Friendly Cape Town Tours

Franschhoek & Hermanus

3 Days, 2 Nights

Friendly Cape Town Tours

Franschoek and Hermanus

3 Days, 2 Nights

Franschhoek and Hermanus are linked via one of the most scenic drives anywhere in the region, from Franschhoek, via the Franschhoek Pass, down to the coast at Hermanus.

I almost called this a “Winelands and Whales” Tour but then hesitated, remembering my quote which I used elsewhere in this site: “The biggest problem with Hermanus is the whales, because nobody wants to go there when there aren’t any!”

The idea here is to combine a trip out to the best of the Winelands with the best of Hermanus and the “Whale Coast” (there we go again!) without going out and back from Cape Town twice, because the two places can be linked via one of the most scenic drives anywhere in the region, from Franschhoek, via the Franschhoek Pass, down to the coast at Hermanus.

Day 1

Depart from Cape Town and take a 45 minute drive to the charming and attractive Winelands town of Stellenbosch. This bustling 330 year old town has a lively energy thanks to its 25 000 university students. The landscape is dominated by huge mountains and punctuated by beautiful homesteads in the signature Cape Dutch architectural style.

From here it’s another 45 minute drive to Franschhoek via the Helshoogte (Heights of Hell!) Pass over the mountain, but we will definitely make some stops en route. These can be at wineries for wine tastings, depending on your interest and taste in wine, and / or other attractions based on your other interests such scenery, walking or hiking, history, heritage, architecture, gardens, art or shopping. Wine farms range from rustic farmyard settings to opulent showpieces owned by the rich and famous, each with its own character.

The state-of-the-art Franschhoek Motor Museum is something special for car lovers.

Enjoy lunch en route at one of the staggering number of great restaurants which could be anything from light and casual to a gastronomic experience!

Arrive in the beautiful town of Franschhoek, meaning French Corner, named for the French Huguenot settlers who joined their Dutch counterparts here as farmers and vintners in the 17th Century. It boasts several of South Africa’s top restaurants.

Overnight: Franschhoek
Day 2: Franschhoek to Hermanus

Enjoy some free time to have a wander through the streets of Franschhoek with its quaint local shops, galleries, coffee shops and cafes.

Then head to La Petite Ferme restaurant and boutique winery for a cellar tour and a tasting of their outstanding wines. Lunch at this legendary restaurant follows, with magnificent views over the Franschhoek valley from the table.

Depart Franschhoek and drive up and over the spectacular Franschhoek Pass, down through the mountains, along the edge of one of Cape Town’s biggest water storage reservoirs, past apple and pear orchards, through wheat and canola fields, and finally down to the coast and the picturesque seaside town of Hermanus. This 2 hour drive is a highlight of the tour.

Hermanus is wedged on the shore of Walker Bay between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. There will be time to take a leisurely stroll along the coastal clifftop path which extends from the town centre in both directions, 10km long altogether. It goes right past the centre of town with its market square, shops, galleries and restaurants.

The Southern Right Whales visit the bay potentially from June, usually peaking around August to November. Thanks to the topography, besides the sheer numbers, Walker Bay is known as one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching, so it’s often not necessary to get on a boat to see the whales close up – but one can never be sure. In whale season, you can walk or drive to get as close to the whales as you can, though whale watching boat trips are also available.

Overnight: Hermanus
Day 3: Hermanus to Cape Town via Clarence Drive

Before leaving Hermanus, there are a few ways to spend the morning:

  • You could just be lazy, or spend time strolling in the town or along the clifftop path.
  • We could take a drive into the spectacular Hemel & Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley tucked into the mountains behind Hermanus, and perhaps visit a winery or two in the cool-climate Walker Bay wine region known for its world-class wines.
  • During the whale season, you could do a whale-watching boat trip as an optional extra. Trips depart at 9 am, 12 noon and 3 pm, from June to mid-December, and you need to be there a half an hour before. They take 1½ to 3 hours, normally 2 hours.

Return to Cape Town via the coastal road, through the fishing village of Kleinmond and on to Betty’s Bay, known for two attractions: the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, set in a beautiful ravine, and Stony Point with its breeding colony of African Penguins, cormorants and dassies (rock hyrax) – a mini safari in one stop!

Clarence Drive continues along the foot of steep mountains, with jaw-dropping views at every turn. Whales can sometimes be seen along the way too. Continue to Gordon’s Bay before heading back to Cape Town.

Time permitting, we could also visit the Cheetah Outreach project in the Strand, near Gordon’s Bay, on the way back. This conservation project with a sound track record and the highest standards of best practice works with captive-born “cheetah ambassadors” to raise funds in innovative ways, to support cheetahs in the wild which are the most endangered of Africa’s big cats, primarily through the breeding and placement of Anatolian shepherd dogs as a non-lethal predator control on livestock farms. One of the ways of doing this is for you to have a personal encounter with a cheetah, though this is not required to visit the project and learn about its work.

See for details.

General Information

Price: R5 150 (South African Rand) for up to 3 passengers, and R5 650 for 4 to 7 passengers, per day, for guiding services, vehicle and fuel, excluding accommodation, activities and meals.

If you are interested in doing this tour, let me know, we can then discuss your accommodation and activity preferences, and I will work out the full price.

To inquire about or book this or any other tours, please click here.