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Stellenbosch and Fraenschhoek (1st visit)

Stellenbosch and Fraenschhoek (1st visit)

Old Feb 7, 19, 2:44 pm
  #1  
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Stellenbosch and Fraenschhoek (1st visit)

Have a trip to ZA coming up quite soon (in about four weeks) and somehow I haven't comprehensively planned the three days I'd like to spend in the Winelands. In no particular order, interests are old towns and architecture, food and wine, and scenery/nature.

For a first visit, do you think it makes sense to stay nights one and two in Fraenschhoek (looking at the Protea there) and night three in Stellenbosch?

The thing is, I'm not really comfortable with left-hand driving. Also not comfortable driving after a drinking even small amounts of alcohol.

From this forum, I found out in an older thread that Uber and Rikki's taxi are reasonably cost-effective options to get from Cape Town (city centre) to Fraenschhoek and Stellenbosch.

But I'm unsure how difficult it will be to get around (e.g., to and from wine estates) without a rental in Stellenbosch and Fraenschhoek. Also, I'm sure I can get taxis or a driver to and from Cape Town, but what about the relatively short distance between Fraenschhoek and Stellenbosch?

And one last question: I'll be travelling solo for this part of the trip. I am aware of safety practices to follow in Cape Town. Should one follow the same practices in those smaller towns in the winelands or are those considered "safe"?

Those were quite a few questions. Thanks for any suggestions even on a subset of them.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 3:18 am
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Hello! I think I may be able to help, as we've done S'bosch and F'hoek annually for the last 3 years ... and are returning to both (+ Hermanus) in November!

I have 3 fairly comprehensive Trip Reports you might like to peruse at your leisure. They all involved several days in F'Hoek and S'bosch. Of the 2 locations, we would be tempted to recommend spending more time in S'bosch - it has 'more', and is easily walkable everywhere. Plenty of architecture, museums, botanical garden, restaurants and bars. Never had any concerns about personal safety, albeit that we don't go walking about late at night! F'hoek is nice, but for us it doesn't really offer a lot to see and do - on the last trip we just popped in for a couple of hours, and otherwise just stayed in our [quite luxurious] hotel by the pool!

2016 - BA in Club World to the Western Cape
2017 - Eating South Africa
2018 - BA to The Western Cape - 3 Towns in 2 Weeks

We used Rikki's on our first trip, and were well pleased. However, in 2017 we ended up being booked by our hotel in S'bosch with a local driver to take us to F'hoek. Cheaper and very efficient - we have used Adriaan ever since for all our 'inter-town' travels. I'll PM his details to you.

On that note, most hotels will be able to arrange wine trips etc. with a local driver. It's a local industry, after all!

Feel free to come back with more questions ... that's what FT is about, after all!
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Old Feb 8, 19, 3:38 am
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T8191,

Thanks for the info as well as your PM, this is very helpful! Will def incorporate some of your suggestions and check out the trip reports.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 4:42 am
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In view of your concerns about driving, I would consider an organised tour.

Last year (and in 2009 when I previously visited) I used Easy Rider Wine Tours (https://winetour.co.za) who I'd highly recommend:

- very knowledgeable, personable guide (you essentially get the guy who owns the company, and he'll happily spend time giving you personal recommendations - if you remotely like port, go for the one he suggests from Simonsig which is superb for what is a relatively high volume producer),
- small group tours in a minibus
- good selection of wineries
- decent lunch with alcohol

They're probably also a bit cheaper than the norm, so in my case I didn't find anything not to like!
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Old Feb 9, 19, 8:35 am
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Also, look at this: Hopping from wine farm to wine farm with the Franschhoek Wine Tram - Cape Town My Love

Maybe they could suit your needs for a day's outing?
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Old Feb 9, 19, 10:29 am
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The Wine Tram runs past the end of the garden of our regular F’hoek hotel. It seems popular, but we’ve never been seriously tempted. Happy to drink the end product, though!

Seriously, I have a reasonable idea of what happens, and how they do it. I just don’t feel the need to look at it first-hand.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 11:14 am
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Trip to remember was 2017 2 weeks tour of SA. If you have the time, highly recommend The Spier Hotel (spier.co.za). Phenomenal grounds w/ onsite restaurant, wine tasting, museum, walking trails (with video guide). And don't miss tabletop mountain;-). Enjoy.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 11:43 am
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My commercials are in my Trip Reports!,

But I do accept it’s a minefield for a first-timer down there. So much choice ... and of course we don’t really know about the potential user (budget, desires, energy, alcohol limits!). We struck lucky on our first trip Down There, and have never looked back ... just keep doing pretty much the same, as it all hit our sweet spot.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 8:43 pm
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Also, look at this: Hopping from wine farm to wine farm with the Franschhoek Wine Tram - Cape Town My Love

Maybe they could suit your needs for a day's outing?
Yes indeed, a very good idea if you want to sample many wines when one doesn't know which estates to spend time/visit considering the huge choice offered in Franschloek!
Also, they can organise transfers at fixed rate to/from your Cape Town hotel/accomodation. I need to check how much it was from city centre in 2017...
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
My commercials are in my Trip Reports!,

But I do accept itís a minefield for a first-timer down there. So much choice ... and of course we donít really know about the potential user (budget, desires, energy, alcohol limits!). We struck lucky on our first trip Down There, and have never looked back ... just keep doing pretty much the same, as it all hit our sweet spot.
During my recent trip down to CPT, and my first visit to both Stellenbosch and Franschoek, I managed to try some of the dining places visited by T8191 (Thank you!) - and I can certainly recommend them. Oppie Dorp was very good - and most important very reasonably priced. Depending on the weather, you will certainly need to make a reservation for a table out in the open.
Both towns are worth a couple of days with lots of history and attractions.

As for those wanting to do the Wine Tram - I would actually go for it. It is a great day trip visiting the different winery. I can assure you that even if you have to pay for your tasting session, some of them are more than generous in the tasting size. I was a bit late for my booked line, but it was not an issue to get on the next available line (subject to availability). Ended up meeting with some 'crazy' fun people that we just went together the whole day - a mix of Dutch, English and a couple from J'burg - making it one of the most interesting wine day tour that I've taken.

For accommodations - I would recommend to try and find a local/boutique B&B. There's not much chain hotel - I stayed the Protea Dorphuis - which was ok - but certainly not worth the value.

I just hope that the region will receive some rain since it seems like the water shortage situation seems to be quite bad.

Cheers!
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Old Feb 21, 19, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by nldogbert View Post
As for those wanting to do the Wine Tram - I would actually go for it. It is a great day trip visiting the different winery. I can assure you that even if you have to pay for your tasting session, some of them are more than generous in the tasting size. I was a bit late for my booked line, but it was not an issue to get on the next available line (subject to availability). Ended up meeting with some 'crazy' fun people that we just went together the whole day - a mix of Dutch, English and a couple from J'burg - making it one of the most interesting wine day tour that I've taken.
That sums it all up!

Also I managed to retrieve the email about transsfer:

The Full Tour & Transfer is our latest product that includes direct pick-up from any location in Cape Town, Strand, Stellenbosch or Paarl and a drop-off once the tour is complete (either the same day or later in the week). The transfer is exclusive to each booking and not a shared group transport. You will also get collected at the specific address provided by you. The price for this excluding the tour is +/-R550.00 per person within the designated Zone. We advise a pick-up time of one and a half hours before your Franschhoek Wine Tram departure time for guests travelling from Zone 1. We also offer group discounts on the Transfer option.
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Old Feb 22, 19, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by nldogbert View Post
I just hope that the region will receive some rain!
At the moment Franschhoek is surrounded and threatened by raging wildfires. Over 6,000 hectares have already gone up in flames.

That's a bit ironic, because Franschoek is statistically the second wettest place in South Africa, with a mean annual rainfall of just under 2,000 mm (almost 79").

Johan

Johan
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Old Feb 22, 19, 2:28 pm
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OMG!

Save the vines, and our hotel! We were just discussing a possible extra trip to F’hoek next year (March)
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Old Feb 22, 19, 2:55 pm
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We are just back from ten days in the area. we had lunch on two occasions at Delaire Graf Hotel and restaurant. There are two restaurants so we tried both. Members of our group thought that it would be a wonderful place to stay. The location is superb, the winding uphill entrance drive is beautiful and the building and its grounds are so cool.
But it is a bit isolated, between Stellenbosch and F'hoek and for some that is its charm. It is also not cheap!
If you have the time, go for lunch.
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