South Africa is a big country, and even our little corner of the Overberg and surrounds can involve a fair amount of travelling. But there is a wealth of exploring to be done, and an incredible variety of experiences await you in the course of a longish drive.
In this series of blogs on interesting things to do in and around Oppiedam Family Cabins, the drives in these posts will each involve about 2 to 4 hours of travelling in total, and each will provide a most interesting experience. Of course, your travel times will be influenced by how often you stop to admire the view!
Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch:
± 3 hours round trip (214km)
These three towns are virtually right next to each other, almost flowing together. Of which the first town you will reach is Franschhoek, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from Oppiedam Cabins, via the beautiful Franschhoek pass. Possibly one of the most scenic drives in the Western Cape.
From the Meerenbosch entrance, drive along the concrete road to the T-junction with the tar road, and find your way through Fisherhaven to the R43. Turn left here and follow this road to the turn-off onto the N2, travelling east towards Caledon, Swellendam and George.
About 8 km along the N2 you will notice a turnoff to Villersdorp. Take this turn and travel about 30km. You will pass the Theewaterskloof dam, arriving at a T-junction. To the right, Villiersdorp is about a kilometre down the road, explore there by all means. But your route is to the left. About 11 km along, the road swings to the right (left takes you back to the N2 via Grabouw and Elgin). The road skirts the Theewaterskloof dam and then climbs up the scenic Franschhoek mountains. From the top of the pass, the route offers repeated dramatic views of Franschhoek down in the valley.
Down to "floor" level, you will come to the Huguenot memorial and museum - worth a visit - and there you will turn right into the main road through Franschhoek. Some boutique shops and interesting eateries dot the main road.
After passing through the town centre, you will encounter wine farms on each side of the road - stop off at any you fancy and taste their wines, the Franschhoek Motor Museum situated on the beautiful L’Ormarins estate is a personal favourite.
About 10 km from the town centre is a turn-off to your left. This leads to Stellenbosch over the Helshoogte pass. If you were to travel straight on, you would come to Paarl. Turn left leads over the pass to Stellenbosch. And just after you have turned left, you will come to the entrance to Boschendal, this wine estate makes a point of being very welcoming. A fantastic setting to take the family for a leisurely picnic, with the estate's picturesque mountain views and a shared basket filled with delicious food, the setting is hard to beat.