Franschhoek, in the western cape of South Africa is one of my favourite places on Earth. Beautiful, lush green hills covered in vines running for as far as the eyes can see. (Oh and it’s usually bathed in sunshine!)
There are too many wine estates to mention all of them – I’m talking at least 50! But Franschhoek has developed a great way of visiting lots in a day without someone having to play designated driver (where’s the fun in that?!) – the Franschhoek ‘wine tram’. I put tram in inverted commas as it’s actually mainly a bus masquerading as a tram apart from a tiny section of actual tram that serves just 2 wineries.
When we visited 2 years ago, there were only 2 route options available – there are now 5 showing how popular the destination has become. At only £12 a ticket, if you get on the earliest bus (10am) you can get to 6 different vineyards, spending an hour at each. This time around we opted for the ‘purple’ route and loved every second of it. A couple of highlights (apart from the incredible wine tastings at each); a pre-ordered picnic at Noble Hill Estate (although slightly rushed in the hour time frame we had); Lindt chocolate pairing at Vrede en Lust and the incredibly modern tasting room at Babylonstoren.
A couple of other places to note that we didn’t visit on the wine tram were: Haute Cabriere which had a stunning view from the outside terrace – as well as having their cellar built inside the hill. They also had some of the best sparkling wines we tasted on our visit, I mean check out this setting:
And lastly we went to Roca at the Dieu Donne estate for dinner. This was a massive highlight for me with impeccable food and a setting that was to die for. It over looked the hills of Franschhoek with the sun setting behind it, accompanied by an acoustic guitarist and beautiful wines. It was so fabulous, it now seems like a dream to me!
Franschhoek will always hold a special place in my heart for so many reasons, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will find ourselves back there at some point in our lives. For now I’ll have to make do with the memories (some of which are slightly hazy after the glorious tastings!) and encourage you all to go and visit!