MONT ROCHELLE NATURE RESERVE
Don’t worry, Franschhoek is not that French – South Africans are also welcome. Here’s your guide to a day that starts with a mountain view, featuring chocolate and wine and ending at a motor museum.
Cost: R40 per adult; free for kids under 16. Pay beforehand at webtickets.co.za or at the gate. Contact: 083 270 7291; montrochellehiking.co.za
Pack sandwiches and a flask of coffee and drive through town and up the Franschhoek Pass to the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve at the top. There are seven hiking trails in the reserve, but you’re on holiday so choose the circular Vista Trail, which is only 2,5 km long and will take less than two hours to complete. The gatekeepers will be there from 8 am to show you the way. Spend the rest of the morning in town. Pull over at the Huguenot Monument ( 021 876 2532; museum.co.za) at the bottom of the main road and pay the entrance fee (R10 per adult and R5 per child) to see it up close. There’s also a sundial inscribed with the surnames of the original French Huguenots. If you want to learn more about the Huguenots and see interesting items like an old Bible that travelled all the way from France, visit the museum (an additional R10 per adult and R5 per child). If your kids behaved themselves during the history lesson, treat them to a chocolate tasting at De Villiers Chocolate Café ( 021 874 1060; dvchocolate.com) in the main road about 200 m from the monument. The price starts at R57 for four different blocks of chocolate – you can share among each other. Be warned: You’ll want more! Buy a slab for R32: Intense Cocoa is a must if you like dark chocolate; more adventurous chocolate fans will enjoy the cinnamon-and-chilli flavour. Enough of the sweet stuff? Head to Tuk Tuk Microbrewery ( 021 492 2207; tuktukbrew.com) across the road. It costs R52 for four 100 ml tasting glasses of their lager, dunkel, weiss and pale ale. Order a pint of your favourite – the lager is delicious (R44). They serve tapas too, but hold out if you can – you’ll have lunch on a wine farm later. Walk further up the main road and visit the art galleries and gift shops. At Tap & Cork ( 021 876 4120; tapandcork.co.za) you can taste and buy olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is not your average supermarket fare: There are lots of different flavours, like lime olive oil (R38/125 ml) and pomegranate vinegar (R51/125 ml).
Head back to your vehicle and choose from one of the 51 wine estates in the valley. (If you want to do a full day of wine tasting, come back another time and buy a ticket for the Franschhoek Wine Tram; see sidebar. The tram is not worth the money if you only have enough time to visit one farm.) Visit franschhoek.org.za for a full list of wine farms in the area, and attractions and activities on each farm. At La Bourgogne ( 021 876 3245; labourgogne.co.za) you can taste wine outside under umbrellas (from R60 per person) and order a platter (R220 for two people) while your kids play on the jungle gym. They also have a kiddies’ menu – a boerewors roll with potato wedges costs R65. Franschhoek has lots of restaurants to choose from if you’re not in the mood for a wine farm. Franschhoek Cellar ( 021 876 2086; thefranschhoekcellar. co.za) is on the main road near the entrance to town from the Paarl side. It has a playground for the kids and the menu offers a variety of dishes,