“I write of South Africa, where my heart sometimes resides, and my mind often drifts back to, across the distance of lands and oceans. An Africa that always beats with a strong heart of different people, languages and cultures, who irrefutably call this land their home.”
From – E – East London, last week, we have travelled 967 km to Franschoek by road.
What is in a name- everything, in this case.
This Franschhoek Valley was originally settled into in 1688 by 176 French Huguenot refugees, many of whom were given land by the Dutch government, in a valley then called Olifantshoek (“Elephants’ corner”), because of the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area.
These were part of a people who left their own homes in France because they refused to give up their protestant faith, when, a policy, made official the persecution already taking place, which was ordered in 1681 by the king, to intimidate Huguenots into converting to Catholicism.
The name of the area soon changed to (“the French Corner”), and later to Franschhoek.
With them they brought their french surnames, named the areas and places around them after French towns, and made themselves a new home. They farmed, planting vinyards bringing the skills they knew so well to virgin soil.
The ancestors of these people help make our Cape Winelands what they are today.
The Franschhoek Valley is arguably the most beautiful of the wine routes. As you travel up the mountain on your way in, you are greeted with a spectacular view.
Their heritage is shown today by the Huguenot Monument which stands at the end of the town. The museum nearby chronicles the history of the first settlers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell.
Famed as a culinary region, as well as for its wine, Franschhoek boasts around 40 estates and over 28 restaurants.The village in Franschhoek also offers a wonderful selection of art galleries, antique shops and boutique hotels.
The Cape Dutch architecture in much of the village is unspoilt, as restrictions have been placed on renovations and new construction in order to preserve the history of it’s origin.
While visiting the wine country find out about…
Live performances, spas, birdwatching, brandy tasting, cheese-making, fly-fishing, game drives, horse riding, olives, wine and chocolate experiences, nougat and wine tasting or nuts and wine tasting.
Yes, you couldn’t be in a better place than the Cape if you are a wine lover. Spolit for choice!