Day Trips, Out & About, Travel

Franschhoek Wine Tram

My mom’s 60th is coming up, so as part of the celebrations, my sister-in-law arranged a wine tasting day, on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. It was fantastic, we had so much fun spending time together as a family, tasting wines, eating, and catching up.

A second hand book store in Franschhoek - Sawdust and High Heels
Isn’t this just the cutest building to house a secondhand book store?! I just love the detail of the cash iron corbels and the tin roof.
Gorgeous Armoire in a second hand book store in Franschhoek - Sawdust and High Heels
I fell in love with this stunning armoire in the book store – if only I had place for something like this at home!

Since it was a surprise for my mom, we didn’t pre-book as we wanted her to choose the route, something that didn’t work out too well, since it is so popular! By default, we went on the ‘yellow’ route, since that was the route with the earliest available tickets. We had about an hour to kill before the bus/tram departed to we decided to go to a local pub for some early morning coffee and planning – the Elephant and Barrel Village Pub make a fantastic latte!

After that, we had just enough time to pop into a secondhand book store, something which you would struggle to keep my mom and I away from!

The Franschhoek Wine Tram - Sawdust and High Heels
The double-decker wine tram – it runs between the station in Franschhoek through Grande Provence and ends at Rickety Bridge. For the rest of the trip, you are transported between farms on a bus.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram 3 - Sawdust and High Heels
The Franschhoek Wine Tram – I love all the wood!

The route gives you 7 options of stops, at which you can stop at a maximum of 5. The bus/tram leaves every hour, so it gives you just enough time to taste some wine and explore the area before you move on.

Grand Provence - Sawdust and High Heels
Grande Provence – I just love the Cape Dutch architecture with the traditional thatch roof, French pane windows and deep green shutters – one day when I’m all grown up, I’m going to own and restore one of these! A girl can dream, right?!
Taking the tractor to the wine tasting rooms at Grande Provence - Sawdust and High Heels
Stunning views from the tractor at Grande Provence.

Our first stop was Grande Provence – and, as it turns out, this one was one of my favourites. We started out by disembarking the tram and catching a tractor-trailer up to the wine tasting rooms. The tractor took us through the most beautiful vineyards, nestled under the gorgeous blue mountains. Add to that the beautiful Cape Dutch style house with it’s traditional thatch roof and, my favourite wine of the day, their Rosé (Angels Tears) and we had a perfect experience.

They also have an art gallery, with paintings as well as sculptures and their shop stocks some interesting jams – like biltong chutney and pinotage coffee jam. For the hungry, they have a restaurant and they also offer picnic baskets – so we will definitely be going back there in the summer!

Eikehof Wine Tasting - Sawdust and High Heels
Sitting under the oaks at Eikehof, overlooking the vineyard, enjoying the wine tasting and a cheese, meat and fruit platter while the owner/winemaker and his family regale you with the farm’s, and their family’s, history.
Eikehof interior 1 - Sawdust and High Heels
The interior at Eikehof!! I mean – the wooden ceilings, the tree trunks used as beams, exposed lighting, farmhouse table with those beautifully chippy green legs, the concrete floors and those stunning greenery chandeliers – I am in love!!

The next stop was Eikehof, a private family owned farm. This stop was my other favourite. It was so special, because the winemaker/owner and his family conducted the wine tasting – the farm has been in their family since 1903 and their family has been in the area since the 1600s, when the French Huguenots originally arrived in the Cape.

They also have some of the oldest vines in the country, which they still use to produce a small amount of exclusive wines. We enjoyed the wine tasting along with a meat, cheese (from a local dairy) and fruit platter – so yummy! The view was breathtaking, we sat out the back, overlooking the vineyards, which was perfect for a lazy Sunday with family.

I’ve saved the best for last – I fell in love with the wedding venue/reception/hall area – long rustic harvest style tables, string lights, ‘chandeliers’ of greenery and proteas and pink flowers (no, I don’t know what they were!) dotted the tables. Simply stunning! Not to mention this gorgeously rusted old 1942 Ford truck resting under the ancient oak trees out back – if only it could tell me all it’s stories! I bet that they would be very interesting!

1942 Ford at Eikehof - Sawdust and High Heels
Oh, the stories this beautiful old lady could tell! I wish that she would share them with me!
Leopard's Leap - Sawdust and High Heels
Leopard’s Leap – I love the sign!

Our third stop was Leopard’s Leap. We decided to not to do any wine tasting here, but rather eat some lunch (very important when you’re spending the day wine tasting!). The restaurant was full, so if you are planning on going, my suggestion is that you book. We were very lucky that about 5 minutes after we got there, a table became available.

They are much more modern/contemporary that the other vineyards we had visited – I loved the unique lights (whisks??!! so ingenious!) and their tables were awesome, with the different size chefs knives painted on them.

Interesting lighting at Leopard's Leap - Sawdust and High Heels
I just love the unique lighting at Leopard’s Leap!

Leopard’s Leap is also very unique in the way it is set up – you grab your salads and sides at a buffet-style table, which you weigh to determine how much you pay. You then order your meat – today’s choice was free-range chicken, roast pork belly, beef neck or lamb pie. The benefit of this is that you don’t need to wait for your food, which means that we were able to eat and be ready for the next pick up within the hour. If you decide to eat at one of the other restaurants, you would generally need to skip one of the stops and spend 2 hours at that wine farm.

Leopards Leap 3 - Sawdust and High Heels
Delicious salads and homemade lemonade! Yum! You can also see the interesting table decor peeking through – definitely something that I haven’t seen before!

The salads and the sides were fantastic, I loved them all. My favourite though was the roast cauliflower and corn. The only negative was my chicken, which was a bit dry (I had the breast though, which can generally dry out very easily). However, I can say that the roast pork belly and the lamb pie were excellent – there were no complaints on that front! In fact, the family were looking to see if they would be lucky enough to score some left overs from each other – they were left disappointed!

Leopards Leap 1 - Sawdust and High Heels
Isn’t this table at Leopard’s Leap so cool?
Chamonix 1 - Sawdust and High Heels
The Chamonix wine tasting cellar – such a gorgeous setting!
View from Chamonix - Sawdust and High Heels
Relaxing on the grass in the winter sun – definitely nap time!

Next up was Chamonix, where we did a tasting of 5 different wines. No, I didn’t finish all of them, that would have had disastrous consequences! We sat in the old cellar, warm and cozy chatting with the family and just being lazy – by this time I was ready for an afternoon nap!

Once we were done, we stood (some lay) in the grassy field overlooking the mountain ranges soaking up the winter sun while waiting for our bus to pick us up again.

Sawdust and High Heels at Franschhoek Cellar
That’s me! I love the rusted metal laser cut sign at The Franschhoek Cellar.
The Franschhoek Cellar 2 - Sawdust and High Heels
The plant wall at Franschhoek Cellar – I love the cement planters with the greenery, it’s so simple but makes such a statement!
Chocolate and wine pairing at Franschhoek Cellar - Sawdust and High Heels
Chocolate and wine pairing – Yum!!

Our last stop was The Franschhoek Cellar, which was my dessert – I did the wine pairing with chocolate and my mom did the wine pairing with cheese. It was delicious and I definitely recommend making this your last stop of the day!

The Franschhoek Cellar 1 - Sawdust and High Heels
Such an ingenious way to use corks – I think that this wall is stunning!

I was intrigued by the cork covered walls (I love the ingenious way that they has created a statement wall using corks!), exposed brick and cute cement succulent planters.

It also looks like it has the most fantastic kiddies play area, so you can sit outside and eat lunch while the kiddos are entertained – I would definitely love to go back and try out the restaurant!

While we were waiting for the last bus of the day to pick us up, I managed to snap what I think is a beautiful photo of the sun setting over the tram lines, the perfect way to signal the end to a perfect day!

Sun setting over the tram lines - Sawdust and High Heels
The sunset over the tram lines was beautiful – the perfect way to signal the end of a perfect day.

So very long story short, if you are looking for a way to experience some of the best wine farms that Franschhoek has to offer, I highly recommend spending the day doing one of the tram lines! It’s an experience that both locals and tourists will enjoy immensely!

Have you done the Franschhoek tram? Which line did you do? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your experience!

4 thoughts on “Franschhoek Wine Tram

  1. Lovely! We have done the wine tram and I think we went on a similar route! We absolutely loved Eikehof too! It was by far our favourite! We unfortunately didn’t enjoy Leopards Leap (we had our kids with and they weren’t very accommodating, they wouldn’t allow our kids to play on the lawn.) wine was okay, not my favourite but I guess the mood sets the tone too. Every other farm was great and accommodated our children no problem. Our favourite for kid friendliness was definitely Franschook Cellers. Play area was fantastic and secure! We could eat ( we had lunch there) and feel secure I knowing our kids were looked after. They have dedicated child minders who call you or bring your child to you. Food was also reasonably priced for a tourist spot and portions were big. We did this Dec 2016 on the hottest day of the month, it reached 42degrees Celsius!!
    I would definitely recommend going! We might like to do it again just as adults though next time and give Leopards Leap a second chance 🙂

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