Winter’s here, and Franschhoek’s soaring peaks are now sporting that tell-tale dusting of snow so typical of the colder months. And whilst the region is perhaps best known for its summer offerings, there’s an undeniable charm about winter’s chillier climes, when the valley takes on a magical, almost ethereal air.
And while al fresco wine tastings and picnics might be off the menu come mid-July, there’s still plenty of outdoor adventure on offer for those not afraid to risk the chill. For ardent snow-seekers, there are plenty of spots in the nearby surrounds where you can treat yourself to a frosty frolic.
Here are a few of our favourite spots to get acquainted with the slushy stuff:
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
A mere 30-minute drive from Franschhoek, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is home to the majestic Jonkershoek Mountains, which serve as an ideal backdrop for winter family outings and hikes during the colder months.
The crisp winters are a magical experience and visitors are often lucky enough to see a dusting of snow on the higher mountain peaks as they explore this sprawling mountainous terrain.
There’s no better place to take in the majestic views of the Helderberg’s snowy peaks than Lourensford Wine Estate.
Wrap up warmly and take the whole family to the Red Riding Hood Deli for the perfect snowy mountain vantage point, and indulge in freshly baked goodies and hand roasted coffee as you soak up the scenery.
Should you fancy warmth of a different kind, book a wine tasting or wine pairing session at The Tasting Room. Cap the day off with a heartwarming winter lunch at The Millhouse Kitchen and delight in seasonal, rustic fare in a beautiful setting.
Take a scenic drive up Franschhoek Pass and drink in the increasingly dramatic views as you ascend. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a sprinkling of snow as you survey the breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, gorges and mountains.
Klondyke Cherry Farm
Travel a little further to Ceres’ Klondyke Cherry Farm, a working fruit farm on the outskirts of the Ceres Valley. In warmer climes, you can spend the day picking cherries, picnicking, or braaing in the shade under the pine trees.
The crisp winters bring a different, more special experience, with the farm being transformed into a snowy winter wonderland – sometimes a sprinkling on top of the mountains, but often a thick blanket covering the farm.
Enjoy a fun family outing and while away the day building snowmen and frolicking in the snow while the children revel in this rare sight.
When snowfall season begins, Matroosberg peak, the second highest in the Western Cape, is always first on the list of places to visit. Located about 30km from Ceres, it is a picturesque 3-hour drive from Cape Town.
Rev up your 4×4 to access the snow-clad mountain road, and navigate the slopes to view the panoramic surrounding mountain peaks.
Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy a ski session on the private ski slope or go ice-climbing at Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve.
The perfect place to create everlasting memories with your loved ones, Mont Rouge is situated 12 km north of Tulbagh. This working fruit farm, nestled amongst the Winterhoek Mountains, seldom disappoints the day visitor, who will be treated to breathtaking scenery of snowcapped mountain peaks.