Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Franschhoek Wine Tram Tour, South Africa
The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one of the best ways to discover the true essence of the Franschhoek Valley - picturesque vineyards, breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world class cuisine, fine wines and and a 300 year old history - that's the official blurb to this affordable and fun day out.
You can pick up your tickets (R150/adult) from the ticket booth in the main street and jump on the mini-bus which takes you to the wineries up in the hills, where the tram can't go. Your ticket price includes a bunch of tastings, and if you had them all, you could be quite wobbly before long. I only had a few tastings because it wasn't yet lunch time and I wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.
The bus drops past each stop every 40 minutes, and we found that was a bit long in a few of the wineries, so we walked down the hill from Dieu Donne to Chamonix and managed to do both wineries in 40 minutes.
Once you're back down on the flats, you hop onto the open sided Wine Tram and move slowly along the tracks for some more winery stops. When I say moving slowly, I'm serious. You're going so slowly that staff jump on and off, waving flags to stop any crossing traffic.
Each winery has its own stop and sends down its own transport to pick you up and take you back to the winery. We stopped at Rickety Bridge for tastings (included) and then stayed for lunch. Rickety Bridge sent down a lovely old open sided truck with bench seats on the back for the tram passengers. We saw that another winery sent down a tractor pulling a trailer filled with seats - it's all a bit of a laugh.
Lunch at Rickety Bridge was scrummy and the wines were great. They've got a fab little gift shop area, selling all wine related things and we bought a gorgeous wooden cutting board and some home smoked salt, as well as some wine.