Autumn in Franschhoek is undoubtedly the best season of the year, albeit a short one. The cooler days bring us relief from the summer heat, invigorates and revives us and tells us to get outdoors before the cold winter days start. The vine leaves are starting to change from dark green to rich reds, rusts and yellows. They will soon drop to carpet the ground beneath the bare stalls so get your camera out and enjoy the riot of colour while you can.
Our village is blessed to be surrounded by majestic mountains. It is what lures tourists to our valley and what keeps the locals here. Every day we get to see these giant guardians standing on our horizon watching over us. Fortunately, we don’t only have to look at them from afar, we can walk in them and experience nature on their many hiking trails, get some exercise and take in the big blue sky. Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, the Berg River Dam Conservation Area and La Motte Wine Farm all have established trails with magnificent views. Autumn is the perfect time to get out and up there. The Proteas are starting to bloom and the Everlastings are looking great with their pink paper petals. Look out for the elusive insectivorous plants, the Sundews, which only show themselves on cooler, damp days. Start hiking early in the morning or late afternoon to catch the golden hour of light.
Franschhoek is also surrounded by many world-class wine farms, easily reached by mountain bike. If hiking is a little too strenuous and you’d like to imbibe on some of our vineyard offerings, a 3 to 4 hour bike ride with an experienced and knowledgeable guide is just the thing. There are a number of routes to choose from, accommodating all your wine tastes. The little ones can join in the fun with kid’s bikes and toddler buggies and many of the farms provide children’s play areas close to the tasting rooms. On the tour you will learn a little about the history of Franschhoek, the vineyards and the various wines Franschhoek has to offer. Most wine farms offer scrumptious lunch platters and specialty food-and-wine pairing options for you to choose from. All these are enjoyed in the lovely gardens under the century-old oak trees which abound in the area. Vineyard and Cellar tours are available at certain farms and we even have a Safari and Wine Tasting option on a local game farm.
Cycling through the picturesque wine farms with the magnificent mountains as a back drop is a stunning way to experience the area. For those who do not wish to visit a wine farm, a circular village route is also available. A little more strenuous than the wine routes, it takes you around the outskirts of the village for about 15kms, great for working up an appetite for your lunch at one of our amazing restaurants.
The mountains around Franschhoek have many single track mountain bike trails for the more experienced and adventurous mountain biker. These trails are also good for the trail runners and can be attempted in a variety of distances. The Berg River Dam area is well known for this activity.
If all this sounds like far too much effort, a lovely Historical Village Walk is a must. How many times have you walked around a place you’ve never visited before and wondered how it all started and what the “back-story” is? On the non-strenuous 2 hour walk around the back streets of Franschhoek you will learn all about the how the village was started, who the first inhabitants were and how they left their mark on our town and made it unique in South Africa. You will see the oldest houses and buildings and hear the stories of the people who lived there and their influence on the village. Hear about the animals that were here long before human settlement and the role the village played in the apartheid era.
If walking is your thing, you can also do an insightful and entertaining walk on the “Meet The Locals” Township tour. Our local township has a long history and is highly diverse. On the walk we taste the local beverages and cuisine, meet some of the local people and visit the children in one of the crèches, always a great hit and the kids love visitors. Experience a very different side to Franschhoek and meet the locals at ground level. An eye-opening and never-to-be-forgotten experience.
Our versatile village has many means of experiencing what we have to offer. The routes through the vineyards and orchards lend themselves well to wine tasting by horse-back. The local Tuk Tuk service also offers guided and un-guided wine tours. The Wine Tram now has routes that take the visitor to the vineyards far beyond the village in their new Double-decker trams. For those who know, the village is home to a good number of Geocaches, a super fun hobby and way to see the most interesting parts of the area. Guided Geocache tours are also available.
In short, our small village caters to every need and interest and makes us one of the most visited towns in country.
Autumn is here, get out and enjoy while the good weather holds. See you in the great outdoors!
All activities can be booked with Franschhoek Adventures. Call Robyn on 072 999 8581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for info and to book. Check out our website for details on these and many more fun, informative and adventurous tours – www.franschhoek-adventures.co.za.