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If I lived in the city, my ideal weekend away would include fresh air, lots of wine, great company and a bit of culture. Another prerequisite is that the commute to wherever I’m headed would avoid spending fruitless hours dealing with weekend traffic. I would want to able to have my bags packed and ready to head out directly after work. Sure, according to Cape Town standards that be around 3pm but as long as I’m settled in time for a sundowner, I’d be a happy camper.

Luckily for me, I don’t need to drive far at all to experience a fantastic weekend break. In any given month, my hometown of Franschhoek is immersed in cultural and outdoor experiences that would satisfy any city slicker or Camel man. And the fact that it’s situated only 45 minutes from the Mother City, along one of our country’s most breathtaking motorways, simply adds to its appeal. 

Standard fare for visitors to Franschhoek includes five star accommodation, gastronomic delights from some of South Africa’s top chefs and high quality wine tasting at a number of top estates. For the niche market tourist, there’s horse-riding or cycling through the vineyards, a handful of spas, fishing and hiking.

And then there’s the monthly social calendar arranged by the local tourism department. (+27 21 876 3603,

From late October and continuing through November, the Franschhoek social life is centred around the Franschhoek Music Festival. Here, you’ll discover live performances complimented with wine tasting, art exhibitions, speciality meals and dance. Whatever your fancy, you can catch everything from Mozart to tango, vocal and piano recitals, to jazz, classical and afro-contemporary dance. Johnny Cooper’s Big Band and Watershed are also coming to town!

Take the leap – leave the hustle and bustle behind and head for a weekend experience of culture in the valley!

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