Take me back to The Franschhoek Wine Tram
Let’s be frank: I love wine. When it comes to liquids, it’s right up there with my other two beloveds, coffee and gin (and I swear, never make me choose between them – you wouldn’t make a mother choose her favourite child, right?) So it’s a bit of a shock that, until last weekend, I’d never been on The Franschhoek Wine Tram. Shocking, right? Here I am, card-carrying member of the oenophile club (not really, but I do love the stuff) and consumer of all things red, white, and pink, and yet I’ve never made the trek to Franschhoek to partake in all things winey-and delicious. But now that I have, I can guarantee I’ll be going back.
If you’ve spent some time travelling around South Africa’s infamous wine routes, you’ll know that getting from farm to farm when you’ve been sampling their creations all day can be a bit of a problem. I know, I know, if you’re doing wine tastings you’re supposed to be spitting the wine into a bucket, but if you’re like me and bow down to the shrine of wine (#wineshrine, anyone?) then sometimes you just can’t resist sipping everything down, and so driving is totally out of the question. In the past, we’ve forced some poor family member to play designated driver (sorry, Dylan) but when you’re on The Franschhoek Wine Tram, there’s no need. All you need to do is get yourself to Franschhoek and home (this is where Uber is your best friend) but while you’re there, all your transport is sorted. Genius.
The tram works like this: It’s a hop-on-hop-off tour that lets you experience a variety of farms, travelling between them on a combination of open-side trams and open-air tram-busses. It takes you right into the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, letting you chill out while you enjoy the surroundings, the history of the area, and of course it’s incredible food and wine.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram currently offers five lines to choose from: The Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, and Purple lines. Each line visits eight wine estates, with the longest routes visiting 6 different farms if you leave on the first tour of the day. To match with my beautiful new bright yellow iboughta___jacket Jenn jacket (okay, not really, but it was a nice coincidence) we opted for the Yellow Line, and got to visit four beautiful wine farms.
While you’re on the tram/tram-buss, you’re also let in on interesting little historical facts about the area, the trams, and the farms themselves. When you arrive at a farm, you have an hour to linger, do a tasting, have some lunch, and walk around before it picks you up again, and we found that it was pretty much the perfect amount of time to be somewhere. If you decide that you’d rather stay for two hours in one place (if you’ve opted to have lunch or something) then you can just catch the next tram. As long as you don’t miss the last one (they’re great about coming around to inform you of this though, so don’t worry) then the itinerary is really yours for the building.
I think my favourite thing about The Franschhoek Wine Tram is that it introduced us to wine farms that we’d never tried before. Arriving at each place, we paid to do a tasting (which is always super cheap) and then unfailingly left with a few bottles of new favourites under our arms. And because all the trams and buses go back to the central depot at the end of the day, you can just leave your purchases on the bus and then collect them at the end of the day.
On our adventure we visited Rickety Bridge, Grand Provence, Eikehof, and Dieu Donne: None of which I’d been to before, and all of which I will definitely be returning to. We lucked out with flawless Franschhoek weather, and each farm provided the opportunity to sit outside in the beautiful sunshine and catch up.
Tasting Fee: R40 per person for 5 wines
Tasting Fee: R30-R60 per person for 4 wines
Tasting Fee: R30 per person for 3 wines or R40 per person for 4 wines
Tasting Fee: R20 per person for 3 wines or R30 per person for 5 wines
If you’re looking to explore Franschhoek, do yourself a massive favour and do it on The Franschhoek Wine Tram. Tickets cost between R170 (for the Purple line) and R220 (for all the other lines) per person, and you’re guaranteed to have an absolutely lovely time. With so many wonderful farms unvisited, chances are I’ll be finding some excuse to head back out there very soon, so keep an eye out for me – I’ll be the one in the colour-coordinated jacket.
Tel: + 27 21 300 0338