On our glorious old-style trams, you’re right in the heart of the beautiful vineyards, surrounded by mountains…
On our glorious old-style trams, you’re right in the heart of everything that Franschhoek is about: the beautiful vineyards surrounded by mountain ranges. The views are exceptional, and the trams are a sight in themselves. The two double-deckers that we use for the Hop-On Hop-Off and Curated Wine experiences are only a few years old, but they’re based on a 1923 tramcar from Blackpool, so they’re pretty special, too.
Our Hop-On Hop-Off Experience is perfect for anyone who just wants to see Franschhoek in a relaxed way, taste some great wines and not be told what to do or where to go for the day. There are eight lines, each visiting a selection of wine estates, and once you’ve picked your line you can choose where to stop and for how long, depending on how quickly the tram comes round again – which ranges from 30 minutes to an hour. The wineries are all different in what they offer, though they all do tastings, which is the number one activity everyone tends to enjoy. So there might be vineyard walks or cellar tours, art galleries or sculpture gardens. One of the farms we’ve recently added, called Pigcasso, has the actual painting pig whose artworks have sold around the world. Food and wine pairings are very popular, and they’ve even started doing them for kids with juices or milk instead of wine. And there are lots of places to eat: some estates have gourmet restaurants, others do picnics, platters or light meals.
The Curated Wine Experience, in contrast, is a set itinerary that goes to three wineries, and it’s designed for anyone who wants to learn more about winemaking and wine in general, but in a fun way. So at the first winery, you’ll walk through the vineyards with the guide, seeing the different grape varieties and learning how to identify them before heading into the cellars for an in-depth tour. You’ll finish with a curated tasting, using aroma jars to help to identify the different nuances you might pick up with your nose and palate. After lunch – three courses with fabulous wines, of course – you get to put your new-found knowledge to the test at the next estate, which has a beautiful art gallery. You do a cellar tour here because each farm does things slightly differently, and then a tasting. And at the final winery, you’ll get a hands-on demonstration of how food and wine pairings work: biltong and wine is popular, but you can also opt for sweet ones such as chocolate and wine.
Afterwards, people tell us that they definitely feel more knowledgeable about wine in general and South African wines in particular. And we get a lot of visitors on the Hop-On Hop-Off who come back several times to do different lines, so we must be doing something right!
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656