There’s a pinch in the air and tell-tale signs of a season change on the breeze – yep, it’s becoming quite clear that summer is ready to bid us all adieu. But while you might be thinking that a holiday is a dish best served hot, think again! There’s still plenty of sunshine on offer in the Franschhoek Valley, so don’t slip into hibernation mode just yet.
Not only does the respite from summer’s sizzling climes provide welcome relief for the ardent traveller, but from March until May, we’re also treated to an eye-catching natural spectacle, as the valley’s vines prepare to shed their leaves in technicolor shades of amber and scarlet.
Autumn also sees a slight drop in the number of tourists crowding into Franschhoek’s various restaurants, cafés and vineyards, allowing savvy visitors to soak up this spectacular season unencumbered.
So if you’re planning a visit this Autumn, here are a few activities you might want to put on your list, irrespective of the weather:
Wine Pairing at La Bri
Head to the vineyards and take in the picturesque amber vistas from La Bri. Whether you’re in need of warming up or cooling down, the estate’s various pairing options are made to cater to your every need. There’s fruit, chocolate and biltong on the menu, all of which come expertly matched with some of the winery’s finest offerings.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 2593
If the weather takes a turn for the worse, Franschhoek’s many cosy art galleries are sure to provide you with ample respite. Moor Art Gallery is your perfect starting point, its wide range of original paintings and sculptures perfect to whet your cultural appetite. If you’re looking for art with a more South African flavour, head to the Vineyard Gallery, which is home to a wide range of local pieces including wildlife, landscape and township paintings.
Contact Moor Art Gallery: +27 (0)21 876 2616
Contact Vineyard Gallery: +27 (0)21 876 3301
Spa Day at Le Franschhoek
Indulgence makes sense no matter the season, and whether you’re in the mood for a scrub, a soak or a therapeutic massage, you’ll be sure to find exactly what you need at Le Franschhoek’s immaculate spa. Soak in the spectacular Autumnal vistas as you enjoy a few hours of pure bliss, and be sure to take a walk around the beautiful grounds to savour the feeling of crisp air on rejuvenated skin.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 8900
Hike it out at Mont Rochelle
Hit the trails at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, and drink in the stunning views of the valley from above. The cooler weather means you can now set off at a decent hour, and perhaps tackle a path or two that might have seemed unwise in the heat of summer. Trails range from 2 hours to full day routes, so there are ample options for hikers of all fitness levels.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 2659
Cosy dinner at French Connection Bistro
No trip to South Africa’s gourmet capital would be complete without an indulgent dining experience, and when the Autumn chill strikes, there’s plenty of comfort food to be found. Head down to the Franschhoek’s cosiest bistro and tuck into crispy roast duck, fresh mussels or one of their many mouth-watering steaks, all of which can be enjoyed with one of the valley’s finest reds alongside a roaring fire.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 4056