Things To Do in FranschhoekWinelands Sunset Drive
Where? Franschhoek Pass, R45 , Between Franschhoek and Villiersdorp, Cape Winelands.
When? Great day views but best viewing time is just before sunset.
How much? Free
The famous gourmet capital of the Western Cape is the wine valley of Franschhoek. As a valley it is cradled between mountain ranges that display a spectacular view over the luscious vineyard region.
As you drive into Franschhoek on the R45, the Main Road namely Huguenot Rd (named after the village's French settlers) leads you to a T-Junction at the the landmark Hugenot Monument. At the T-Junction turn left onto Lambrecht Rd (which is still classified on a map as the R45) and scoop your way along the mountain road winding up mountain curves singing 'We'll be coming round the mountain, when we come ...'.
You will pass two world rated French restaurants and wineries, Haute Cabriere comes up first on your left and then Le Petite Ferme appears on your right. Continue to wind along this road which as a tarred regional road is suitable for all types of cars.
This mountain route is known as The Franchoek Pass and links the village of Franschhoek to the town of Villiersdorp on the other side of the mountain. As you climb the mountain you will discover a spectacular view over the valley and across the surrounding mountain ranges.
There are several small gravel clearings on the Franschhoek side of the road where you can pull over and take magnificent photos from the natural elevation as if you were in a helicopter hovering over the valley.
Check the local weather report for the daily sunset time and estimate that the sun appears to sink behind Franschhoek about 20 minutes earlier than the official sunset time. You can take a little picnic up with you and / or a bottle of your favourite wine and enjoy the magnificent patchwork of vineyards in the sunlight followed by the changing colours of the clouds and the twinkling of the first Franschhoek lights under the stars.
* Note as you get to almost the maximum height of the mountain pass the opportunities to turn are limited so make sure you pull over at a clearing before you end up in Villiersdorp.