Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Fine Time in Franschhoek

Farmland on the outskirts of Franschhoek.
We recently spent two absolutely delightful days exploring Franschhoek (literal translation: the French Corner), reputed to be one of the most picturesque wine valleys in the world. We count ourselves fortunate, as it is only a stone's throw away from where we live. I am not going to elaborate any further, as time is short right now and I do so want to get this post up before bedtime, so for those of you who are interested in finding out more about this South African gem and the history of the French heritage that is still manifestly in evidence today, please go to

I am going to jump right to it and share some of the sights we took usual, between us (my husband and I), we took well over 300 pictures and so, once again, I have had difficulty making my selection. In any case, I will probably need to devote more than one post to this trip, in order to do justice to this idyllic spot. Regular readers of Driftwood Ramblings will know that it is impossible for me to get straight to the point (verbosity is my middle name). I always need to ramble, so in keeping with this trend, the first few pictures I've selected will show you a little of the splendid scenery and sights we admired en route to our destination.

I am unable to convey, adequately, the scale and beauty of these magnificent mountains cradling the lush, grapevine covered valley below. I took so many pictures and found it impossible to select one that would do the scene justice. In the end, I went "eeny meeny minee mo!"

A protea field gracing the foothills of the beautiful mountain in the distance.

By now, those of you who know me, know that I cannot resist exploring old tumbledown ruins...

This one was well-boarded up so I had to content myself with straining over a barbed-wire fence to get these pictures (I took several!)

The garden must have been glorious in its heyday! It was still so beautiful the day we stumbled upon it.

Arum lilies growing enthusiastically amidst a tangle of weeds and other wondrous aged specimens (honeysuckle caught my attention with its heady perfume). The birds were singing ecstactically, convinced they'd finally found paradise.

We cannot resist turning off the beaten track to explore the little never know what exciting things you'll stumble upon!
I wish I were able to share more, but if we don't move on, we'll be stuck at this spot all day. So, I'll skip right ahead to where we stayed and then start showing you around the outskirts of Franschhoek itself...

We spent the night at the Protea Hotel. We we upstairs, overlooking the pool.

Our room was bathed in sunlight when we checked in, mid-afternoon.
There's that smiling man again! After we'd off-loaded our overnight bags,  we headed straight out to do some sightseeing...but not before enjoying a cup of coffee and a pancake at one of the many local restaurants.

I do so love a good pancake!

We stopped to photograph this baboon family enjoying the vista below on our way up the mountain to take a few pictures of the Franschhoek valley.
Historical Franschhoek is the denser housing in the mid-distance. We will take a walk through the village itself when I post next.

This is one of the newer housing developments on the outskirts of the historical village of Franschhoek.

Picturesque farms dot the landscape.

Ascending the lovely pass. We stopped at several places to take in the view below.

Evening was setting in and, with it, the haziness increased.

Franschhoek is completely surrounded by beautiful towering mountains.

The fynbos is at its best tight now. These fat protea buds were caught in the early evening glow.

Looking down the pass (at this point, we were about halfway up).

We stayed to watch the sunset, but because it was very hazy, we were not able to get any worthwhile pictures.
Next up, I'll take you on a walk around the village itself. It really is incredibly pretty and well-worth visiting, so please do come back and join me.


  1. Oh, you are again doing me so much good with these amazing pictures! Thank you for a couple of relaxing moments spend while reading, I am feeling much better now!

  2. Lovely to see you here again my friend! I thought i must just comment before I go to bed!! You are so lucky living close to all these amazing places, and its lovely for us to be able to share in all the beauty with you. Stunning photos, as always. That's a gorgeous photo of you! I don't know what that purple plant is behind you, but we used to have one. It was known as a Japanese Potato Plant! Wish I could have had a pancake with you. Mmmm! Lpoking forward to the next lot of photos. Hugs.

  3. This is such a treat for me to come with you and smiling man on your travels!

    I was curious about the baboons. Do they ever get hostile with strangers? They certainly looked peaceful in your photo.

    The mountains and the lush valley are a delight for the eyes and I can hardly wait to see the town close up! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

  4. A Lovely holiday thanks! I enjoyed the Protea and the Baboons!

  5. Beautiful trip...what a great country that is !! like the Protea....we sell them in our shop...lovely

  6. These pictures are absolutely amazing. Majestic mountains and valleys. You've described everything with such detail I feel as though I'm there. You have a great smile and hubby looks like a sweetie. So glad you shared these with us. Looking forward to more.

  7. Desiree, I never tire of your pictures or your words. They are equally entertaining and educational. You and your husband are excellent photographers. Isn't it wonderful how the decaying, weather beaten ruins of man made structures can be just as pleasing to the eye as natural wonders like mountains, valleys and flowers? I can't wait for the next installment. Thank you very much, dear friend, for another exceptional post!

  8. So glad to see you back! You had me laughing at the picture of the baboon family- I had to wonder if they were sitting there discussing the crazy habits of humans!

    The mountain in the third picture looks like is has been covered by a plush, green blanket. I'm like you about old buildings. Around here, I like to photograph old barns. They are falling apart and are no longer in use but I always find they have such stories to tell.

    Can't wait to visit the village!

  9. Dear Desiree, I'm so looking forward to this journey with you and "Smiling Man." Thanks for posting that photograph of you waiting for your pancake. Now I can picture you when I read your wonderful comments, which I always find so thoughtful and reflective.

    I've never before seen a fynbos plant. It's beautiful.

    And just to show you what I've never learned--I didn't know that South Africa had mountains! You and your blog are teaching me so much. Thank you.

    It's good to have you back!


  10. Thank you once more for this wonderful look at your country! Beautiful mountains and I love the deserted garden.

  11. Oh I have lovely memories of Franschoek, and stayed in a place that looked just like the Protea Hotel (if it was there 38 years ago lol) There was a French chef just starting out his restaurant - only six tables, and you ate what he cooked! I don't think I have ever eaten such a marvelous meal. Your protea photo is exquisite. I cant understand how you stay so trim and look so lovely when you eat all those delicious meals you show! Thanks once again for your ramblings.

  12. Wow what wonderful beautiful photos the hotel looks just great the type of place I would enjoy staying in....

  13. That sounds so wonderful! I always feel as if I could write entire novels about the amazing pictures you take. You're inspiring!

  14. How lovely to see you again, Dear Desiree.
    My husband and I both enjoyed your gorgeous pictures of Franschhoek, Protea. And nice to see you my friend♬♬♬
    Wild Baboons!!! Really surprised me. I do feel jealous to the beautiful spacious housing developments.
    Love and lots of Hugs to you, Orchid*

  15. Again I am stunned by the majesty of the landscapes you are able to capture with a camera! Awed, also, by the baboon family just sitting around, taking in the sights!

    As I've followed your travels these last few months, I am drawn to South Africa as a place I must visit.

    Thank you for opening up my world!

  16. That does it - I spend some time dreaming of where we'll go when The Great Dane is allowed to travel again. Until I started reading your blog SA was never on my radar but now it's at the top. Your photos, one more beautiful than the other, are such a draw. Off to google Protea.....

  17. Such amazing views! I thought the second or third photo would be my favorite, but then there was the great photo of the picturesque farms dotting the mountainous landscape. Enjoyed the baboon family, the little ones looked sweet!

  18. I am always awestruck by the majestic beauty of your country. It blows me away! And the Baboons! HAH!

    Oh, I too, love a good pancake, yummmm.

  19. Oh my God, all I had to do was see the first couple of pictures and stopped wanting to be transported there and never leave. There are no adequate words to describe their beauty. Thank you again sweet friend for making my Monday morning with your talent. I hope you and your family have the most wonderful week.

  20. i waved at you! aren't you a beauty! :)

    your 2nd photo gave me shivers. absolutely gorgeous!!!

  21. What magnificent mountains! I love the scenery around that valley; it is glorious! Your photos are so beautiful, I would love to see what it is like to actually be a part of it!

    I had to laugh at your new housing development. It is so spaced out!! If that were in England, every one of those fields would be packed with half a dozen houses!

  22. Wow! Odie sent me here to check out your beautiful pictures and you didn't disappoint!! Very beautiful. Makes me want to be right there with you. (but that wouldn't be as romantic, would it?)

  23. Thanks so much once again for taking us along on a stunning journey with your husband. Your photos of the breathtaking landscape around you there in South Africa are just wonderful. You look so elegant at the table waiting for your pancake, what a lovely smile you have!

  24. Gosh, my friend - so many comments you have here on this post!! See how people really appreciate you! Just popped by to say thank you for catching up on my posts. I appreciate you taking the time to do that. Yes, I did receive your e-mail, and I was so very pleased to hear from you that all was well - apart from naughty Noodle biting you of course!! Hee Hee! I've been out all day today and will be out again tomorrow, so will reply on Wednesday. Hugs.

  25. This heaven in my eyes, lovely pictures and thank you to Odie who refer me to this blog.I couldn't agree more, I'm rambling and I cant find the right words to describe this beautiful place:)

    I will love spend my weekends close to nature:) perfect for relaxation:)

    Thank you for sharing:)

  26. For now I guess we don't have the right emails for each other.

    Anyhow - your pictures look like it is the most beautiful place on earth.

    You are lucky living by all those amazing places, and its wonderful we can share it with you through your pictures. Stunning photos, as always.

    I enjoyed this very much.


  27. Hey Des!!
    I have missed you so! I have had my share of techno-trouble and have had to cut down my browsing and surfing and blog-reading almost entirely. But now I'm back again!! :D :D

    What lovely, beautiful pictures you have posted. The views are spectacular.. I have a weakness for tumbledown ruins as well, and the best thing about India is that there are plenty of those around.. :D
    Loved the picture of the Baboons. I wonder if they're anything like Indian Monkeys- so used to people that they seldom bother about us though they're often quite happy to pose for a pic? :D
    I love the pic immediately after the baboon pic as well.. The colours are so vivid! Love how the sky is reflected in the water.. :)
    I guess this comment will never end if I go on telling you how amazing each picture is, so I'll stop by simply saying I love them all!
    Love and Bear-hugs!!! :) :)

  28. Oh first foray back to spend some delightful time on your blog and I'm greeted with breathtaking pictures! I really had tears in my eyes thinking of all the beauty your part of the world offers. I loved the family of baboons...they looked like they were taking in the lovely view like the rest of us!

    Hugs and look forward to more tales and views of such a lovely land...

  29. As usual, I loved every single moment. You get me out of the house and show me vista's I would never see in this lifetime. What a glorious place to live. I guess we have beautiful place all over this wonderful world of ours...

    I have to tell you this. I am NOT at all fond of Zoo's and won't visit one. They make me sad..and to see animals in the wild..just enjoying the view as you were..was such a joy!!
    I am looking forward to your next post!
    Love..lots of it..

  30. Beautiful photos Desiree :-) Lovely sceneries. I love the pictures of the mountains - just so beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing. Enjoy your evening!

  31. Hi Desiree, Isn't it nice that you live so close to such a pretty valley. I am not sure who was enjoying the view you or the little band of baboons! The multi-colored fynbos is the most unusual looking flower. Your hotel looks very comfortable. I look forward to the next instalment.

  32. What do you mean no worthwhile pictures? Amazing. The birds did find paradise and those baboon twins--OMG.
    That protea flower or whatever...unbelievable. Thanks for showing me a slice of your paradise!


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