I’ve gone through lots of posts to find winery and restaurant recommendations. Thanks everyone for your contributions. I now feel like I’m swimming in information overload mode and need to pull it together. I also don’t know how to bring the different options together since travel / geography logistics make it hard to just pick the preferred places, since places are spread out and we’ll need to figure out transport.
My wife and I are coming later this week, Thurs to Sat morn, from Nairobi. We’re super excited, especially since good wine and food are come to find here (unless you pay outrageous prices), and there’s no equivalent setting here either.
We like reds (preferably bold, though all are good), oak chardonnays, and aren’t super fans of bubbles but will try based on the fame we’ve read about. For food, we basically like good food across various cuisines (including French and trendy, which is there; oh and we love steak). Not necessarily into fine dining but open to it for good food and experience since we don’t have good access to that where we currently live–so why not?
We’ll be driving from Cape Town on Thursday morning, do full day wine tasting / touring on Friday, then drive back to Cape Town on Saturday (probably after lunch). Staying in Franschhoek town.
I’d love some specific itinerary suggestions if you have them with these questions in mind.
* What would you recommendation for our first day when we’re driving from Cape Town? I saw somewhere that there’s Helshgoogte Pass (called Franschhoek Pass too I think), which looks great. Would you recommend stopping for lunch en route to the village? If so, we could probably do that and 1-2 wineries before we’d need to drop off our car in Franschhoek and maybe get a car to another winery nearby. Would it be better to stop en route then maybe visit the wineries closer to Franschoek that day, and use the 2nd day to spend at places that are further out of town?
* How feasible is it to use Uber / Taxify to get from place to place? It assume it’s more expensive than the wine tram, but that’s ok if provides better experience and allows us to choose wineries more selectively. In particular, I see the purple line (which was recommended for wines, esp reds) takes an hour to get from departure to the first stop, Vrede en Lust, whereas per google maps it’s 15 minutes. So doesn’t seem ideal, at least for that line.
* Also re transport – any idea how much a driver would cost for the day and / or recommendation? Or is that what the tuk tuks are for? Only information I saw re: tuk tuks was that they only take you to ~3 places. I assume we’d want them with us all day, so not sure if that works. Plus, they can be loud and sorta smelly (if like the ones here in Kenya).
* Any general recommendations on combining the food and wine experience? For lunch, it seems like we’ll need to make reservations at most of the places mentioned in the forums (I checked w/ Foliage and Petitie Colombe and they’re fully booked). Didn’t check the restaurants at the wineries yet. So does it make sense to choose a lunch place @ winery with reservations, then plan tasting around that? Or reservations are needed that’s only for the top places and we can assume we can get food at most places? I’d prefer to have a pretty decent quality sit down lunch than a picnic or deli meal.
* Bochendale – a couple of friends here had a picnic there and raved about it. I see it doesn’t get a lot of love here. Is that b/c there are ‘better’ places elsewhere and the avg tourist (like ourselves) don’t know of better options, or primarily due to crowds that people tend to want to avoid after their first trip?
* We leave on Saturday for Cape Town. Any recommendation for a different route home and/or good stopover for food? Or anything else specific to Saturday?
Anyway, I’m a bit fatigued from research and want to start making a plan / reservations. If realistically the wine is all pretty good, the food good, scenery beautiful, then I guess it’s unnecessary to worry about mapping this out in advance. But if there is a difference between places, then I’d like to get it lined up. I really like good wine and have a somewhat discerning palate, though am not an expert. And again, good food, especially beef and anything creative, is pretty difficult for us here.
Thanks so much for the help, especially regarding ideas for our first day getting into town and the whole transport issue and what is really worth planning ahead.