Explore Franschhoek and the Cape Overberg

Cape Town and the Western Cape is currently facing a shortage of water due to insufficient rains, but the region is still very much open for business with a number of areas not facing a shortfall of water. We want you to visit! All we ask is that you save like a local and be water wise while you are with us.

Large parts of the Cape Overberg, Garden Route, Cape Karoo and Cape Winelands are only facing moderate water restrictions, while some areas are facing none at all. While we are doing everything possible to ensure your visit will not be effected, there are some ways in which you will be affected. Some accommodation establishments have closed their pools, saunas and steam rooms, and removed bath plugs, to limit non-essential water use. We would recommend checking with your accommodation provider beforehand.

In this four-day itinerary, you can explore Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands and the Cape Overberg – both its valleys and its coastal beauty. There is food and wine, flora and fauna and more to enjoy in this jam-packed exploration of the area

Franschhoek (distance from Cape Town, 1h12):

Day 1

breakfast at babel restaurant 

Babel Restaurant’s menu is guided by what is available in the garden and their food always reflects the season. So, in summer they may serve you a yellow salad of pineapple, gooseberries, granadillas, yellow tomatoes and apricots while in winter a slow-cooked leg of lamb in red wine is more likely. Dessert subscribes to four flavours, namely: salty, bitter, sweet and sour. And while their meals are creative, they don't like to tamper unduly with their food. Meals are always clear in structure, so that fruit and vegetables gathered daily from the garden is often served with its skin on. Helpings are generous and depending on the weather you can take your meal in the glass-enclosed restaurant or under the plane trees in the courtyard.

Website: www.babylonstoren.com

garden tour at babylonstoren

Babylonstoren’s daily guided garden tour starts at the Farm Shop at 10am. One of the experienced gardeners will be your guide on this tour, during which guests are encouraged to pick, taste, smell and touch while walking through the garden. Each of the 300 plant varieties is edible or has medicinal value. The beautiful garden is not only pleasing to the eye, but also provides the restaurants with fresh produce, harvested daily. Babylonstoren’s enthusiastic guides will share some of the garden’s special stories with you and give practical gardening tips. 

Website: www.babylonstoren.com

lunch at the werf restaurant at boschendal

Situated in the beautifully revamped original cellar of the Manor House, the focus at The Werf Restaurant is on presenting contemporary farm to table dining using the best of available local, seasonal and ethically-sourced ingredients. This is offered in an eclectic environment of decor and cooking spaces where the kitchen comes out of the shadows and comes alive inside the restaurant. Expect fragrant fermented breads, slow-roasted ribs and brisket sourced from the herd of Angus cattle on Boschendal farm, or house-smoked meat and fish, and accomplished desserts.

Website: www.boschendal.com

Explore Main Street

Walk off lunch by exploring the main street of Franschhoek’s vibrant village, which is lined with shops, specialist stores and arts and crafts studios and galleries. It is very much the heart of the Franschhoek valley and is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the town’s unique culture and heritage.

End your first day in the valley with dinner at the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais – you will need to book – one of the top restaurants in the country. The Tasting Room offers an exquisite dining experience with the eight-course African surprise menu changing regularly according to what locally sourced ingredients are available to be sourced or foraged. The staff are all local, and their knowledge of the food – and the area – is second to none. 

Day 2

Start your morning in town with a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum which offers visitors an opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with its unique and exciting collection of vehicles and motorcycles.        

Website: http://www.fmm.co.za/ 

Huguenot Monument & Memorial Museum

Probably one of the most prominent features of Franschhoek is the Huguenot Monument. It’s impossible to miss, located at the end of the Main Road. Stop by to learn all about French Huguenots, their ways of life and their reasons for settling in this valley at the Huguenot Memorial Museum. There is an entry fee to the museum and also to the monument.

Website: museum.co.za

chocolate tour & tasting at huguenot fine chocolates

This fantastic tour outlining the story of chocolate includes a chocolate tasting and a demonstration of how chocolates are made. Huguenot Fine Chocolates has a wonderful selection made from imported Belgian chocolate. A wide variety of boxed chocolate, local jams and gourmet products are also available.

Website: www.huguenotchocolates.com 

Dutoitskop Hike

The Dutoitskop Hike might just be what you need to either build up an appetite or walk off all that chocolate. This is Franschhoek’s most beautiful spot for hiking. The route climbs the Franschhoek Pass, and at the top the incredible views make for great photos. Choose between day hikes or 2-hour hikes. Permits are available through the Tourism Office and Huguenot Museum.

Suggested stayover: Pearl Valley Hotel

The luxury hotel is the latest development for the Val de Vie Estate, and it boasts – apart from its prime location, of course – a swimming pool, two flood-lit tennis courts, horse-riding, a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, wine-tasting at the L’Huguenot Venue & Vinoteque on the estate, and of course, a golf course designed by one of the world’s greatest-ever players. The hotel rooms – there are 38 all showcasing the incredible views of the estate – are just 100 metres away from the clubhouse and boast all the luxurious amenities expected of a luxury hotel.  

Website: http://pearlvalley.co.za/ 

Day 3

Hermanus / Stanford (time from Franschhoek, 1h16) 

Order an early breakfast and then depart for Hermanus in the Cape Overberg, where you can continue your exploration of the Western Cape vineyards, sample local beer and then enjoy dinner in one of the Overberg’s most beautiful towns – Stanford.

hermanus wine hoppers 

Hop-on Hop-off safari-style and discover the boutique wineries of the beautiful Hemel & Aarde Valley in a truly unforgettable way.

Website: www.hermanuswinehoppers.co.za  

suggested lunch spot: creation wines 

The story of Creation Wines is as old as the hills - dating back to when Mother Nature created South Africa's beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde. Enjoy carefully crafted cuisine with some of the best wines, while taking in the gorgeous surroundings. 

Website: www.creationwines.com 

verona’s 

Depart for Zwelihle and stop at Verona’s for umqombothi (a local beer which is made from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water).

dinner at stanford manor

Enjoy contemporary country cooking prepared by the talented Manor House kitchen team at this popular Overberg restaurant. The food can be best described as wholesome and traditional.

suggested stayover: stanford hotel

Built in 1920 and situated in the heart of the village, the Stanford Hotel has remained true to its original era both in decor and furniture. It is the oldest existing business in Stanford.

Website: www.stanfordinfo.co.za 

Day 4 

stanford | gansbaai

cheese tasting at klein river cheese 

All cheese is made using age-old artisanal methods on the Klein River Farmstead in Stanford. They only use locally sourced, pasture-fed cow’s milk that is pasteurized according to legislation, enjoy a cheese tasting or picnic while kids have fun on the rolling lawn and kid play area.

Website: www.kleinrivercheese.co.za 

de kelders freshwater drip cave 

The cliffs of De Kelders are a geological wonder and home to a number of ancient limestone caves. The Drip Cave or 'druipkelder' (as it is called by locals) is located under a natural spring and large amounts of fresh water percolate through its limestone floor to form crystal clear, natural pools.

Website: www.dekeldersdripcave.wordpress.com 

fat bike tours 

This is the ultimate ride! Starting in the Grootbos nature reserve down the mountain to the top of the Sand Dunes, it’s basically all downhill and loads of fun! The trail to the dunes is special, running on a narrow sandy horse trail through the Fynbos, with epic views and big downhills to keep you on your toes.

Website: www.fatbiketours.co.za 

suggested stayover: saxon lodge 

You can unwind and feel at home in one of their spacious, individually decorated en-suite suites or rooms, all with private entrances, some with their own verandas.

Website: www.saxonlodge.co.za  

For more information on you can travel responsibly and be water wise while in the Western Cape, take a look HERE http://goto.capetown/news?NewsID=WJz5CPpKfX

This is the ultimate ride! Starting in the Grootbos nature reserve down the mountain to the top of the Sand Dunes, it’s basically all downhill and loads of fun! The trail to the dunes is special, running on a narrow sandy horse trail through the Fynbos, with epic views and big downhills to keep you on your toes.

 There is food and wine, flora and fauna and more to enjoy in this jam-packed exploration of the area