Our last three days and nights in South Africa were spent in and around Franschhoek, one of the wineland area towns. I chose to stay in Franschhoek because of its reputation as the gourmet capital of South Africa. The Elephant Lodge proved to be a very nice place to stay, and manager Cecilia was a gem. The Elephant Lodge is set right in the middle of a vineyard, with a fantastic view of the valley, the mountains, and a lovely pool.
Upon check-in, we received two bottles of the estate wine. The Sauvignon Blanc was wonderful. Our first morning in Franschhoek was spent driving to Noordhoek beach for a horseback ride. Logistically, this should have been something we experienced while we were staying in Simon’s Town (much closer), but this is one of the things that happens when you book activities from out of the country and are not familiar with the area or the roads. It took us 1:45 to drive to Noordhoek beach, but it was a nice drive through Stellenbosch and along the coast, the roads were good, and we were there by the appointed time of 08:30 for our morning ride.
It was only my sister and myself on the ride, just a two hour jaunt on the beach. It was fun, and despite the drive, we were glad we did it. We had brunch at a nice little cafe right at the farm after the ride.
On the drive to and from Franschhoek, we did pass the Cape Flats area and saw the township area. We were told by locals not to stray off of the N2, but our route took us directly past the area. The photos we got were taken from our moving rental car. We did not see anyone on the road.
After our horseback ride, we relaxed by the pool at the Lodge until our dinner. Dinner was scheduled for 730 PM at The Tasting Room. The Tasting Room in Franschhoek is a world famous dining experience. We made our dinner reservations in December, three months in advance. The place sells out nightly and reservations far in advance are required. We were told to allow 3 1/2 hours for the experience, and we were looking forward to the evening.