The Franschhoek wine tram for wine lovers

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During our most recent family holiday, we explored the Western Cape Region. One experience we wanted to do was the Franschhoek wine tram.

Getting to Franschhoek

Franschhoek is a small village in South Africa, about 90 minutes from Cape Town.

The easiest way to get to Franschhoek is by car. We rented one from Cape Town International Airport, and it was an easy drive to Franschhoek. It is a scenic drive with the vineyards and beautiful mountains surrounding the road.

An alternative way to get there is to arrange for a transfer when booking your wine tram tours. The wine tram website offers transfers at a rate of R550 per person.

Looking for hotels and AirBnB in Franschhoek?

There are many options for accommodation in Franschhoek – take a look at this map to see what your options are!

What is the Franschhoek wine tram?

Although the website states that it is a wine tram, this is not completely true. Depending on the wine estates you choose to visit, transport will involve using both a traditional tram and a trolley bus. The trolley busses are something in-between a typical bus and a safari type of vehicle. Although this may sound a little bit dangerous, it is quite safe.

Franschhoek Wine Tram - vintage tram

The wine tram itself only runs between Rickey Bridge and Grand Provence. So, make sure Rickety Bridge is one of your stops.

Routes of the Franschhoek wine tram

The routes seem to be regularly updated. While I was doing my research for our trip, I noticed that other bloggers spoke about there being only two routes, but when we arrived in Franschhoek, we could choose from 5 different routes (blue, green, red, purple and yellow). There is some overlap between the routes, which make it a bit easier to choose the route featuring the vineyards that you want to visit.

When you book your tickets, you also get a brochure with details of each vineyard and the times that the trolley bus will be stopping there.

Booking the tickets for the Franschhoek wine tram

It is possible to buy the tickets for the Franschhoek wine tram online on the Franschhoek Wine Tram website. Since we did not know which route we wanted to take, we decided just to buy it in Franschhoek.

We arrived in Franschhoek on a Sunday and drove through the village. Franschhoek is not a large place, and it took less than 10 minutes to drive through the main area. Sundays seem busy; there were cars parked in almost every parking spot we saw. Franschhoek is considered the culinary capital of South Africa by many people. It has a large variety of well-known and highly-rated restaurants, which are popular over weekends.

We eventually managed to find a parking spot almost in front of the Franschhoek Wine Tram ticket booth! While planning our trip, we had decided that we should speak to the cashier about the different routes as we were not sure which route would be best for us. We did not know any of the wine estates and had never tried any of their wines before. The cashier asked us what types of wines we liked. We told her we loved light, fruity wines and she suggested taking the red line. So, we bought the red line tickets for the next day.

Starting the tour

The next morning our tour was due to start at 10:30, so we decided that it would be a good idea to have breakfast first. Drinking wine on an empty stomach is never a good idea!

When we booked the tickets, we were given red stickers to identify us as taking the red tour. The tours depart from the ticket booth and our trolley bus arrived right on time.

We boarded the trolley bus and sat right in the back to allow us to take photos without being in anyone’s way.

Tip 1: Take a jacket with!

Even though it was just the start of autumn, the Western Cape is known for its windy and unpredictable weather. Standing still and walking around were pleasant, but sitting on the trolley bus without any sides or windows was freezing! Always take a jacket with!

Lucky we had brought jackets even though we had thought it was not necessary. We were pleased that we did!