3 minute read
18 Oct 2013
6:00 am

Fransch connection

Conrad Flatow, manager of The Last Word Fanschhoek hotel, works and plays in Franschhoek so he is the person to ask about what to do in an area that has more than art galleries, jewellery and boutique shops to crow about.

“It is common knowledge that Franschhoek is the food and wine capital of South Africa, so it goes without saying that there are no bad restaurants here. Right now my favourite is Ryan’s Kitchen. It offers something quite unique with its interactive kitchen and table concept, designed specifically for patrons with a genuine interest in food and cooking as well as in the process of preparation.”

Phone: Ryan’s Kitchen – 021-876-4598

“Everyone who visits Franschhoek wants to visit a vineyard and they are spoilt for choice here. All are a mere five to 10 minutes from town, welcoming and easy to explore. The old wineries are legendary, so I like to promote Maison, which is one of the newest vineyards in town. In my opinion it has the best Shiraz in the valley, as well as an element of sophistication while being fun, laid-back and casual. The Kitchen restaurant is there and you’ll meet chickens, a Great Dane and Porcini the potbelly pig if you take a stroll in its lush garden.”

Phone: Maison – 021-876-2116

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“For the active, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve – with hikes and easy walks to vantage points with spectacular views – provides the perfect escape from city life. Maps and permits are in the local tourism information office in town. And wine tasting on horseback is great for those looking for something different. Paradise Stables provides trips for novice and experienced riders who visit two vineyards via the forest and back mountain pathways. This is a truly memorable half-day outing.”

Information office: 021-876-2861 / Paradise Stables: 021-876-2160

“The newest must-do activity is the wine tram. Park your car, catch the Franschoek Wine Tram and experience the Franschhoek Valley from a different perspective. You’ll wind through the valley, passing picturesque vineyards and postcard-perfect scenery. The open-sided tram stops at some of South Africa’s most distinguished wine estates where you can hop off and on at your leisure. You can choose to enjoy a wine tasting, a cellar tour, have a superb lunch or just spend time in the vineyards. Tickets include wine tasting at Rickety Bridge and Dieu Donne, as well as a welcome drink at Haute Cabrière. The tour includes commentary about Franschhoek and its 300-year-old wine-making history.”

Visit: winetram.co.za

“Be it spring, summer, autumn or winter there is always something happening in town. Can’t-miss events have to be the Literary Festival in autumn, the Bastille Festival in winter, as well as Franschhoek Uncorked and Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival in summer. Booking in advance for accommodation is strongly advised.”

Visit: franschhoek.org.za

“A hike that I recommend to ‘outdoorsy’ types and bird lovers is at La Motte Vineyard. Here, abundant birdlife, a protea garden, organic vineyards, a wealth of flora, resident mammals and reptiles and the breathtaking vistas of the Franschhoek Valley make the outing worthwhile. The circular route starts at the La Motte Tasting Room and stretches over five kilometres, with the hiking trail section covering two kilometres. It takes about two hours when walking and three hours when strolling and has a Grade 1B rating that requires a fair degree of fitness – it’s not recommended for children under the age of 10. Dogs and mountain bikes are not permitted and safe, convenient parking is available.”