Western Cape DestinationsGroot Drakenstein, Cape Winelands
Some great historic Cape Dutch homesteads lie in this valley, including wine estates like Boschendal, Bien Donne, Meerlust, Solms-Delta and L'Ormarins. Essentially it describes a district that lies in the shadow of the Groot Drakenstein mountains.
The approach to Franschhoek is breathtaking for this very reason - it is hemmed in on three sides by the Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek and Simonsberg mountains, all vying for attention and all adding a beauty to the area that attracts a constant surge of visitors.
The Drakenstein Mountains form part of the Cape Fold Belt but are, when you actually annalyse it, two separate ranges known as the Klein Drakenstein and the Groot Drakenstein Mountains (the Huguenot Tunnel passes through the Klein Drakenstein Mountains, whilst the Groot Drakenstein lie south of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch).
Interestingly the Franschhoek Valley's perimeters lie between the Klein Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountains to the north, and the Groot Drakenstein and Franschhoek mountains to the south - you can understand that valleys, districts and wine routes might overlap and confuse the individual somewhat. This simply adds flavour to this already popular part of the Cape.
You can visit the Groot Drakenstein Cultural Centre near the town of Simondium between Franschhoek and Paarl. It used to be a jail, but this does not deter groups from using it as a venue for workshops and programmes as it is particularly pretty, offers wonderful views, and can sleep over one hundred people.