Franschhoek, South Africa

franschhoek_01At the end of February we had some friends get married in South Africa and knowing this might be our last big trip before the little one arrives in May, Reid and I jumped at the chance to take full advantage of a long weekend in one of our favorite places. One of the nice things about traveling to South Africa from London is that you are only one or two hours ahead of your regular timezone and even though it is a long flight (around 11 hours) you don’t suffer from jet lag because there isn’t much of a time difference. So when we landed on a beautiful sunny day in Cape Town, we got into our rental car and headed out to Franschhoek in wine country where we would be staying for the weekend.

franschhoek_02franschhoek_03You may remember our first visit to South Africa when we stayed at Babylonstoren (probably still one of my most favorite places on earth). Unfortunately, it was already booked up when we got around to getting our hotel sorted but we made sure to stop by for a delicious lunch at their green house followed by a wander in the garden and of course checking out their farm and wine shop for goodies to take home. After we tore ourselves away we headed on to Franschhoek, about a 10 minute drive up the rode, and checked into the beautiful Le Franschhoek Hotel which came recommended to us by our friends who were getting married that weekend.


franschhoek_05We lucked out with a seriously stunning view from our hotel room and I loved watching the sky change throughout the day. We could also see the pool from our room and I knew immediately that I wanted to relax there as much as possible. Overall, I was really pleased with the hotel and enjoyed wandering the grounds and soaking up all of the sunshine I could.



The rest of our first afternoon was spent exploring the town of Franschhoek, which is very charming, followed by dinner at the hotel. Other than wedding activities, I knew I wanted to eat at The Table de Meye, a restaurant run by a wife and husband on a wine estate. I came across them through instagram and when they had a spot for lunch available on Saturday, I was so excited to get to go.



Again the weather was absolutely beautiful so they had the different tables set up outside beneath the trees with beautifully mismatched place settings and floral arrangements. It all looked stunning and thought out but not forced. If the food had been sub-par, I still would have been a happy camper because of the setting but everything we ate was beyond excellent. You can see the menu we had that day on their blog here. I think Reid’s favorite dish was the starter of tomatoes on a puff pastry and of course I just about died when the dessert came out- a seriously decadent chocolate mousse.



The rest of our time was spent wine tasting (for Reid, not me unfortunately), being outdoors as much as possible whether this meant having a picnic or taking a dip in the pool and of course, the main event, celebrating our friends’ wedding. It could not have been a more relaxing time and a great final trip as just the two of us. But hopefully one day we can make it back down south for a family trip in the future!




Itinerary: A week long trip in the wine country of South Africa (just outside of Capetown) as a belated 30th birthday celebration.

Travel Time: An 11 hour flight from London to Cape Town followed by a 45 minute drive to our hotel.

Accommodation: The main reason we chose to visit this part of South Africa was because of the hotel Babylonstoren. I had seen it mentioned on a few different blogs and travel guides over the years and had kept it in the back of my mind for when, if ever, we might head to this part of the world. Situated in the Drakenstein valley, Babylonstoren is a hotel, farm and winery all in one. Most of the grounds near the Cape Dutch-style guest cottages have been cultivated into beautiful gardens. It is really one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever been.

Highlight(s): Being my first time to set foot anywhere on the continent of Africa, I had high hopes for this trip and it did not disappoint. The beautiful weather, abundant sunshine and hospitality of everyone we met certainly helped, but the real winner of the trip was where we stayed. My favorite thing to do was take a lazy late afternoon walk through the expansive gardens. You might come across the chickens headed to the hen house for the evening, guests enjoying a cup of herbal tea in the greenhouse or maybe stumble upon a new section of the garden you had not explored yet. Most days were filled with grabbing breakfast at Babel (the restaurant on the grounds and where most of the edible things from the garden ares used), followed by a run or maybe a swim in the pool and a massage in the spa, then off to explore either a nearby winery or drive to the beach or Cape Town. And in the evenings when we returned to our cottage, we were always greeted with a lovely aperitif before heading out to grab dinner.

One evening when we came back to our cottage, we opened the door and were greeted by an owl that had somehow managed to fly down the chimney into our room! I, very bravely, ran as fast as I could out of there! The poor little thing was more frightened than anything and eventually we managed to open the back door to the cottage while it was hiding under a table and it flew out on its own.

It was hard to say goodbye to this place once it was time to leave but if we ever find ourselves in South Africa again, I definitely plan to stop by for even if just for a little visit.


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*shot on a Rolleiflex with Kodak Ektar & Portra 800*

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