Franschhoek is one of the oldest towns in South Africa. The valley was originally settled in 1688 by 176 French Huguenot refugees, many of whom were given land by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek (‘Elephants Corner’), so named because of the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. The name of the area then changed to le Coin Français (‘the French Corner’), and later to Franschhoek (Afrikaans for ‘French Corner’), with many of the settlers naming their new farms after the areas in France from which they came.
The town's heritage is shown today by the Huguenot Monument which stands at the end of the town. The nearby museum chronicles the history of the first settlers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell. The Cape Dutch architecture in much of the village is unspoiled.
Franschhoek is renowned for having some of the top restaurants in the country within its quiet borders. This fact, together with the strong wine culture, and pristine natural and architectural beauty has made Franschhoek what many describe as the "food and wine capital" of South Africa.
10 Things We Recommend You Do
Experience the valley's finest wines on a half or full-day tour of the wineries. Wine passports are available providing discounts at certain wineries or tailor-made tours can be arranged through Winelands Experience
Sample one of Franschhoek's infamous gourmet meals at Le Bon Vivant, Grande Provence, Mange Tout at Mont Rochelle, Roca Dieu Donné, Haute Cabrière or Reubens.
Learn about the town's unique past by visiting the Huguenot Memorial Museum, Museum van der Caab at Solms Delta, and/or taking a historical tour of Franschhoek with a qualified guide.
Hire a mountain bike and explore the wineries, back roads and mountains or take a more relaxing trip up the mountains and stop for a picnic at the top using the wine bus.
Explore the region's amazing flora and fauna by hiking at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. Permits are available from Winelands Experience.
Tempt the taste buds with a chocolate tasting at Huguenot Fine Chocolates - a half hour chocolate tour, history of chocolate, chocolate-making demonstration, and tasting. Best to book in advance.
Especially for the younger visitors, take a trip just outside the valley and visit Butterfly World, Drakenstein Lion Park and Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
For the gentleman, stop by the Motor Museum at L'Ormarins to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with a unique collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia.
And for the ladies, perhaps a spa experience at Pearl Valley Golf Estate Spa or Holden Manz Wine Estate & Wellness Spa
Shop to your heart's content in and around the village - jewellery, handicrafts, artwork, fine food, ceramics, furniture, fashion, antiques, and of course, wine.
Feel free to use download and print the maps shown below (produced by Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism)
Franschhoek Food & Wine Route
Franschhoek Cap Classique Route
Franschhoek Artisan Food Route
There’s no better way to see the Winelands and beyond than to experience it with Winelands Experience.
Click on the logo to find out about their wine tours, scenic and special interest tours, chauffeur drives, car rental and Cape Town Airport transfers.