Franschhoek is a place well known for its culinary attractions, drawing countless visitors to its vineyards and eateries in search of epicurean nirvana. Yet despite the town’s relatively small size, there’s in fact plenty more on offer for those keen to venture off the beaten track.
Known only to locals and regular visitors, Franschhoek’s more offbeat attractions cater to art lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and even petrol heads, with a diverse range of unexpected and well guarded secrets for the intrepid traveller to explore.
So if you’ve had your fill of fine food and wine, here are a few hidden gems and secret spots guaranteed to give you a brand new perspective on this quaint little mountain town:
Art and about
In recent years, Franschhoek has become a bona fide art destination, with plentiful new galleries having led to the establishment of the Art Franschhoek route, which takes in spots like the Holden Mantz Collection and the Is Art Gallery, both handily located on the main road. Savvy locals enjoy their art with a side of caffeine, at the delightfully quirky Café des Arts, a popular pick for business meetings and casual catch ups.
You don’t need to be a car fanatic to appreciate the old, unique and interesting machines found at the Franschhoek Motor Museum, situated on L’Ormarins Wine Estate a few kilometres out of town. There, you can take a stroll through 100 years of motoring history, ogling everything from vintage models to modern classics, before sampling some of the farm’s many acclaimed wines.
Take a trot around town and experience the unrivalled beauty of the Franschhoek valley like never before. Paradise Stables offers both wine-tasting and recreational horse riding tours, perfect for both romantic dates and fun family outings.
A view from the top
Take a hike through Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve – easily one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Cape Winelands – and drink in the rugged landscape from a whole new perspective. The easily accessible Franschhoek Pass also offers up plenty of spots for photo ops, particularly at sunset, when the valley descends into spectacular shades of pink and purple.
Franschhoek’s gardens are the stuff of legend, with some of the best being showcased during the annual Open Garden show. And whilst the town’s flora is at its finest during the spring months, a walk through Franschhoek’s winding roads is rewarding at any time of the year, with bright bouganvilla, spectacular rose bushes and colourful fruit trees lining your path. The Exotic Plant Company’s orchid nursery on Moreson Wine Farm is also well worth the visit, with a stroll through its picture-perfect orchid-laden greenhouses