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Franschhoek, a tale of four seasons

Surrounded by the spectacular Dassenberg mountain range, with vineyards as far as the eye can see, and boasting beautiful 17th century Cape Dutch architecture, the picturesque town of Franschhoek – home to Virgin Limited Edition’s Mont Rochelle – makes for the perfect all-year round getaway at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Winelands. With plenty of events taking place, activities to enjoy and attractions to discover, read on to find out all that Franschhoek has to offer throughout the seasons.


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Spring: September to November

With South Africa located in the Southern Hemisphere, the months of September, October and November make up spring. Quieter than the summer months, this season brings clear blue skies, pleasantly warm days and cooler evenings. This time of the year is perfect for exploring the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, located across the valley from Mont Rochelle Hotel. Part of UNESCO’s Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, there are ten well-maintained hiking trails to choose from, ranging from 1km to 13km. Take in the spectacular views, discover a vast range of plants and flowers in full bloom or catch a glimpse of its many bird species, such as eagles, Cape Sugarbirds or malachite sunbirds.

Summer: December to February

December not only marks the start of the summer but also the festive season and the town of Franschhoek transforms with festive decorations aplenty as it gears up to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Visit the local Christmas market to sample local delicacies, browse its beautiful boutiques for gifts or hop on the Wine Tram for the Festival of Lights – a scenic and unique tram ride through the Franschhoek Valley while watching a spectacular light show.

With guaranteed sunshine during January and February, this time of the year is ideal for mornings spent discovering the area’s many vineyards, before returning to Mont Rochelle for lunch and a chilled glass of white wine at the Country Kitchen and spending the afternoon relaxing by the Hotel’s pool enjoying refreshing dips in the water.

Autumn/Fall: March to May

A beautiful, and often quieter time to visit, the area’s vineyards are a riot of colour, with the green leaves on the vines turning into beautiful yellows, oranges and deep reds. The arrival of autumn also means the start of the harvest season across the Cape Winelands, including at Mont Rochelle, where at the crack of dawn a team gathers to handpick the grapes, ready to be turned into award-winning wines.

With autumnal days bringing relief from the summer heat, it’s an ideal time to explore Franschhoek’s beautiful surroundings by bike. From hopping on an e-bike and whizzing around the town’s beautiful streets to challenging mountain-biking trails at the Berg River Conservation Area, there’s a cycling activity to suit everyone.

Winter: June to August

Winter in Franschhoek conjures of images of cosy afternoons spent by the roaring fire at Mont Rochelle Hotel, sipping on a vintage wine or catching up on reading. Or how about escaping to the Hotel’s spa for a warming Hammam experience?

While it may be the quietest time of the year in the Cape Winelands, there is still plenty to keep visitors interested. Join a historical walk of the town and stop by the Huguenot Memorial Museum to gain an insight into the life and culture of the Huguenot settlers who arrived in the area in the late 1600s. Home to 19 galleries, spend a morning discovering interesting works and artists while foodies can join a chocolate making workshop or sample the gastronomic delights during the town’s renowned Bastille Day festival in July – there is never a dull day in this beautiful corner of the Cape Winelands.

Ready to head to Franschhoek? Browse our current offers at Mont Rochelle here.

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