Less than an hour from Cape Town can the beautiful rolling hills of the Winelands be found. And in the small colonial town of Franschhoek, you will find one of the best wine experiences in South Africa. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is the perfect way to visit the stunning wine estates of the area while enjoying some magnificent views of the landscapes. We have put together this ultimate guide to the Franschhoek Wine Tram to help you make the most of this amazing experience. Read along for a breakdown of a day on Franschhoek Wine Tram.
Franschhoek Wine Tram
Franschhoek Wine Tram is a hop-on-hop-off experience, which makes it perfect for visiting wine estates in the Winelands. This will allow you to hop on and off as you like along the route, experience the different activities the estates offer, and then hop back on the tram to continue your tour. This hop-on-hop-off experience will therefore allow you to plan your day on the Wine Tram just as you like. The number of wine estates you visit, how much time you spend on the wine estates, what you eat, what you drink, and the activities you partake in are all up to you – As long as you follow the line schedules. If you end up buying wine along the route it will be stored for you at the tram station, where you’ll pick it up at the end of the day. That way you are able to enjoy your day without struggling with several cases of wine. Therefore, you can enjoy your journey with the Franschhoek Wine Tram to the fullest.
Picking your route for the Wine Tram in Franschhoek
When you are joining a tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram you must pick a line – this can be quite confusing at first. There are 5 different routes on the Wine Tram. These routes are going in both directions, which means that there are a total of 10 lines to choose from. The lines are all color-coordinated to make it easier for you to figure out.
|Route 1||Route 2||Route 3||Route 4||Route 5|
|Pink Line||Blue Line||Yellow Line||Purple Line||Navy Line|
|Grey Line||Green Line||Red Line||Orange Line||Burgundy Line|
As you can see in the table Route 1 consists of the pink line and the gray. This means that the two lines visit the same wine estates but that the order differs according to which of the two lines you choose. And it works the same way for the rest of the routes.
Before you choose a specific line, we highly recommend you read about the different wine estates and the different activities they offer. The activities are especially important to check out beforehand, as some of them require booking. It is also very good to consult the timetable of your chosen line and then plan your day around it, as you are most likely not able to visit every estate on the line. You can read more about the wine estates, their activities, and the timetable on the website of the Wine Tram right here.
A day on the orange line of the Franschhoek Wine Tram
During our journey with the Franschhoek Wine Tram, we went on the orange line. We chose this line as we heard that the landscapes and architecture were stunning. And it did not disappoint! Each of the lines on the wine tram has about 8 to 11 stops. But as mentioned earlier it might be difficult to squeeze in each stop. However, if you decide on skipping tours and just focus on the tastings you might be able to visit more wine estates. We would recommend that you pick between 3 to 5 of the estates that you want to visit along the route. This will give you a more relaxed day. We had chosen 4 wine estates but ended up changing the plan and visiting 5 of the wine estates. Below we have broken down our day on the orange line of the Wine Tram.
Your journey on the orange line with the Wine Tram will start at Franschhoek Terminal. This is located in Franschhoek and can easily be reached by walking. However, if you are not keen on walking you can join a shuttle. This departs from the ticket counter on the main street in Franschhoek.
Once arrived at the Franschhoek Terminal you will collect your tickets and then drive with another shuttle to Groot Drakenstein Terminal. It is also possible to drive by yourself to Groot Drakenstein Terminal, but we would recommend you join the shuttle. That way you do not have to drive with alcohol in your blood after your trip with the wine tram.
From Groot Drakenstein Terminal you embark on the Wine Tram toward your first wine estate.
Stop 1 – Plaisir de Merle
The first stop on the orange line of the Wine Tram is Plaisir de Merle. Here we chose to hop off the wine tram. Plaisir is a smaller wine estate with very cozy seating areas – both inside and outside. We opted for their gin tasting and a cocktail and it did not disappoint. It was well served, and the beautiful settings made it a perfect start to the journey.
We arrived at Plaisir de Merle at 09:46 and hopped back on the wine tram at 10:46. During our 1-hour visit, we shared a cocktail and a gin tasting of 3 and went on a short walk before heading back to the tram.
Stop 2 – Noble Hill Wine Estate
The second stop on the orange line is Noble Hill Wine Estate. We also chose to jump off the tram here. Like Plaisir, this is also one of the smaller wine estates. It was very beautiful with a pond and stunning views. We arrived at Noble Hill at 11:00 and spent an hour wine tasting before heading back on the tram at noon. It started raining doing our visit, which is why we spent all our time inside the tasting room – which was lovely. However, even with better weather an hour is a good amount of time spent at Noble Hill Wine Estate.
Stop 3 – Babylonstoren
The third stop of the day is Babylonstoren. This wine estate was the main reason why we chose the orange line (you can also visit on the purple line). You can easily spend your whole day at Babylonstoren. Their gardens are said to be stunning, the restaurants incredible, and the atmosphere magical. We had high hopes for this wine estate. But unfortunately, the rain changed our plans. We arrived with the wine tram at 12:09 and embarked back at 14:09. We really wanted to visit the gardens, but it was raining too much. Therefore, we ended up peeking down the wine cellar and visiting their small wine museum – which was quite fascinating. Afterward, we went to their amazing tasting room. Here we each had a wine tasting of 4 wines and shared a delicious platter.
Because we only visited for the tasting and museum, we found that 2 hours was a bit too much time – but an hour wouldn’t have been enough. If you want to stroll around the gardens, you should definitely set aside 3 hours for your visit to Babylonstoren. This was the amount of time we had planned to use at the estate. But with the change of plans, we were able to squeeze in one more wine estate.
Stop 4 – Anura Vineyards
The fourth stop on the orange line of the Franschhoek Wine Tram is Anura Vineyards. We decided to skip this stop.
Stop 5 – Bacco Estate Winery
Bacco Estate Winery is the fifth stop on the orange line. We skipped this wine estate as it was closed when we visited.
Stop 6 – Vrede en Lust
The sixth stop on the Wine Tram’s orange line is Vrede en Lust. This wine estate was the one that we decided to add to our plans. We arrived at the estate at 14:58 and spent an hour before hopping back on the wine tram at 15:58. During our visit we shared a wine tasting of 5 wines and stopped by their delicious bakery. This was our least favorite wine estate along the route. It seemed a bit more commercial, and it wasn’t as cozy a setting as we had experienced at the other estates. Therefore, we would actually recommend you skip this estate and use your extra hour at Boschendal – but more on that later.
Stop 7 – Plaisir de Merle
The seventh stop on the orange line is Plaisir de Merle. As we had already visited earlier in the day we didn’t hop off at this stop. However, if we could change something we would have waited with Plaisir. So that we had visited at the seventh stop instead of as the first stop of the day. This is because of our gin tasting. It was very good, but they were very generous with the servings – which we absolutely do not mind. But maybe it was a bit too spirited start to the day. Therefore, it might be better to visit on the seventh stop if you intend on tasting gin.
Stop 8 – Boschendal Wine Estate
The eighth stop of the day on the orange line of the Franschhoek Wine Tram is Boschendal Wine Estate. We arrived at the last drop-off at 16:21 and took the last pick-up of the day at 17:21. This meant we had an hour for our visit. We spent the time on a shared wine tasting and platter in their courtyard. The setting at Boschendal is incredible – sipping on wine underneath a huge tree you are able to look at the stunning Cape Dutch buildings and the magnificent mountains in the background. It is just beautiful. We could easily have spent an extra hour exploring the estate. This is why we would recommend you skip Vrede en Lust and use the extra time right here at Boschendal. You will not regret it.
Stop 9 – Solms-Delta
The ninth and last stop on the orange line of the Franschhoek Wine Tram is Solms-Delta. As you may have figured we did not visit this wine estate. However, we have heard a lot of good things about this smaller family-owned estate. So, if you have the time, it should definitely be on your list.
Franschhoek Wine Tram budget
The cost of your journey with the Franschhoek Wine Tram depends a lot on your choices along the way. The biggest post in your budget will probably be if you purchase wine. For our trip on the wine tram, we were 2 people who shared a lot of the tastings. It was only at Babylonstoren that we had a tasting each. Below we have broken down our wine tram budget – Excluding wine purchases.
|Wine Tram||560 ZAR|
|Plaisir gin tasting||150 ZAR|
|Plaisir cocktail||90 ZAR|
|Noble hill wine tasting||80 ZAR|
|Entrance fee at Babylonstoren||40 ZAR|
|Babylonstoren wine tasting||180 ZAR|
|Fish platter at Babylonstoren||320 ZAR|
|Wine tasting at Vrede en Lust||60 ZAR|
|Boschendal wine tasting||85 ZAR|
|Bread platter at Boschendal||75 ZAR|
|TOTAL FOR 2 PEOPLE||1.640 ZAR|
Tips for a day on the wine tram in Franschhoek
For you to get as much out of your journey with Franschhoek Wine Tram we have gathered a few tips. Hopefully, they are useful to you!
- Start early: It is possible to join a tour on the wine tram from 09:30 to 13:30. But even if wine right after breakfast isn’t so tempting it is well worth it to get an early start on your day. The earlier you start the more wine estates you might visit – or a more stress-free day you encounter.
- Pre-book activities: A lot of the activities on the wine estates require pre-booking. This is also the case if you want lunch at one of the restaurants on the wine estates. We did not do any pre-booked activities on our wine tram trip. However, if you want a cellar tour or one of the tastings paired with cheese, chocolate, or fudge you need to pre-book this directly with the wine estate.
- Prioritize your time: If you join the wine tram without a plan the time will slip through your fingers. Therefore, you must plan your visit and prioritize the wine estates you want to visit. For our visit, we had prioritized 4 of the estates and ended up having time for a visit to an extra one. But without a plan, it might be a bit confusing on the day – especially after a few glasses of wine.
Franschhoek Wine Tram tickets
The prices of a ticket to the Franschhoek Wine Tram can be seen in the table below.
|Type of ticket||Price|
|Child (3 to 17 years)||90 ZAR|
|Children under 3 years||Free|
Keep in mind: The wine-tasting fees at each estate are not included in the ticket price.
When you are joining the Franschhoek Wine Tram for a day it is a very good idea to book your ticket in advance. Especially in the summer months when it is peak season for tourists. This can easily be done online right here. The only thing to keep in mind is that you must arrive at the tram station 15 minutes before departure to collect your pre-booked tickets.