Franschhoek is a lovely little about 85km from Cape Town in mid of the wine region. It's well know for its fantastic restaurant, but has some wineries aswell. It's the place where French Huguenots settled back in the 17th century and you'll find a monument and a museum dedicated to them in town.
We've had a great lunch at "La Petite Ferme", which has a great garden with splended views over Franschhoek and the valley.
As Stellenbosch wine route can be so incredibly busy in peak tourist season why not visit Wellington wine route, also there is plenty to do in Wellington on a visit here.
We paid a visit to Diemersfontein sampling some excellent Mocha, Chocolate Pinotage amongst other fine reds (ZAR 15) for tasting. On the Diemersfontein Wine Estate they have 20 room guesthouse, garden weddings, a large dam, a top notch restaturant & tastings 7 days a week. When I sampled their award winning 2006 coffee / chocolate ppinotage the aroma when it was being poured was just like cappucino heavenly. The label carries the words "It befriends - It converts - It seduces" visit www.diemersfontein.co.za (The products are available in other countries see website for stockists)
We also went to Ashanti & sampled some excellent wines which were incredibly reasonable. They have opened a small restaurant here as well the food is homemade and satisfying. At Ashanti you can sample all their wines for free and even though in comparison to Diemersfontein the wines are suprisingly reasonable they are good quality. I enjoyed the dry rose a bottle costing only R10 and the cabernet sav was only R25.
Bovlei winery we did not visit this time but the scenery is beautiful.
When you do the Paarl wineroute, make sure that you do not miss Fairview. Not only do they make lovely wines, but they also make the most devine goats cheeses that you can test on the premises and buy there.
If you go from CT to Paarl on the N1, you take the Klapmuts turnoff just before Paarl and then turn to your left. Follow the roadmarkings.
A two bedroom, two bath, with garage attached, Villa for four, at Montagu Springs next to the hot springs is about $70 a night. Did I mention the braii area off the living room or thr balcony off the second bedroom? $3 a day pp access to springs. Bring friends!
approx two hours drive from Cape Town you will find the town of Tulbach with its well known Paddagang Winery. All the wines are named after local frogs and have drawings of frogs on their labels. The restaurant at Paddagang is excellent and should not be missed. The village of Tulbach has a lot to offer so put aside a full day to do this region
The Sante Wellness Spa is on the Simondium road between Paarl and Franschhoek and if you feel like you need spoiling for a day or more, this is the place the visit. The offer various treatments the latest being with grapes. They have a lovely big pool where you can do acquarobics or just swim at your leasure. Next to it is a jacuzzi. Then they have the wonderfull herbal showers, the sauna's etc that you can all use whilst there for the day. They offer a great lunch. So yes, take yourself there and be spoiled.
Spier estate just outside Stellenbosch is in my opinion a must on the itenery. They offer so much to the public and their cheetah outreach programme is great. Have dinner at Moyo's. Absolutely fab. See my tip on that.
Less than two hours out of Cape, the village of Montagu sits on a hot spring. It was voted 2002's most favorite village in South Africa. Winelands, hotsprings, and a friendly village, it's a hard place to go wrong.
Franschoek is an area with lush vineyards, fishing and generally is a very arty and creative place. There are quaint coffee shops with traditional recipes found along the side of the village high street, local galleries and is basically a lovely town to dawdle along in.
There are some lovely wine estates here too, which are not as commercialised as some of the Stellenbosch ones.
The language monument reminds the people to the official status of the African language. This monument exist out of grained granite that is made into concrete.
The small columns remind that the Dutch, English and several African languages are the source for the African language.
For more information and photos see my page: Paarl
You can find much more explanation about the symbolism and the idea behind this design on their website. (This is an extract from that side)
A COLONNADE of three elements to the left or west of the approach symbolizes the languages and cultures of the enlightened West. These structures, closely juxtaposed, begin at a height and diminish in size and then descend in a curve to ascend again into the main upward sweep.
A PODIUM with three semi spheres to the right, or to the eastern side of the approach, represents magical Africa with its indigenous languages and cultures, and develops into a lesser curve which joins the main upward movement.
The confluence of these two curves forms a bridge which is the base of the main hyperbola. This, rising up into space, signifies the coming into being and the development of Afrikaans.
A language and culture neither western nor African, but Malayan, is represented by a low wall in the middle third of the main steps to add to the general scale.
Together with the main column, placed in the same life-giving pool with bubbling fountain, rises a structure symbolising our Republic: free, yet encompassed by and open to Africa; free in form and reminiscent of the west, whose cultures helped to establish it. It symbolizes two languages and two mutual enriching cultures, yet one nation, facing the future with courage and resolution, deeply conscious of the presence of an Omniscient Being, guiding us to our destiny in the turmoil of our time.
The Afrikaanse Taalmonument is open daily from 9 to 5. The access turns off Main Street at the town entrance and is sign-posted.
The vineyards around Paarl, Franshoek and many other places are worth a visit. We drove to several of them, tasted the good wines and bought several bottles to finish in the evenings.
They are scattered around the area and you can go for a free taste, just drive up. If you like the wine, buy a bottle or two to drink them with your "braai".
To see the area out there, look at my Franshoek page.
This area is very attractive for hiking or relaxing and you can consider to stay a few days here.
When you do the Stellenbosch wine route, do not forget to include Zewenwacht. Many things to do. Children love feeding the ducks.
This wine estate forms part of the Franschhoek wine route. They have some lovely light wines which is very palatible. Another must visit on the wine route.
Stellenbosch is the most famous but there are many other wine areas in the same region. Montagu is one of the smaller communities with really Good local wine.