Three weeks before our wedding, I decided we needed a little downtime together and planned a little getaway to Chamonix Wine Estate in Franschoek. I love nothing more than slipping away for a sneaky weekend; it does something for the soul. Franschoek is the perfect place to go when you wanting a time-out from the big city and at less than an hour away, it’s an easy drive even for one night. I love the charm and quaintness that Franschoek has, not to mention the fabulous wine farms and of course Hugenout Chocolate Shop (no trip is complete without a visit to select some delicacies!)
We booked two nights in the Forest Suites at Chamonix. Tucked away in the forest over looking a beautiful dam, surrounded by zebras, Springboks, wildebeest and a few eland, it’s like a little piece of heaven. My best part? Waking up and sitting on the patio in the crisp morning air with a cup of tea watching the zebras grazing a few metres away.
The room was very spacious with a comfy king sized bed and fireplace, although as an animal lover and vegetarian, the buck heads mounted on the walls were not my ideal choice of decor… The fireplace was great and put to very good use as the rooms are quite chilly. Fluffy towels and puffy pillows are a must for me and they ticked both boxes. As these rooms are not bed and breakfast, after our morning coffee (as a coffee snob, I was rather disappointed to only find sachets of Ricoffy available), we trotted off to Cafe Franschoek for DELICIOUS coffee and biscotti (bonus!) and a spot of breakfast.
As we both love the outdoors, we left breakfast in search of the Info Centre where we could purchase a permit to hike in the Mount Rochelle Nature Reserve (you need this to get into the reserve) It cost R40 per person plus the R15 map, which you’ll definitely need as the routes aren’t that well marked. There are a number of hikes on offer, varying in difficulty – we went for the Breakfast Rock/Uitkyk trail, approximately 2 hours and a decent hike for a fairly fit person, although we did get a bit lost so I don’t think we did the conventional route you the map suggests! After cleaning ourselves up, we were starving and ready for some wine tasty. We settled on Rickey Bridge as it is close to Chamonix and they have great wines – their Foundation Stone Rose was a firm favourite for me (and I loved their funky pink labels). The farm is beautiful and sitting on the patio, we had a lovely view of the mountains we had just scaled. They have delicious cheese platters on offer and there was more than enough for the two of us to share and be very satisfied afterwards. We would usually venture to more than one wine farm but as their tasting room was on the rather generous side, we decided that in order to make our dinner reservation, best we leave it at one!
When staying in Franschoek, our go-to restaurant is Allora for their delicious and indulgent pastas. They recently relocated to the centre of town and have gone with a more modern feel than their previous location which had a more homely, cosy feel to it but the food is still just as tasty and makes for a lovely date night.
I cannot wait to go back to Chamonix for another sneaky weekend away and would definitely recommend visiting. I would be keen to try one of their other rooms on offer although it would be hard not to go back to the Forest Suites! At R700 per room per night, it makes for a very affordable night or two away even if Franschoek itself is on the pricer side.