Hotels in and around the Franschhoek suburb
Franschhoek is nestled in the heart of the Western Cape, South Africa. It is home to some of the most spectacular vistas and tastiest wines, acclaimed the world over for their bouquet and lingering palate. Franschhoek is also famous for its exquisite culinary delights, which are sure to satisfy the tastebuds of seasoned pros.
Franschhoek has long been considered an ideal holiday destination as it is equipped with world-class facilities and service, while maintaining its countryside hospitality and charm. Its historical value permeates every building, road and tourist attraction as the French influence is clearly discerned. While visitors get the sense of complete isolation and privacy, Franschhoek is, in fact, less than an hour's drive from the ‘Mother City', Cape Town.
Franschhoek and the area immediately around it are steeped in history. 277 French Huguenots arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, as Cape Town was known, in 1685. The Dutch government, who had control over this area of South Africa at the time, assigned them portions of land. The herds of elephants in this area were the motivation behind its former name, Oliphantshoek (Elephant's Corner). The settling of the French then meant that its name came to be Franschhoek, which translates to ‘French Corner'. These Huguenots brought with them unique skills in the making of food and wine. These cultures and traditions continue to influence the flavours of the region. However, they have been tailored by the locals to create an unbeatable, one-of-a-kind culinary experience.
Today, there still exist the original farms established by these French settlers and the story of each one. The Huguenot monument is another testimony to the lives and struggles of these, our Franschhoek forefathers, and is a tourist must.
Franschhoek is situated less than an hour's drive from Cape Town in the Western Cape. Cape Town has its own international airport, making it particularly accessible from destinations all over the world. This airport is undergoing massive renovations in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. As such, it is equipped to deal with an even larger number of flights, making access easier and less costly. Alternatively, visitors that are coming from other areas in South Africa will enjoy the scenic routes and safe roads into Cape Town.
From the other wine hotspots like Stellenbosch and Paarl, the R45 takes you into Franschhoek. Alternatively, approach this town from Villiersdorp via the awe-inspiring Franschhoek Pass.
Visitors are advised to use formal taxis or privately hired vehicles rather than the minibus taxis that are throughout the country. These vehicles are not always roadworthy. Busses and trains are not used extensively by the locals and so are rare or absent.
While in Franschhoek, the chief attraction is undoubtedly the superior wines that define this region. The wine farms alone are gorgeous, only to be topped by their rich and varied produce. Formal tours and tastings of all 40+ farms are generally conducted on request (enquire with the farms themselves, or with your tour operator).
Franschhoek has also been dubbed the “gourmet capital of South Africa”, and many of the country's best restaurants are located here. Fresh ingredients are complimented by the excellent local wines.
The mountainous surrounds make for ideal hiking trails and comfortable walks. The more adventurous may prefer to explore the terrain by bicycle or on horse-back. Nature lovers will delight in the beautiful greenery and the gorgeous landscape.
South Africa's summer extends from December to March and winter from June to August. Franschhoek is situated in the Western Cape of South Africa, and this area experiences slightly colder winters than the rest of the country. Summer temperatures range between a minimum of about 18 degrees Celsius to a high of around 30 degrees at noon. Winter lows are usually about 13 degrees Celsius and noonday highs reach approximately 18 degrees. However, because of the mountainous surrounds, this area tends to get both hotter and colder than the rest of the province. Winter is the rainy season. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Franschhoek as they are generally more comfortable and pleasant.
Franschhoek and the Western Cape are not susceptible to malaria infection. However, if you are planning to visit game parks or areas in the northern provinces as well as the Western Cape, you are advised to take anti-malarial prophylaxes after consulting with a travel clinic or doctor. Insect repellent and sunscreen are absolutely essential in South Africa, regardless of the area you are visiting or the time of year. Visitors are urged to remember their prescriptions for spectacles and medication so that they can restock at a local pharmacy, rather than having to get another prescription, at extra cost, from a doctor. It is wise to ensure that tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.