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This self-guided tour is a great way to spend 14 days riding around the best motorcycle region in South Africa. Envisage your exotic adventure, your wilderness getaway in South Africa to rediscover some of the most beautiful places, amazing traditions, and majestic wildlife. Focusing on farm and lodge stays, you will ride along miles and miles of the Atlantic shore of the West Coast, passing villages, wineries, and natural reserves, making this an authentic motorcycle adventure for you to take on. Join this motorcycle tour and spend an unforgettable and exciting time on the road!
During this tour, you will stay in twin shared accommodation in various three-star lodges, farms, and camp along the route, as follow:
Each A-frame chalet is built from stone, timber and thatch. It features rustic décor with handmade furniture and wood finishes. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen and the bathroom includes a shower. Breakfast is available on request and private barbecue facilities are available at each chalet. Ko Ka Tsara provides barbecue packs and salads on request. Be sure to order yours upon arrival. The bar serves a good selection of South African wines.
Starting on the Atlantic shore is the Cape West Coast, an untamed region that stretches from Cape Town in the south to the border of the arid Northern Cape Province. The West Coast is synonymous with incredible food, lovable communities, tiny fishing boats, icy cold water, fields of flowers and idyllic scenery. Here, miles and miles of pristine beaches vie for space with sleepy fishing villages, bespoke wineries, and nature reserves filled with riotous wildflowers.
The tour, which focuses on farm and lodge stays, continues to Sutherland, home to southern Africa’s largest telescope, where you can experience stargazing as never before. Passing through Fraserburg, one of the most authentic and well preserved Karoo towns remaining in South Africa, on to the Karoo National Park before heading south again through Barrydale, located between two extremes.
On the one side is the beautiful and fertile Tradouw Valley and on the other side you are faced with the stark and semi-arid Klein Karoo. The last stop is Franschhoek for the ultimate wine experience before returning to Cape Town.
Upon arrival in Cape Town, you will meet your riding companions at The Green Elephant Backpackers, in the lively suburb of Observatory. Observatory, or Obs for short, is considered to be bohemian and alternative, where the people are unconventional and free-and-easy. Back in the bad-old apartheid days, Observatory was one of the few suburbs where people of all races could live together. Obs continues to be accepting of people of all colors and persuasions, making it a comfortable place to be for local and international visitors.
Your first day is free to acclimatize to sunny Cape Town. You may like to visit the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood on Signal Hill (also called the Malay Quarter). Here, you will hear the stories of the Cape Malay slaves of the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as their descendants who built this district. As well as taking in the panoramic view of all Cape Town.
At about 9.30 a.m., you will be collected from The Green Elephant to collect bikes, make sure you understand yours and are satisfied with it.
Head off via Kloof Neck, passing Camp’s Bay and along magnificent rocky coast line past Llandudno to Hout Bay with its picturesque yacht and fishing harbour. Across the bay, you will be able to trace Chapman’s Peak Drive, literally dug into the sheer rock cliff hundreds of meters above the sea.
Enter the Table Mountain National Park, pass a memorial cross to Bartholomew Diaz who first landed at the Cape and then to Cape Point itself where a knife edge walk from the old to the new light houses affords some of the finest photo opportunities you will ever have. When dining in the open, do not let the baboons steal your lunch from your hand!
Do not forget to take a group photo where the two oceans meet at the Cape of Good Hope. Returning to Cape Town on the False Bay (eastern) side of the Peninsula stop at Boulder’s Beach near Simonstown to view the penguins, have a brief look at Groot Constantia (the oldest wine farm in South Africa with magnificent old Cape Dutch style buildings) and pass the world famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens before heading north to Paternoster.
Leaving Cape Town on the R27 coastal road through Milnerton, you should stop for the famous picture of Table Mountain from across the bay. Along the R27, a visit to Yzerfontein is worthwhile where a small harbor supports the local fishing fleet. Take a day to explore the area of waters of Saldanha Bay, Langebaan Lagoon, Churchhaven, Postberg Nature Reserve flowers, Velddrif and Laaiplek fishing harbours, Dwarskersbos, Cape Columbine on your way to Paternoster. The seaside village of Saldanha and its picturesque harbour is dominated by the fishing industry.
From the harbor, ride inland along Dias Road, turning right into Sea Bride Street, and left at the T-junction into Windhoek, and then right into Panorama Ride, uphill to a wonderful view point, where you can see the lagoon stretch away from you. Explore from Saldanha to Postberg, leaving Saldanha on Camp Street along the north shore of the bay, passing a caravan park on the shore of the lagoon to your right. Camp Street veers right and reaches a major railway crossing.
Roughly eight kilometers later, take a right into Languna Sands Street, and then a left to pass the Laguna Mall, following this road alongside the lagoon. On the lagoon front, you will pass Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and the well-known Strandloper Restaurant (famous for its sundowner seafood-on-the-shore dinners and lunches). At the T-junction with Oostewal Road take a right and ride through Langebaan, turning left into Sunbird Ride and then right into Park Street. Enter the West Coast National Park from the Langebaan entrance.
It is a 44-minute ride from Langebaan to the little seaside hamlet of Churchhaven, around the bottom end of the Langebaan lagoon - a focal point of the reserve. Thousands of migrant seabirds and waders use these beaches and salt marshes, and sunset in particular, is an unforgettable sight as thousands of birds stream home for the night.
Continuing from Postberg to Dwarskersbos, retrace your route back to Langebaan via Churchhaven, using Ostewal Road until it intersects with the R27. Take a left to Velddrif (roughly 90 kilometers) and Laaiplek (the two are virtually indistinguishable); both lie at the mouth of the Berg River as it meets the Atlantic, an area that has always been about fishing. Head down Bokkom Laan along the Berg River edge for picturesque cottages, fisheries and bunches of bokkems or Cape herrings hanging up to dry.
Now, ride to the opposite end of town, to Laaiplek at the harbour where fishing teams come in off the ocean to offload their fish straight into fridge vans for factories or market. From Laaiplek, head up Jameson Street, which becomes Main Road, to Dwarskersbos (10 kilometers). Take a left down Iris Street to the beach - a lovely spot to walk, swim or eat a picnic lunch.
From Dwarskersbos to Cape Columbine, head back to Laaiplek, turning left out of Jameson Street into Voortrekker and right to cross the Berg River Bridge (note the salt pans alongside you). Take a right into the R399 towards Vredenburg and Saldanha. Roughly 10 kilometers later, take a right for St Helena Bay. Continue through Paternoster to reach Cape Columbine and its lighthouse. Then maybe head to Tietiesbaai for a swim! The choice is yours. End today’s journey in Paternoster.
Head to Vanrhynsdorp to go exploring. You may choose from either of the short tours below once you arrive at Vanrhynsdorp.
Take the 182-kilometer circular route from Vanrhynsdorp to the coast and back. From Vanrhynsdorp, take the N7 to Klawer, and visit the Klawer wine cellar. From Klawer, drive to Vredendal, famous for its flowers and wine. Continue to Lutzville with more wine cellars and then on to the flowers at Standfontein and Doringbaai, on the coast. Not only do you go through the beautiful Olifants River Vallery, a rich wine, fruit and vegetable farming area, but get to enjoy the quiet beaches along the coast.
A great day trip from Vanhynrensdorp is to Nieuwoudtville. Drive 52 kilometers over the awe inspiring Van Rhyns Pass, to Nieuwoudtville, the bulb capital of the world and visit the flower reserves and farms for amazing floral carpets. This beautiful tarred pass forms part of the R27 between Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville and was originally built and designed by Thomas Bain. It is just under nine kilometers in length and climbs 595 meters to summit at 825 meters ASL, producing an average gradient of 1:15 with the steepest sections being at 1:12.
Take the R357 north out of town, and visit the Nieuwoudtville Falls, the Quiver Tree Forest at Gannabos, a private farm, where trees grow to 400 years old and produce vivid yellow flowers in May, June, and July, as they have been doing for many thousands of years. This forest is spectacular at sunset. Further on, Loeriesfontein has a rather interesting windmill museum. Other flower areas on private farms are also accessible for a small fee, so pop in at the local tourism office for directions.
En-route to Clanwilliam, take the two-hour trip on the R364, just the other side of Nieuwoudtville, and drive this gravel, back road for 150 kilometers, over Botterkloof and Pakhuis passes, for an unforgettable experience. The Clanwilliam area offers you an excellent flower experience that can be enjoyed riding south from Clanwilliam. You will pass the Klawer Cellars en-route from Vanrhynsdorp, so make a stop.
You may be interested in a trip to Oudrif, which may only be approximately 50 kilometers from Clanwilliam over the Pakhuis Pass, but when you get there, you will feel like you are hundreds of miles away from any form of civilization. For a start, there is no mobile reception and because everything runs on solar power and gas, there are no plug points so you cannot charge any of your electronic devices. It is pure escapism and not surprising that most of their guests return time and time again.
Two days are spent at the famous Aquila Private Game Reserve. Riding today, you will find the main roads of the Cederberg are tarred but many of the attractions of this mountain area are on gravel roads. From Clanwilliam, take Ou Kaapse Road to Graafwaterweg and follow N7 and R303. Turn left after 28 kilometers and follow R46 to Touws River. The lodge will be on your right. Riding there stop off at De Tol Farm Stall, located about six kilometers from Citrusdal on the Piekenierskloof Pass. The beautiful farmhouse boasts a terrific farm stall and a small eatery where absolutely everything is homemade.
Or, spend some time in the Baths in Citrusdal and get a taste of how things were done in yesteryear! This hot water spring was established in 1739 and boasts two swimming pools; one hot and one cold surrounded by rocks. Maybe, walk the Sevilla Rock Art Trail in the Cederberg. You can expect to see ten rock art sites along this four-kilometer route with hundreds of paintings.
The following morning, enjoy a combo safari combining a two or three-hour game ride in an open safari vehicle and a one-hour-and-a-half horseback or quad bike outride, tasty buffet breakfast and lunch. No experience is necessary. The quad bike safari day tour involves roughing it up within the 10,000 hectare conservancy of Aquila Game Reserve. The Aquila quad bike safari day tour is a firm favorite. But the choice is yours!
Today, you head to Sutherland, home to Southern Africa Large Telescope known as SALT. Some of the things to do are the Sterland Stargazing and the Sutherland Museum. Do not take the road less traveled (the first turn off to Sutherland that you see when you are driving back up the N1 from Laingsburg), it has loads of potholes plus it is not called “sheep country” for nothing!
From Touws River, head east to Matjiesfontein before turning north to Sutherland. Be aware that in Sutherland the shop closes at 2 p.m. on a Saturday and does not open on a Sunday and Sutherland’s little petrol station only opens after church at 11 a.m. and then closes again at 1 p.m.
Remaining in the Northern Cape, you pass through Fraserburg, one of the most authentic and well preserved Karoo towns remaining in South Africa. The only tarred road into Fraserburg snakes over the Nuweveldberge via the Teekloof Pass from Leeu Gamka. All other roads into the town are gravel, connecting Fraserburg with the distant towns of Sutherland, Loxton, Carnarvon and Williston. Fraserburg sits astride the high Nuweveld Plateau and can be blisteringly hot in summer and very cold in winter.
As with most of the towns and villages of the Western Upper Karoo, the local economy is sheep farming, traveling along the gravel roads in the district, one can often not see any sign of habitation for miles around. Turn south east on to the N1 for the two night stay in the Karoo National Park.
As you ride through the small Karoo towns looking for a piece of biltong, a tsatske to take home, or a loo stop, they could look a little bleak to the untrained eye. The poverty, the occasional litter, the faded glory of grand old buildings left to their own devices. Stroll around the historic old towns before heading out and see its heritage and history all the way. Stop at quirky pubs and delis meeting some of the friendliest local residents you could ever hope to meet on your travels. There are wide open spaces for bikers and landscape lovers with a good, quiet road with minimal traffic. You will feel a sense of being in an undiscovered territory.
Included in your tour are activities at the Ko-Ka Tsara bush camp, including day and night game rides in an open 4x4 vehicle with an experienced guide, hiking trails, or birdwatching in the bird hide. You can relax around the swimming pool or in the central lounge area.
Traveling from Sutherland towards Prince Albert there is tarmac for about 10 kilometers, the rest is gravel, about 110 kilometers. The Roseberg Pass south to Prince Albert is rugged gravel scenery, beginning with a 1 in 12 drop descending to a virtually flat wide open plains of the Karoo. There are sharp bends with no barriers and steep drops, where it is advisable to stay below 30 kilometers per second.
Take a coffee at Prince Albert where you would be surprised at how many artists, designers, and crafters live and work in Prince Albert, at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. It is ringed by vineyards and fruit and olive farms.
The nearby 19th-century Swartberg Pass runs through Swartberg Nature Reserve and has dramatic mountain views. The reserve is dotted with caves featuring San rock art. Lunch is at Die Hell along the Swartburg Pass, between Calitzdorp and Prince Albert. Swartzburg Pass has to be one of the most iconic gravel roads in South Africa, holding almost pilgrimage status to gravel-road devotees. It winds through 37 kilometers of rugged mountain scenery, culminating in the vertigo-rush, single-width Elands Pass, and terminates in the Gamkaskloof - reminiscent of a lush oasis and paradoxically nicknamed Die Hel (The Hell).
The average speed is around 25 kilometers per second, with landmarks such as the Schotlzkloof Waterfall for photo opportunities. Cross the small Wapadsberg Pass and head west through three side ravines, each providing different perspectives of the Upper Kloof.
Between the 11th to the 20th kilometer of the Swartzbyrg is a nine-kilometer long section featuring Oom Koos se Klip and the second of the small passes - the Kariegasberg Pass. From the 20th to the 25th kilometer is a five-kilometer long section features the trickiest of all the small passes - the Waterkloofrivier Pass, which has some extremely tight hairpins and fabulous scenery.
From the 25th to the 28th kilometer is the shortest section of only 3.5 kilometers, but it is packed with great scenery and includes two small passes - The Kangoberg and Huisrivier passes. From the 28th to the 32nd kilometer has the best view sites along the upper kloof and covers the entire climb out to the summit of the Elands Pass as well as the smaller Botes Nek Pass.
From the 32nd to the 35th kilometer is the highlight of the journey as you ride down the upper half of the awe-inspiring Elands Pass with its multiple hairpins, dizzying drop-offs and narrow width. From the 35th to the 37th kilometer are the last four hairpins and the final descent down into Die Hel where lunch is recommended. From the 37th to the 43rd kilometer is an almost level ride westwards down the valley, crossing the river many times and ends at the Fonteinplaas guest farm.
Sweeping back towards the west, your journey takes you to The Tradouw Pass (which means Women’s Path in the old Khoi language) a 16-kilometer ride through some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery on offer in the Langeberg. It joins the towns of Barrydale and Swellendam and was originally built by Thomas Bain.
Today is filled with the amazing views of the Route 62. Travelling on Route 62 is a quiet journey where you can ride for ages and it feels like you own the road, which is in rather good condition. There is no one else around to argue with you on that. And when a truck does come barrelling over the horizon, the driver parps loudly and you wave madly, and you just know he was thinking the same thing: ‘I’m the King of this Road’.
Do not forget to make a pit stop at Ronnie's Sex Shop, so named after a joke played on the owner. A group of friends, their pranks, and casual suggestions are what led to the establishment of the famous pub in the Little Karoo known as Ronnie’s Sex Shop. Now the bar, with its provocative title and graffiti, is a popular, colourful stop on Route 62 with both locals and international visitors.
Completely closed off from the rest of the world on its eastern flank by the Franschhoek Mountains, the town of Franschhoek is accessible via only two routes: Route 45 from either Stellenbosch or Paarl, or south-east of Franschhoek via the Franschhoek Pass from Villiersdorp. The Franschhoek Pass, also known as Lambrechts Road, follows the path of least resistance along the Middagskransberg, tracing the northern edge of the Franschhoek Mountains between the Wemmershoek Mountains and the Franschhoek Valley.
The Pass is one of the more heart-stopping of the passes for views and vistas of the surrounding valleys, gorges and mountains, particularly the drop down to the Franschhoek River from the summit. This would be the recommended route from Franschhoek back to Cape Town. %Leaving the R45 take the R321 through miles of fruit farms to Grabouw, followed by the N2 to Hermanus. From Hermanus to Cape Town is approximately two hours by bike taking the R44. Upon arriving in Cape Town return your bikes before being transferred back to your hotel.
Today is the last bike riding day, although this marks the end of the tour, please do not rush off, there are many local attractions not to be missed. Or catch up on your gift shopping at the V&A Waterfront.
As you drop off the bikes and equipment and exchange pics and emails, your tour will have come to an end unless you have pre-booked another experience with Harley’s Safaris. You are guaranteed to take home loads of awesome photographs and fond memories of South Africa the warm people you have met. After returning your motorcycle, you will be transferred to you to your hotel where you can enjoy a final dinner celebrating the last 14 days of amazing riding.
Airport transfers can be arranged for your convenience or an onward journey with Harley’s Safaris if you have pre-booked.
Please note that the distances noted above are distances directly to the accommodation. The minimum mileage from and to overnight accommodation is 1,787 kilometers / 1,110 miles, however, some days allow for an additional +/-200 miles sightseeing.
Kindly also note that you need to be 25 years or older to hire a motorbike, however, you can travel as a pillion passenger on the bike.
Harley Safaris does not offer activities such as lion cub petting, walking with the lions, riding elephants, or riding ostriches as these activities may be associated with canned/trophy hunting and/or animal abuse. You are encouraged to practice responsible tourism and not get lured into such tourist traps that ultimately harm animals.
During your stay in Aquila Private Game Reserve, you will get to go on Aquila combo safari. The safari combines a 2 to 3-hour game ride in an open safari vehicle and a 1.5-hour horseback or quad bike outride, tasty buffet breakfast, and lunch. Horseback safaris are alongside horseback safari specialists, who will demonstrate and show you the wild facts of this region.
Slow walks across the plains or cantering at full throttle are options dependant on the skills of the other riders in the group. No experience is necessary. The quad bike safari day tour involves roughing it up within the 10,000 hectare conservancy of Aquila Game Reserve. The Aquila quad bike safari day tour is a firm favorite. For both the quad bike and horseback safari, guests must be 16 years and older and not weigh more than 95 kilograms.
This tour will take place in several locations in South Africa, starting and ending in Cape Town.
Cape Town - Melkbosstrand - Darling - Saldanha Bay - Paternoster - Muisbosstorm - Elands Bay - Vanhynrensdorp - Clan William - Citrusdal - Touws River - Sutherland - Fraserburg - Karoo National Park - Roseberg Pass - Prince Albert - Swartberg Pass - Calitzdorp - Barrydale - Tradouw Pass - Franschhoek - Hermanus - Cape Town
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, sandwiched between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening dark waters of Table Bay, Cape Town is in a class of its own with its bustling harbor, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna.
Melkbosstrand is a coastal village with seven kilometers of white sand beach, popular with surfers. It is with just over 17,000 inhabitants, 35 kilometers north of Cape Town.
Churchhaven is a small fishing village, with a smattering of restored, white-washed fisherman's houses, and a few more recently built homes.
St. Helena Bay, Shelley Point, and Britannia Bay have, over the years, become holiday resort satellites, filled with modern homes with sea views, many available for hire. But initially, this would have been solely fishermen's cottages, the harbor, and the succession of fish-processing factories that still remain.
Elands Bay started out as a crayfish town and never really expanded into anything more. A careful dusting from the tourism industry brought with it one hotel; together with three crayfish factories, its buildings are the largest in town. The rest are simple holiday homes and flats, a restaurant, and two cement-floored corner cafés with names hand-painted on their walls.
The obvious attraction in town is surfing. They call it the Left Break and the waves here are not only big, but consistent too. Laid-back surfers from all over the country crash in the backpacker dorms during summer and spend all day in the water, perhaps breaking for an afternoon beer.
Vanrhynsdorp is located at the edge of the Nama Karoo, an area of semi-desert succulent vegetation. The mountains around the town were populated by the San people, a group of late Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Examples of rock art exist dating from this period exist in the area.
Clanwilliam is one of the ten oldest towns in South Africa, well-known for being the Rooibos capital of the world. Enjoy a cuppa at The Rooibos Teahouse at Net Mar, the only tea house of its kind in the world. Have an hour-long tea tasting where you can smell, taste and drink five different teas of your choice.
Clanwilliam offers the magnificent Ramskop Wildflower Reserve, next to the Clanwilliam Dam. A wonderful day trip from Clanwilliam is the 140 kilometers round trip to the Biedouw Valleyand Wuppertal. Not only are the flowers awesome, but Wuppertal is a village lost in time and an experience itself.
Citrusdal is a town of 5,000 people in the Olifants River, situated at the base of the Cederberg mountains. Agriculture in the area is dominated by citrus fruit farming, hence the town's name. Natural hot water springs occur in the area.
Aquila Private Game Reserve nestles in a big five, malaria-free game reserve which is 4,510-hectare private nature reserve, rich in Khoi-San and Boer War. It was established as a sanctuary for animals that can never be released into the wild again and a temporary home for those who need attention before being released into the wild. It includes various initiatives and projects; amongst these are the Saving Private Rhino Foundation, Orphan Rhino Calf, Rescue and Rehabilitation Initiatives, Eco Synergy Systems, and Black Eagle Project.
Sutherland is home to Southern Africa’s largest telescope, located in the heart of the Roggeveld region. Do not miss this star gazing opportunity, at night you can almost reach out and touch the stars. Generations of pioneering hardships in this remote place, far from outside assistance, taught Sutherlanders the value of a tight-knit community. They learned to pull together through the tough times and to celebrate the good ones. Stick around long enough and you’ll get to know the locals by their nicknames. There’s a story to each one,
unfortunately, these tales don’t translate as well in written language, so best you spend some time in Sutherland for that.
It is an oasis in the great plains of the Karoo. Steeped in history, this working sheep and game farm has been in the family for five generations. Jakhalsdans have an abundance of game which guests can explore on foot, bicycle, horse, or game ride.
There are a number of authentic corbelled houses in the district. The intricate stonework and the sense of balance that was needed to ensure that the stone roof did not collapse inwards was a feat of early settler engineering in the district, making use of stones as the only building material abundantly available in the area. The original corbelled home on the farm Grootfontein is approximately 20 kilometers from town on the Carnarvon road and has been declared a national monument.
Fraserburg occasionally experiences snowstorms as the icy South Atlantic weather fronts sweep over the exposed plateau in the winter months. For the most part the town is blessed with almost continuous sunshine and the high altitude, at slightly more than 1200-meters above sea level, ensures that at night you can almost reach out and touch the stars.
Arriving in the Karoo National Park, your camp in Beaufort West is situated on a private game reserve surrounded by rocky crags and the Nuweveld mountains of the Great Karoo.
Calitzdorp is a quaint little town on route 62 nestled in the heart of the Klein Karoo, Calitzdorp is known as the port wine capital of South Africa, due to the quality of the port wines made by the local wine cellars. Calitzdorp Railway Station, situated alongside De Kranz Cellars, is an idyllic spot for campers, backpackers, caravaners and bikers. This is where you have your well-earned rest.
Barrydale is situated between two extremes. On the one side is the beautiful and fertile Tradouw Valley and on the other side you are faced with the stark and semi-arid Klein Karoo. These striking contrasts are experienced in a distance of 10km. Two scenic rides will bring you to Barrydale; the N2 through Caledon and bypassing Swellendam, turning off onto the R324 after Buffelsjags via the Tradouw Pass.
Barrydale is nestled at the foot of the Langeberge Mountains, in the Tradouw Valley, offering unsurpassed vistas of mountains and valleys that are covered in flowers during spring and summer. The village located on the border of the Overberg and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape Province in South Africa. Named after Joseph Barry, a well-known merchant of the 19th century it is situated at the northern end of the Tradouw pass which winds its way through the mountains to Swellendam.
Goodings Grove Olive Farm is situated at the foot of the Wemmershoek Mountain in Franschhoek. It features patios with panoramic views of the Drakenstein and Franschhoek Mountain range. The historic village of Franschhoek offers centuries-old vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture leading to trails that wind through flowers and wildlife at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve to views over Franschhoek Valley. The Huguenot Memorial Museum and neighbouring monument honour the area’s French settlers, who arrived in the 17th and 18th centuries. Franschhoek Motor Museum displays vintage cars amid mountain farmland.
Franschhoek, directly translated from Afrikaans to ‘French Corner’, is a picturesque valley of wine farms and beautiful Cape Dutch homes set in the middle of an equally beautiful mountain range. It is one of South Africa’s oldest towns and is rich in French heritage because of the Huguenot refugees that settled in the valley in 1688. Most of the prominent wine farms in Franschhoek still carry the names of the towns in France where the settlers came from - Chamonix, La Motte, Cabrière, and Provence to name a few.
As you climb the mountain you will discover a spectacular view over the valley and across the surrounding mountain ranges. There are several small gravel clearings on the Franschhoek side of the road where you can pull over and take magnificent photos from the natural elevation as if you were in a helicopter hovering over the valley.
Suggestions for your free day are to Table Mountain, via the coast road through Green Point, Sea Point, and Bantry Bay and continue to the Cable Car station. Take the cable car up to Table Mountain to take in the magnificent view of the Fairest Cape. Once on top of Table Mountain, 1,000 meters above the city below, you are rewarded with spectacular 360 views.
The West Coast is well known for its crayfish and different kinds of fish, baked, smoked or grilled - from the traditional "waterblommetjie" and "hotnotskool bredie", to the ever fresh homemade potato yeast bread, straight from the clay-oven, with butter and the region's famous "Hanepootkorrelkonfyt".
If you are interested in learning about the history of Clanwilliam, visit the Old Gaol (declared a National Monument in 1979). San rock art can be seen along the 5-kilometer long Sevilla Rock Art Trail that starts at Traveller’s Rest Farm Stall. The farm stall itself is in a pretty setting alongside the Brandewyn River the restaurant side serves traditional fare such as roosterkoek and waterblommetjiebredie.
You can book star gazing at the South African Astronomical Observatory as you can only visit the telescopes during day tours from Monday-Saturday and the night tour was held in a small enclosure with two smallish telescopes. It is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. You won’t see stars and experience small town living quite like this anywhere else in South Africa.
Before returning to Cape Town you might try the Franschhoek Wine Tram currently offers eight hop-on hop-off lines to choose from each visiting a selection of wine estates showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley. Passengers aboard the tour at the ticket office located in the Franschhoek Village and are transported by a combination of tram and tram-bus around a loop of stops allowing passengers to hop-on hop-off at any of the stops.
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