Contrary to what most people may think, autumn and winter are actually the ideal seasons to be outdoors. Sure nothing beats a clear sunny skied summers day but with the pandemic still having its grip on us, it’s best to engage in outdoor activities as much as possible. There is no doubt, a plethora of things to do in Franschhoek but I’m not only talking about wine tasting and fine dining here! Take advantage of the gorgeous Cape Winelands vistas and immerse yourself in some of the amazing Franschhoek outdoor leisure activities on offer.
I was invited by the Cape Winelands District Municipality for their annual media educational and the focus this year was on outdoor offerings. Below is a glimpse of what was on our Franschhoek itinerary for the two days. However, for a more interactive look at these Franschhoek outdoor leisure activities, pop over to my Instagram page and browse through the Reels section because video just does it more justice!
Franschhoek Outdoor Leisure Activities on Wine Farms
Boschendal Wine Farm
Let me start off with a warning, you’ll probably need more than a day to experience everything that Boschendal has to offer. This Cape Town wine farm is Franschhoek outdoor leisure activities personified and that’s exactly why I’ve kicked the list off with it! Boschendal is the perfect place for a day out with the family in Franschhoek and offers a variety of outdoor activities like MTB, running and hiking trails, horse riding, farm tours and an amazing outdoor kids’ playground.
The guided farm walking tour (which takes approximately 90 minutes to complete) offers personal insight into their regenerative farming practices and sustainable gardening while enjoying the beauty of the gardens. Only 10 guests are allowed per tour so be sure to book in advance. The Boschendal hiking, biking and running trails cater to all levels of experience – expect stunning farm scenery and unparalleled views of the Franschhoek Valley.
www.boschendal.com | Tel: +27 21 870 4200
Chamonix Wine Farm
A game drive in Franschhoek? Yes, it’s very much real and you can experience it with on-board wine tasting too! The 50 hectare Chamonix game farm has some magnificent wildlife including zebra, eland, bontebok, springbok and ostrich. These animals can all be viewed on the game drive which takes approximately 2 hours to complete including the premium wine tasting.
Arkeste by chef Richard Carstens is located on Chamonix Wine Farm in a heritage building on the edge of a forest. The outdoor setting is truly magical and sets the scene for a spectacular dining experience. On the à la carte menu you can look forward to savouring chilli salt squid, confit duck and milk tart ice cream.
Chamonix is also home to a much sought after Franschhoek accommodation – the Waterfall Lodge. Imagine having a waterfall and rock pool all to yourself right behind your self-catering cottage! There’s also their Marco Polo Lodge, Hadida Lodge, Lake Lodge and Lynx cottage to choose from if you’re looking for luxury wine farm accommodation.
www.chamonix.co.za | Tel: +27 21 876 8400
La Motte Wine Estate
If you’re searching for Franschhoek hiking trails with an epic view, then you definitely don’t have to look further than La Motte wine farm. The La Motte hiking trail is a circular route which starts at the tasting room, spans over five kilometres and takes approximately two hours to complete depending on your level of fitness. Please note, the trail has a Grade 1B rating and does require a reasonable degree of fitness and is thus not recommended for children under the age of 10. Pre-bookings via the website are essential.
La Motte is also home to the Pierneef à La Motte restaurant, named after South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. The tranquil garden setting of the outside dining area is something to savour just as much as the meal and wines you’ll be ordering. You can also book a guided Sculpture Walk Tour which will take you through all the female sculptures on the estate. The tour concludes with a tasting of the estate’s limited release La Motte Méthode Cap Classique and an sophisticated traditional French Madeleine under the age-old oak trees in La Motte’s tranquil garden.
www.la-motte.com | Tel: +27 21 876 8000
Franschhoek Wine Farms with Outdoor Dining and Tasting Options
Haute Cabrière Winery
Situated on the Franschhoek Pass you’ll find Haute Cabrière, with quite possibly the best views of the Franschhoek Wine Valley. Book a seat on the restaurant terrace and soak up the glorious views with glass of wine in hand. The tapas menu is particularly delicious; lamb rib with apricot, Asian-braised pork belly and tempura oysters are just some of the mouthwatering small plates you can look forward to enjoying. They also have a newly added brunch menu which is available every Sunday from 09:00 – 11:00 and what could be better than a glass of Franschhoek Cap Classique at breakfast to start your day!
www.cabriere.co.za | Tel: +27 21 8768500
Dieu Donné Vineyards
High on the slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains you’ll find Dieu Donné with panoramic views of Franschhoek. The tasting room terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine while overlooking the spectacular views. Alternatively, for a cosier setup you can also book a table at their Manger restaurant and enjoy equally beautiful views. Maison Montagne at Dieu Donné offers luxury boutique vineyards suites amongst merlot vineyards with picturesque views. This luxury Franschhoek accommodation offers five Provençale Vineyard Suites with sophisticated finishes.
www.dieudonnevineyards.com | Tel: +27 21 224 0667
Old Road Wine Co
This laid back Franschhoek restaurant has a variety of dining options. The Anemos Deck is perfect for sundowners with a view of the Franschhoek vineyards and mountains. The Farmyard offers lunch dining on the lawn under the trees and is quite magical in the evening as well with the fairylights draped around the garden. If things get a bit too chilly, you can head inside to the The Fatman restaurant for casual dining specialising in pizza from a artistically designed outdoor oven covered in 5 cent coins!
www.oldroadwinecompany.com | Tel: +27 21 271 0379
Luxury Franschhoek Accommodation
La Residence Hotel
Sheer opulence is the order of the day at the luxury La Residence Hotel in Franschhoek. The private 30-acre estate is surrounded by Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vineyards, olive groves and plum orchards, with a remarkable mountain setting. This luxury Cape Winelands hotel offers 11 suites and 5 Vineyard Suites ideally suited to families and groups of friends. Every single room has its own colour scheme and unique design and this is quite possibly what sets La Residence apart from the rest – the impeccable attention to detail.
The farm grows a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Their kitchen uses the produce for their seasonal menus. Weather permitting, La Residence also offers gourmet picnics and live music on their lush green lawns – keep an eye on their social media pages for updates.
www.theroyalportfolio.com/la-residence | Tel: +27 21 876 4100
For something a bit more down to earth yet still luxurious, the newly added Lynx wine farm suites and doubles rooms are the perfect Franschhoek accommodation option. The 9 rooms offer modern amenities and stylish finishes with an en-suite bathroom and private lounge suite with gorgeous mountain and vineyard views. You can also relax at the pool or do an in-house wine tasting.
Lynx estate has just launched a pop-up restaurant where you can look forward to savouring chicken and prawn curry, West Coast mussels and Jalapeño poppers by Head Chef Marvin and his team! The restaurant is open from 12:00 – 16:00 from Friday to Sunday and has an outside dining option available.
www.lynxestate.com | Tel: +27 21 867 0406
Explore Franschhoek in Winter
You’ll be pleased to know that Boschendal, Chamonix, Haute Cabrière, Dieu Donné and Lynx wine estate are all on the Franschhoek Wine Tram routes which makes them even more exciting to visit. All of the above Franschhoek wine farms follow strict social distancing protocols – please ensure that you wear your mask and sanitize upon entry as well as adhere to all rules displayed to ensure the safety of everyone.