch Reformed churchyard on main road, we learn that the first Europeans to settle in the valley was a group of French Huguenots who, after being persecuted for their Protestant faith, left France and, in 1688, were given land by the Dutch East India Company in what was then known as Olifantshoek (Elephant’s Corner). The newcomers named their farms La Motte, Bourgogne, Champagne and La Provence and other names reminiscent of their homeland and began to cultivate wines. By the early 18th Century the valley was referred to as ‘de France Hoek’ (the French Corner) and by 1805 Franschhoek was the official name. The fascinating tour highlights significant Huguenot farms and how building styles changed over the years. We learn how to identify the early Cape Dutch buildings with their distinctive, ornate rounded gables, symmetrical windows and H-shaped design, and those that had been ‘Victorianised’ with the addition of verandahs and sash windows.
After lunch we retire to our luxurious rooms for a short, or longer rest, and to savour the tidbits of information garnered during the course of the morning. Naturally this also allows for our lunch to digest! At 2.30pm, after a well deserved rest, and a short 30min walk, we stop at the Huegenot Chocolate Factory for a tour and tasting before turning back to La Bri, this time through the vineyards of Mont Rochelle for the day’'s final wine tastings. A fitting nod to the wine culture of Franschhoek!
Day 2 - Overnight @ Franschhoek
Making the claim for the best view in a region famous for them, the hike to Perdekop Peak in the mountains above Franschhoek has hikers gazing at vistas that take in range after range of Cape mountains.
Set in a private reserve of great craggy mountains, the trail is a straight-forward walk up. It’s steep at first but flattens out soon enough. The fynbos vegetation is both pristine and diverse, and mountain antelope, baboons, ravens and even black eagles are often seen. Approaching the summit, the alpine grassland gives way to a rocky peak from which most of the south-west Cape can be seen – even as far as Table Mountain. As further reward, it’s an easy-angled walk down via a path that throws up huge views at every turn. The reserve has two shorter trails to accommodate the half-day hiker, each with superb views as the reward to a stiff uphill hike. Unlike the full-day circuit, half-day hikers return on the same path. A picnic lunch marks the turning point for the group. We return to our lodgings for a well deserved rest at 1pm. At 2.30pm we shuttle to what will be a very special highlight of the day - a rendezvous with some of the best wineries dotting the northern slope of Simonsberg, situated on the edge between Franschhoek and Paarl. Estates include Babylonstoren, Glen Carlou and Rupert and Rothschild. A superb ending to our 2nd night in the winelands.
Day 3 - The End
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we depart for the student town of Stellenbosch, a short 40min drive away. Our first stop in the morning includes a short walk of Stellenbosch central, with it’s spectacular botanical garden the main focus, and a tasting at Starke Conde and Lanzerac, situated in the Jonkershoek valley and arguably wine tasting that rivals the prior two days! Not an easy feat. After a gourmet picnic lunch served on the lawns under age old Oaks at Lanzerac we depart for what will be our last two tastings and an easy walk in the picturesque Devon Valley. Estates include Aaldering and Clos Malverne. At 4pm our ride back to Cape Town will see us home by 5pm.
- tour departs from Cape Town at 7.30am on day 1
- meals include breakfast (from day 2) and lunch (all three days)
- all tastings, cellar tours and park fees are included in the tour price
- evenings are free time and can either be spent with a snack board at the guest house, or a informal or formal dinner at one of the many award-winning restaurants in town; shuttle service included for those who had enough walking!
Cost: R16,800 per person sharing; single supplement R3400.
Accommodation: 4 Star Boutique Guest House in the heart of Franschhoek.