Franschhoek - known to most people for two key things: its gourmet food and its superb wine experiences.
However, Franschhoek has far more to offer than just libation and mastication: its utterly splendid rural location is in itself worth exploring either by bike or on foot. We particularly like the offering of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
This small reserve is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Cape Winelands Biosphere: it’s jam-packed with the most stunning variety of flowering plants, rivers and streams and beautiful and endemic birdlife and wildlife.
Cape Leopard has been spotted regularly here as well as a large variety of frogs and agama lizards. You’ll also come across enormous red grasshoppers and baboons and endless birds sucking nectar from the flowering plants which adorn the landscape. It’s an utter paradise, but don’t take our word for it: check out what Linnaeus said “May you be fully aware of your fortunate lot to enjoy that paradise on earth, the Cape of Good Hope” – and he was a Swedish botanist writing in 1759!
You can choose from a variety of 8 trails totalling 30km in length: most are in the 5 - 10km bracket. The reserve needs a permit (careful, it’s a bank-breaking R50 per person!) and is less than twenty minutes’ drive from Franschhoek’s centre.