Don’t leave the kids behind…. Visit South Africa with your family and plan a getaway in the Franschhoek Valley with child friendly Wine Farms and activities.
I clearly remember the first time I drove to the Franschhoek Valley. We were driving on the Helshoogte Pass from Stellenbosch and I was in awe: the entire valley, so green and lush, surrounded by stark and imposing yet beautiful mountain ranges, under a clear blue sky opened itself up to me and I was, simply put, mesmerized. I fell in love and Franschhoek, with its fields of lavender, awe-inspiring wine farms and quaint little French-inspired village, has since become my holiday destination of choice.
Franschhoek is one of the food capitals of South Africa and as such offers gourmet food in almost every restaurant. The wine cultivated in this region is fantastic and there is an abundance of child friendly activities available (because who said that visiting a wine region is not family friendly?
If you are in need of a getaway to replenish the soul while bonding with your family, the Franschhoek Valley and its surrounding areas, is definitely the right place to go. Here is a local’s guide to family friendly activities to indulge in and enjoy while there:
Wine Tasting, Lunches & Picnics
My favourite past time is going wine tasting; there is just something so peaceful and relaxing about visiting the various farms, tasting different wine varietals and enjoying a relaxing lunch or picnic with your loved ones, while the kids run around, laughing.
Warwick Wine Estate has a great set-up for picnic spots with blankets, picnic baskets and your wine of choice ready for you to enjoy.
Backsberg Wine Farm has a child-friendly restaurant set in their beautiful gardens (ideal for taking family photos), a vibrant tasting room and they offer picnic concerts during the summer months.
Noble Hill Wine Farm has a child-friendly restaurant and offers picnics and wine tastings on sprawling lawns overlooking a river in the shade of large oak trees. Bring a ball along for the kids to play with.
Vrede & Lust is another scenic wine farm with large open spaces for the kids to run around in while you enjoy a wine tasting experience or lunch.
Visit Rickety Bridge Winery to enjoy a wine tasting and lunch on their terrace with views of the Franschhoek mountains.
The Fyndraai Restaurant on Solms Delta Wine Estate offers modern Cape cuisine and great wines in the relaxing atmosphere of their garden, under the shade of beautiful trees. Let your kids roam around the forest where you can also enjoy a picnic.
Be sure to visit Boschendal Winery, Holden Manz and Allée Bleue for tranquil family picnics surrounded by nature. Allée Bleue also offers a herb tour every Friday – a fun and educational afternoon for all foodies.
Note that in South Africa, the legal drinking age is 18.
Explore Africa’s Animal Kingdom
Butterflies have always fascinated me with their beautiful shapes and colours. Visit Butterfly World to experience the magic of these interesting creatures.
If you have come to Africa to see a lion, you will not be disappointed when visiting the Drakenstein Lion Park. This lion sanctuary is the only one of its kind in the Western Cape and boasts the largest amount of lions, including white lions, in this area. Do not miss out on Chimp Haven while there.
Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm is a great option for a fun family excursion. They offer guided tours, fishing, picnics and a restaurant. Your kids will also be able to touch and feel baby crocodiles – an experience not to be missed.
The Giraffe House in Stellenbosch offers visitors the chance to learn about and see a variety of South African Wildlife, including Ostriches, Giraffes, Buck and Crocodiles.
If you are in the mood for a roadtrip, pack the kids in the car and head off to Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for an Eagle Encounter. Next, drive to Somerset West to visit the Cheetah Outreach where you can have a personal Cheetah encounter (and taste craft beer at one of the local breweries, Triggerfish), and end your day in Cape Town at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Pack an overnight bag and enjoy the many activities the V&A Waterfront has to offer. We did this trip with our kids not too long ago and they loved it!
The problem with these types of holidays is that I always eat too much and drink too much and I end up coming home a few pounds heavier (grrrr). So, in order to avoid the dreary diets and boring hours on the treadmill (which makes being back from holiday so much worse), I have decided to get active while on holiday!
The La Motte Wine Estate has hiking trails through their beautiful estate. Afterwards, reward yourself with a game of chess on their large chess board while tasting their wines.
If hiking is your thing, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve also has great hiking trails and while there, take the time to explore the Fynbos vegetation this area is so well known for.
Babylonstoren offers guided walking tours through their sumptuous gardens.
For the golfing fans, be sure to play a round of golf at Pearl Valley Golf Estate and pop over the Val de Vie Estate (right next door) for a game of polo (and more wine tasting).
Paradise Stables, Alpha Equestrian and Cape Winelands Riding offer guided horse riding tours through the scenic Cape countryside.
In amongst all the options available, remember to visit the Franschhoek village for some retail therapy and a plethora of fantastic restaurants. Flambe Fine Art is my favourite shop for unique African inspired art and decor pieces and Bijoux Chocolates is Franschhoek’s very own Chocolatier – yum!
There are also a variety of interesting museums in the area: the Franschhoek Motor Museum is my husband’s favourite and I cannot wait to take my son to the Toy and Miniature Museum later this year.
I hope this list of tips inspires you to explore this beautiful region – you will probably fall in love with it at first sight as I have!
About The Author: Alexa is an adventurous mom and travel blogger writing about unique local experiences, family friendly excursions , things to do and see when you visit South Africa at www.thingstodowithkids.co.za where you can get some more inspiration for child friendly activities in and around South Africa.
Alexa in the Franschhoek Valley
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