The leaves have taken on their autumn colours and are dropping rapidly. Soon the vinyards will be bare as the days get cooler and cooler. We hope the rain will begin to fall to fill up our dams for the next hot summer. We’ll be watching out for the snow-capped mountain tops and rooting out our winter woolies from the back of the cupboard. It’s that time of year when we batten down the hatches and prepare ourselves for cold couple of months.
Some say autumn is the best time to visit our village. The streets are quieter and restaurants are happy for you to drop in without a reservation. Guesthouses are not packed to the rafters and you are in for some quiet evenings in front of the fire.
But the village is far from closed for winter! Some wine farms may close their doors for a few weeks to allow their staff to have some well-deserved rest and for maintenance work to be undertaken. But fear not. There is still plenty to do.
Our community is made up of diverse and vibrant cultures and we enjoy sharing that with our visitors. The Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism office has put together a fun, interesting and informative outing called Rond-en-Bont (Around and Proud) which visits a number of different community members and institutions. It showcases the Coloured culture and is lots of fun.
The tour starts off at the local Medicinal garden in the village. The curator, Judah, will show you various indigenous Fynbos plants that grow in the Western Cape and give you a rundown of their importance and medicinal value. We then take a drive up to the informal settlement of Langrug and are entertained by the members of the JMP Foundation. Their singing and drumming is enjoyed by all and you may get a chance to do a bit of drumming yourself! This is followed by delectable refreshments with Aunty Ruth at the Teesakkie Tea Garden.
After being suitably fed and watered, we move on to the Indlovu sewing project which is a skills development project run form the Groendal Sports Centre and which is assisting the unemployed people in the area to learn a new employable and entrepreneurial skill. The group would be very pleased if you accept a small thank you gift from them.
Our last stop is a drive out to the local Khoisan Kraal to visit Hoofman Chris and his headmen. Hoofman Chris is the Chief of the Khoisan Clan who have inhabited this area for centuries. He and his Headmen will regale you with stories of their community and tell you some of their traditions and customs. We end the tour sharing a traditional meal with them before making our way back to Franschhoek. This cultural tour is a MUST DO when visiting Franschhoek and is very popular with the culture vultures amongst our visitors.
On really cold stormy days, we offer a special Winter Warmer Fireside Tour. Many of the wine farm tasting rooms have large fire places and comfortable seating and there is nothing better than curling up in front of a roaring fire with a red wine tasting to while away an otherwise wet and soggy day. Your guide will collect you from your accommodation and make sure you don’t get wet while introducing you to at 3 of our best winter destination vinyards.
A well-kept secret in the village is our newly opened Movie Theatre which has taken up residence in the old library of the Franschhoek High School. Movies are shown from Wednesday to Sunday at 18:30. They offer a mixed bag of current block-busters to golden oldies as well as some South African Afrikaans movies. Tickets and programme are available at the Tourism Office and include a glass of wine. It’s a cosy warm intimate theatre with comfy seats and has become a real hit with the locals and tourists alike.
We do of course, also have wonderfully warm sunny days interspersed between the cold, gloomy days and on such days you will find most of us outdoors soaking up the sun. The Village Market should be on if it’s a Saturday and all our walking, biking and hiking tours will be available. Have a look at our website to get more info on these and check out our Winter Warmer Specials! www.franschhoek-adventures.co.za
Until next time, stay safe and warm and enjoy the cooler season. Summer is not far behind.