Franschhoek Wine Valley

Good herbs for the soul

Judah James at the entrance to the herb garden

When next you’re in Franschhoek, pop into the indigenous herb garden in the town’s main road.

There you will find Judah James, a Khoi Rastafarian who has extensive knowledge of local herbs and what they have been used for through the centuries.

There are popular herbs like wilde als for colic; buchu, which is used to treat a wide range of ailments, including flushing kidneys, treating skin conditions and curing fungal infections; and kooigoed, which Khoi people bundled and used as mattresses. Kooigoed is also used for a multitude of ailments.

Khoi people roamed the Cape, and Franschhoek, for centuries. They depended on fynbos for its healing properties, for food and bedding.

James had carefully cultivated the garden

James has been running the garden since 2006, on a piece of land owned by the municipality and granted to him. He landscaped the garden and carefully planted herbs, plants and flowers.

The garden is a haven of peace and he invites people in to enjoy the tranquility.

A tour of the garden reveals scores of plants and he readily shares his knowledge, identifying the plants and listing their uses.

Most of the herbs are steeped in hot water and the tea drunk, but some can be ground up and used in a poultice, and others are burnt to release fragrant smells.

A bowl of smouldering herbs

He will also create a mixture of herbs and leaves when people come to him with specific complaints.

Every Saturday he sets up shop at the local market, from where he sells his medicinal wares.

“I also started growing culinary herbs, parsley, fennel and thyme,” James says.

James’ knowledge comes from 22 years of learning how his ancestors treated their aches and pains.

“I’ve been busy with herbs since 1992, and I learnt a lot by trading knowledge with Rastafarians and Khoi people,” James says.

Franschhoek Wine Valley exists to:

  • Develop and implement marketing plans to profile the Franschhoek Wine Valley
  • Arrange and advertise events that support the Franschhoek Wine Valley brand image and which encourage visitors to the Valley
  • Represent the business interests of our members to the Stellenbosch Municipality
  • Aggregate the combined buying power of our members to leverage economy of scale benefits from service providers
  • Coordinate free advisory services and discussion forums to support our member’s businesses

Our Accolades

  • TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2020 - Top 25 Emerging Worldwide Destinations (15th position).
  • Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice Destination Winner 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015
  • Most Memorable Wine Route 2014, 2013 & 2012
  • Service Excellence Award - 2015
  • Best Tourism Event 2015 - Franschhoek Bastille Festival
  • Best Local Tourism Authority Information service 2013 & 2012

Tourism Levy

Certain establishments in Franschhoek may levy visitors with voluntary contributions towards the running of the FWV and to support local charities. Should visitors not wish to contribute to these causes, please indicate this to the relevant merchant.


Maintenance & validity of all business operating permits, licences and registration certificates are the responsibility of the business owner. Franschhoek Wine Valley takes no responsibility for the renewal of the required legal business operating documentation.


Contact Us

Franschhoek Wine Valley

Physical Address
62 Huguenot Road

Office hours
Monday: 09h00 – 12h00
Tuesday to Friday: 09h00 – 16h00
Saturday: 09h00 – 13h00
Sunday: closed

Contact Details
+27(0) 21 876 2861