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23 Sep

Experience these towns within an hour from Cape Town

4 Historical towns in the Western Cape

Experience these towns within an hour from Cape Town


In 1688 French Huguenots began populating this stunning valley and the name of the area soon changed to le Coin Francais (“the French Corner”) and later to the Dutch, Franschhoek.

Browse and shop your way down the Main Road and stop for a drink or a memorable meal at one of the many fine restaurants in town. Enjoy winetasting or a leisurely lunch at the numerous excellent wine farms surrounding  the town. Discover the vineyards and experience the breath-taking scenery on the Franschhoek Wine Tram or, if you are a petrolhead, do not miss four halls of motoring history at the Franschhoek Motor Museum.





Shadowed by the Dassenberg mountains, the mild Franschhoek valley is the perfect canvas for winemaker Wynand Grobler to create a portfolio of outstanding Franschhoek wines. The flagship range, Paulina’s Reserve, proudly bears the name of original owner, Paulina de Villiers.

The historic wine making cellar was recently renovated and converted into a barrel fermentation centre, the new winery was built and modern cooling equipment was installed. The newly built wine tasting centre is the perfect place to sample 200 years of wine making tradition: taste these delightful Franschhoek wines in comfort, al fresco in summer on the winery verandah or relaxing in front of the fire in winter. The pleasures of these outstanding South African wines extend beyond the bottle.



On 13 May 1797 the widow Paulina de Villiers was granted the land that straddles the river and nestles against the mountain at Franschhoek, the historic Cape Village founded by the French Huguenots in 1688. The pioneering spirit of this remarkable woman who lived 220 years ago is celebrated in the range of special edition wines and this restaurant, who proudly bears her name.

Take a seat overlooking the Rickety Bridge vineyards. Sip a glassful of crisp estate wine and enjoy a delicious lunch while drinking in the splendour of the magnificent surroundings. Every creation by the team of talented chefs is given extra zest by the striking beauty of the setting and stunning views of the Franschhoek mountains.



This historic property offers elegant winelands accommodation and Cape Dutch hospitality at its’ finest with a swimming pool and sunny garden patio from which to enjoy the tranquillity of the vineyard setting and spectacular views set against the Franschhoek mountain backdrop. Basse Provence has 7 en-suite rooms and one two-bedroomed cottage, which is the ideal accommodation for families on holiday in Franschhoek. 



Rickety Bridge Wine Estate offers 4-star accommodation on a Franschhoek wine estate, less than 3 kilometres from the centre of the quaint Franschhoek town. Although reminiscent of the past, and nostalgic and timeless, this estate is also all things new, and all thing delectable and all things sublime. Lie still in the stylishly-renovated 19th-century rooms of this beautiful Franschhoek guest house. With every luxury of a four-star hotel, the three en-suite rooms also offer the comforting pleasures of home.



In 1657, in search of new trading relationships inland, Abraham Gabemma saw a giant granite rock glistening in the sun after a rainstorm and named it "de Diamondt en de Peerlberg" (Diamond and Pearl Mountain) from which Paarl is derived. It is the third oldest town and European settlement in the Republic of South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch) and the largest town in the Cape Winelands.

Follow on of the many hiking trails or climb Bretagne Rock in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, visit the Afrikaanse Taalmonument, befriend a furry Alpaca at the Manor House Alpacas Stud or visit any number of the excellent wine farms in the region.





Explore the road less travelled and visit Vondeling in the undiscovered and unspoilt Voor-Paardeberg, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, South Africa. It was granted to Swedish immigrant Oloff Bergh in 1704, and a three-centuries-old winemaking tradition began. Today, an environmentally sensitive approach to farming and minimal intervention during the winemaking process ensure wine with a distinct fingerprint of origin. Vondeling’s flagship wines, Vondeling Babiana and Vondeling Erica, are named after rare species of fynbos that are endemic to the Paardeberg mountain, the home of Vondeling Wines. They offer wine tastings from Monday to Friday. Please book in advance and they will arrange a cheese and charcuterie platter for guests.



Foundling House comprises seven en suite bedrooms (sleeping 14 people) which are luxuriously appointed and extremely comfortable. Other areas in the house include a fully equipped kitchen, a dining and sitting room with a cosy fireplace. The recreation room houses a snooker table and a tennis table, and has satellite TV as well as WIFI. Our efficient housekeeper and chef can do as much – or as little – as you require. Surrounding Foundling House are peaceful gardens with delightful shaded terraces, a 20m swimming pool, braai (BBQ) lapa area, croquet & boulle courts and spot-lit tennis court. 



Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, who named it after himself. The University of Stellenbosch started of as het Stellenbossche Gymnasium in 1866, in 1874 some higher classes became Victoria College and in 1918 University of Stellenbosch.

Stroll through the town and you will soon notice why it is known as Eikestad (“Town of Oaks”). Stellenbosch has numerous excellent restaurants and is surrounded by some of the finest wineries in South Africa. Visit the Rupert Museum for fantastic art and enjoy nature in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, home to the majestic Jonkershoek Mountains and the Jonkershoek valley.





aha De Zalze Lodge is situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands on the well-known De Zalze Wine Estate, and located adjacent to the De Zalze Golf Course. This is an ideal destination for leisure and business travellers alike, as guests are offered 4-star accommodation and the opportunity to enjoy delectable food and world-renowned wines.

The dining options at aha De Zalze Lodge include the Lodge Restaurant, which is an informal bistro-style eatery, and the Terroir Restaurant, an award-winning, fine dining establishment that has been rated by EatOut as a Top 10 contestant. Bookings are essential.



Riebeek-Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, situated 80 km north-east of Cape Town in the Riebeek Valley together with its sister town Riebeek West. During 1661 Commander Jan van Riebeeck initiated an inland discovery expedition under the leadership of Pieter Cruythoff. They set off in the direction of Paardeberg and on 3 February 1661 they ascended a lonely mountain and came upon the fertile vista of the Riebeek Valley. They named it Riebeek Kasteel, in honor of the Commander.

Taste and buy delicious olives and olive oil at The Olive Boutique and Het Vlock Kasteel, fine local wines at The Wine Kollective, Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Estate and Allesverloren. After browsing in the shops that surround the town square and in Short Street, settle down for a craft beer at Garagista Beer Co or Flagship Brew, followed by a G & T and lunch on the verandah of the oldest hotel in the Western Cape, The Royal, or some Italian fare at Mama Cucina.





Merindol Manor is one of the oldest houses in Riebeek West and has been meticulously renovated with stunning gardens. The Manor has four spacious bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Rooms are available separately or rent your own manor. During the day you can visit one of several wine and olive farms, explore the towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West and have lunch at your choice from a number of restaurants, alternatively buy some local produce and have a leisurely lunch next to the pool. Riebeek Valley is the perfect base for a holiday in the Western Cape: only 90 km from Cape Town and within a hour from Wellington, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the West Coast.


Click on the names above for more details and to book these fantastic experiences. Visit our Explore page for official twisht experiences in 93 countries and subscribe to our newsletter.