Explore One of South Africa’s Best Wine Regions by Tram

Each tram loops around eight to nine Franschhoek Valley wineries a day.

Franschhoek Wine Tram

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Drive an hour east of Cape Town and find yourself in the green, rolling hills of the Franschhoek Valley, what many consider to be the food and wine capital of South Africa. There are 45 wineries sprinkled across the cozy town, many of which were founded over 300 years ago after French Huguenot refugees settled in the Western Cape and brought along their agricultural practices. 

Those historic wineries, known for their full-bodied reds like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon as well popular South African specialties like Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, put Franschhoek on the map. Now, you could select one or two wineries to drive to, pacing out the tastings to safely (and legally) get home. Or you can splurge and Uber from place to place; however, ride shares can be far and few between outside of the city center. Luckily, there is a more convenient form of transportation that has become essential to fully experiencing this underrated wine region: the Franschhoek Wine Tram.

Franschhoek Wine Tram

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For only 280 rand (about 16 USD), you can purchase a ticket to one of the eight hop-on-hop-off-trains, each with its own specific route. Every tram starts the same way: Guests are picked up at the terminal, where they can grab a coffee and beignet. Then, each tram loops around eight to nine wineries from morning to early evening, allowing every rider to choose their own adventure. 

Some may want to select three to four wineries along the chosen route, and some may aim to pack in as many stops as possible. Some may set their focus on the wine tastings (which typically cost around 50 rand (3 USD) per winery). Some may tack on any and all unique activities offered, like a private game drive at Chamonix Wine Farm, horse-drawn carriage rides at Vrede en Lust, or high tea at Le Lude. You’re always welcome to stop for lunch at Klein Goederust for a spitbraai (a South African-style barbecue), or walk through the Pigcasso gallery full of paintings by, the one and only, Pigcasso the Pig. 

Cape Winelands in South Africa

Konstantin Kalishko / Getty Images

If you extend your time on the tram itself, you can enjoy the guided narration about the history of Franchhoek’s wine region and the gorgeous, mountainous scenery. No matter the stops taken along the way, the Franschhoek wine tram is the most convenient and accessible way to take a deep dive into South African wine culture.

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