By Mike-Alvin Usifo
Franschhoek is a small countryside in Western Cape, South Africa, where life goes on easy ride. Renowned for its fine wine, nice restaurants and layback nature, Franschhoek is where most tourists visit to get off the rush and expensive city life in places like Cape Town and enjoy nice wine and tasty meal with a beautiful mountainous background.
Lying about 85 km from Cape Town, Franschhoek, owes a lot to the Huguenots who gave it its name (The word Franschhoek means “French Corner” in Dutch). The Huguenots were French immigrants who fled persecution under Louis XIV and were invited to the Cape by Dutch Protestants. They settled in the city in 1688.
Thanks to the Huguenots who brought their knowledge of winemaking and restaurants, Franschhoek is today the gourmet capital of the Cape with its small space housing some of the finest winery and restaurants in South Africa.
Its location in a rich and fertile valley right in the beautiful Heart of Cape Winelands, between glorious towering Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountain ranges that circle the town, defines its standout status. Viewed from the mountaintop, one is treated to a picturesque sight. These mountain ranges are shared with Stellenbosch and Paarl and the landscape in-between are dotted with history and memories.
The Huguenot monument stands out at the end of the main street (Huguenot road) of the town. Close to it is the Museum. The main street is lined by art galleries, boutique-clothing stores, bars, restaurants and many others. There is also a post office and the tourist information centre where friendly officials gladly help with relevant information and map of interesting spots.
The other side of Franschhoek is dotted with wine farms, many of which offer wine tasting and tour. There is also the Motor museum as well as spa facilities, hiking and mountain biking trails among others.
The city has a peaceful but small population, nice weather, safe atmosphere and welcoming scenery.
Mike-Alvin Usifo is a former staff of Afro Tourism. He joined the company in April 2015 and was Head of Media from May 2018 until he left in December 2020.