Need a short stay to recharge and find new energy? I did and Franschhoek topped my list because of their latest wine tourism product – the Wine Tram. We booked self-catering accommodation and lunch, packed a bag and started the Mini Cooper’s engine!
Self catering accommodation was found online. We stayed at the poorly signposted yet reasonably priced Franschhoek Country Cottages where zebra, springbok and gemsbok grazed a few meters from the sundowner porch at the back of the cottage.
Saturday morning we head to town for breakfast at the vibey Sacred Ground a few steps from the Franschhoek wine tram’s departure point. Trying to book wine tram tickets provided some challenge. There was a computer system glitch. After a wait and losing some friends to coffee shops we established that there was no space for our group. Plan B was quickly conceived as Franschhoek offers many opportunities. We visited Haute Cabriere, where we often passed but never stopped. The group had a special treat poured from a magnum Haute Cabriere Pinot noir 2004 followed by a swift cellar tour.
With an appetite for lunch we drove to the other side of Franschhoek for a bite at Leopard’s Leap. The very economical Leopard’s Leap Lookout range and wine cocktails provide good reason to linger longer. Here a bottle of wine costs as little as glass in any other restaurant. Salads were weighed and accompanied a choice from the rotisserie meat menu.
Between wining and dining there are great shopping to be done in Franschhoek and my favourite Masquerade did not disappoint.
Sunday breakfast was enjoyed at the tranquil Cafe Bon Bon situated close to the Hugenot Monument. Here it feels as if you are indeed sitting in France. Recharged with good coffee and a cheesy omelette we were ready for the wine tram and the wine tram was finally ready for us. The tram worked like clockwork with friendly, well presented staff providing outstanding service. Steyn was our first guide. He invited everyone boarding the red route tram to enjoy the trip, tended to safety regulations and helped parents with their children’s strollers. Our best stops were at Chamonix where Natalia was accommodating and Rickety Bridge where Fennel shared his extensive winemaking knowledge. Dieu Donne disappointed with poor service and litter on the lawn in front of the tasting room from a party the night before. We had no time to stop at Grande Provence and I regretted this when I saw tweets about 2 leopards visiting.
After our 2 day break we feel inspired and ready to return to Franschhoek to try the wine tram’s blue route and enjoy more of the French Corner’s hospitality.