There are some pretty incredible ways to explore the winelands around South Africa — from tuk-tuk rides to buses to bicycles — but doing it on-board an old-timey tram? Now that sounds like a blast! The Franschhoek Wine Tram is many a wine lover’s favourite form of transportation around the winelands and now the clever sausages behind this wine focused mode of transport have levelled up the experience with two brand-new lines and a host of new wines farm to discover. The new Pink and Grey lines offer new wine tram guests even more trip options to consider when exploring the wine tram routes, and are also a welcomed addition to the service for those who have experienced the wine tram before.
The hop-on hop-off tram is undoubtedly the best way to explore the Franschhoek Valley and now guests have a total of eight lines to choose from, each line visiting eight wine estates to showcase a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley. The brand-new Pink and Grey line tram offers a more intimate tram experience with space for 32 passengers on-board a vintage brill tram (or the ‘baby tram’), compared to the larger double decker tram which accommodates 76 passengers.
For this super fun experience, a combination of tram and tram-bus transports passengers around a loop of stops, allowing them to hop off at places they want to visit for a wine tasting, cellar tour, lunch, or just a stroll through the vineyards. When they are ready, they simply need to hop back on a tram to continue the tour. It’s a great way for a big group to get around the valley without having to nominate a designated driver and the tram’s open sides offer the perfect opportunity to marvel at the breathtakingly beautiful mountain and vineyard scenery as you amble along the track. The vibe on-board the tram is fun and educational as the history of the town and wine cultivation in the valley is narrated to the tram passengers as you travel towards your next destination.
The tour starts and ends at the ticket office located in the centre of the Franschhoek Village and the new Pink and Grey routes offers stops at the likes of Eikehof, Haute Cabrière, Franschhoek Cellar, Leopards Leap, Le Lude, Môreson, and Paserene. Guests can choose a combination of six per journey, depending on what time you start the route. We’d recommend starting as early as possible. A start time of about 10:00 should give you enough time to do about 5 farms at a relatively relaxed pace, with a quick lunch in-between. The new, more intimate routes, are a great choice for those wanting to get away from the crowds of the bigger tram offering which can get quite busy on weekends and during the holiday season. With space for just 32 passengers on-board the tram at any given time you don’t feel as rushed for wine tastings or crowded getting off at the same wine farm with all the other passengers.
Situated high on the slopes of the Middagkrans Mountain, overlooking the Franschhoek Wine Valley, Haute Cabrière is indeed a highlight of this exciting new tour. The winery specialises in wines produced from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varietals and their Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir and Pierre Jourdan Tranquille are fan favourites well worth tasting. As a popular, family-orientated destination, Leopard’s Leap is another highlight on the route for those with a modern, adventurous palate. Here foodies can indulge their senses and tastes while enjoy a selection of food and wine pairings while taking in majestic mountain views. Eikehof is also a popular choice for those looking for a more boutique winery experience. Here you’ll most likely have your wine tasting led by the owners themselves and the farm lends itself to big groups looking for a relaxed atmosphere.
For those trying the wine tram for the first time it’s important to remember to book online before arriving to avoid disappointment (the routes sell out very quickly). If you’re enjoying the experience with friends or a partner, consider sharing some of the earlier wine tastings in the day between two people. The pouring is often quite generous and it’s a long day of wine tasting if you fit in five or six farms. Ensure you take plenty of water along with you to sip on throughout the day and try to fit in the time to enjoy a big breakfast before hopping on the wine tram so you’re prepared for all the delicious wines you will be sampling before stopping for lunch at one of the farms.
Having lunch at the third or fourth farm is a good idea and will insure you have enough time to fit in another farm or two after lunch, depending on how long you stop at each spot. In order to avoid disappointment it’s best to make lunch reservations at least 24 hours before your tram experience. Consider planning your stops ahead of time (with some flexibility factored in) and decide where you’d like to have lunch. Wine tram guests are also welcome to buy their favourite wines from the farms along the way and leave it with the tram driver. The tour uses a sticker system to keep track and guests can collect their wine at the ticket office at the end of the tour.
Tickets for the Franschhoek Wine Tram are R240 per adult and R90 per child (age 3-17). Wine tasting fees at each estate are not included in the tour price and you can expect to pay between R25 and R75 per person at each farm. When booking online through the Franschhoek Wine Tram website guests can also opt to book a transfer from Cape Town at an additional fees to ensure they get home safely after an exciting day of wine tasting.
For more information and to book your wine tram tour now visit the Franschhoek Wine Tram website.