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Franschhoek and Berg River Valley from Franschhoek Pass

Cape Town to Grabouw, South Africa

Western Cape Scenic Drive

The Western Cape is one of the most scenic regions in the whole of South Africa, and that is really saying something, because the entire country has such a huge selection of scenic areas to explore.  Add to this the fact that the road network is top-class and you have the perfect destination for a series of great scenic drives.  Moving away from the beautiful coastline, this great short drive will take you inland past some of the best fruit-growing parts of the country and through some of the very best mountain scenery.  Fasten those seat-belts and set off to explore the Cape Town to Grabouw scenic drive!

Stellenbosch Wine Route

There are two possible routes out of the Mother city; my suggestion is that you could take the N2 as far as Somerset West and then turn inland on the R44 which meanders its way through the lively university town of Stellenbosch and the famous Stellenbosch Wine Route.  Stellenbosch is well worth a visit; this is a very old and historic town with many examples of the old Cape Dutch architecture; stroll around under the famous oak trees and soak up the atmosphere.  Try and arrange an overnight stop in this area so that you can visit some of the wineries which offer cellar tours, tastings and in many instances, excellent lunches served al fresco under the shady trees.  (Driving time from Cape Town to Stellenbosch is about 50min).

Hell’s Heights and French Corner

The next leg of your scenic drive will take you along the R45 to the R310, over the Helshoogte (translates as Hell’s Heights) Pass which links the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek valleys.  There are stunning views of the mountains and vineyards and many more places to stop and explore; be sure to enjoy tea and cream scones at the Hillcrest Berry Farm.  Franschhoek  (French Corner) is a delightful little piece of France right in the middle of the Cape – a very picturesque village which is acclaimed as the “Culinary Capital” of South Africa.  To fully appreciate the excellent restaurants and fine wine you need to stay overnight!

Franschhoek Pass

Leaving Franschhoek, you will soon reach one of the most scenic parts of your drive, the breathtaking Franschhoek Pass which leads you to Villiersdorp, via the very pretty Theewaterskloof Dam.  Villiersdorp is a typical little farming town with a great Art Gallery you should not miss; here you can buy a beautiful painting of the South African landscape to take home as a reminder of your trip.

Apple Capital of South Africa

Now you are on the last leg of your scenic drive, from Villiersdorp to Grabouw, the apple capital of South Africa where more than 65% of the country’s export apples are grown.  It is a very lovely valley surrounded by beautiful mountains, forests, vineyards and orchards as far as the eye can see.  After exploring the valley you can be back in Cape Town in about 90 minutes.

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