Le Famished Cat

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 1
Lifestyle,  Travel

The Franschhoek Wine Tram

A review on The Franschhoek Wine Tram in Stellenbosch, Cape Town. Towards the end of December, I headed to Cape Town with a group of friends for New Years. The best part about it – one of my besties from the UK came down too. We had a mere five days to see each other and in and amongst the catching up – everybody had an agenda of things they wanted to do.

Holidaying with ten people meant it was difficult to agree on what to do, which resulted in a lot of splitting up throughout the trip. We had all agreed one experience though – the Franschoek Wine Tram.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram

Hardly any of us are in this picture because…well you will find out soon enough….

Before we go any further, if you are expecting an in depth wine review, click away. This is more about a story about friends, reunited on a tram, drinking wine. Now that that’s out the way, proceed.

All aboard the Franschoek Wine Tram

Who can possibly say no to a tram, which goes from wine farm to wine farm, while passing breathtaking scenery and picturesque vineyards? All that you really have to do is pick your preferred wine route, sit back and enjoy the rolling mountains.

Franschhoek Wine Tram

Pick a Line – Any Line

Franschhoek Wine Tram currently offers eight hop-on, hop-off lines to choose from. Each line visits eight wine estates and will show you a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.

We selected the Orange Line, which included a journey on a double-decker railway tram and a tram-bus. The tour stops at Noble Hill, Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Vrede en Lust, Plaisir de Merle, Allee Bleue, Solms Delta and Boschendal.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 5

Red Bus Tour Vs Direct Booking

The cost of our tour was R520 because we choose to book through the Red Bus City Sightseeing company as we didn’t want to drive to Franschhoek if we were drinking. We selected the V&A as our pick up point and boarded the red bus. I highly recommend this option because of the following reasons:

  1. You get a knowledgeable Red Bus Tour guide, who gives you some really interesting information about Cape Town along the way – from industries to fauna, wine to cheese, our guide had a plethora of information
  2. The Red Bus is air-conditioned and has Wi-Fi – something I was super happy about because our Airbnb rental didn’t have either
  3. We were able to drink and not worry about driving
  4. It would have been more expensive to Uber to Franschoek

However, if you would prefer to book directly with the Wine Tram (R240), and drive there / Uber you can of course do so too.  

Franschhoek Wine Tram

Starting off the day

After about a 40 minute bus drive, which was extremely comfortable – we arrived at the Wine Tram Station (Franschoek Square). As soon as we saw the tram, we all got excited – it was a beautiful green and gold colour, with large open windows.

On the Orange route, you alternate between an open-air tram bus, as certain routes are off the path of the tram. However, this shouldn’t deter you as the bus looks exactly like the tram from the inside – and to be honest when you are drinking wine to your heart’s content – it isn’t the biggest concern. We hoped on the open-air tram-bus for the first stop and headed to Allée Bleue.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 8

Allée Bleue

Our tour guide was Rael, who aside from having a ton of information about each wine farm was also very hilarious. As soon as we got to the first farm – half of our group decided to head in and get testing. The other half (me) decided I needed breakfast before wine, so we headed straight to their bistro to line our tummies. Bistro at Allée Bleue has something for everyone’s taste buds. It offers an à la carte menu and is open for breakfast and lunch. We all had an egg breakfast and some of Allee Bleue’s champagne too kick the day off.

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After about 35 minutes, a tram-bus picked us up and we met up with the other half of our crew, who seemed to have already enjoyed quite a lot of the wine on offer.  Then we were off again, whizzing through the beautiful countryside and valleys making our next stop at Solms Delta.

Solms Delta

This second stop was a fascinating wine farm and had a museum on the premises, with all kinds of information about the first inhabitants of the area and the heritage that comes with it. At every stop, there is an opportunity to do a wine tour of the farms, however I would advise booking beforehand.

We sat down under the shade of a beautiful tree and started our first wine tasting together. Over the course of about 45 minutes, we ‘sampled’ (I use that term loosely our waitress was very generous) their Sharaz, Rose and Chenin Blanc and then on to their famous Africana.

This bottle of vino contains a whopping 15% alcohol content! I am no wine connoisseur, so please excuse my description, but it tasted if cherries, was woody and divine.  It is by far the best wine we tasted on the tour and we all purchased a bottle to take home.

Solms Delta Wine

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The Franschhoek Wine Tram 15

It was at this point that things started to get a little foggy. We all got up to pay and to catch the next tram, but we didn’t all end up on the tram. Half of the group got distracted by the vineyard. Me, being one of the most punctual people you will ever meet was on the bus-tram, ready for the next stop.

So, we What’s App’d each other – ‘See you at the next farm’?

Little did we know it was going to be impossible to catch up with each other on this tour – especially when drinking!  Once you get off at a wine estate, it is, depending on the route you have chosen, either one hour or 35 minutes before the next bus or tram collects you.

You can of course stay for an additional hour or two at any of the wineries, but this means you’ll need to forfeit another winery along the way.

We stopped at Nederburg to drop some other tram patrons and some new guests got on. As we headed off from Nederburg, Rael asked – Did you enjoy the tour so far?, and I was tipsy at this point and screamed ‘YES, amazing,’ only to realise that he was talking to the people who had just got on. The tram exploded in hysterical laughter.

Vrede en Lust

We had made a booking beforehand at Vrede en Lust for lunch for 12, but now there were only seven of us. Vrede en Lust was the most beautiful estate in terms of scenery for me. As we got there, Raul warned us that he had a twin brother who would be taking over the tour and that we shouldn’t be alarmed and think that we were seeing double. We headed to our table, but I was distracted and stopped halfway to watch a chef make beetroot buns.

Eventually, we sat down to order our meals – I had fishcakes and some sort of salsa.

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Someone else had a burger – I am not sure who but I snapped this picture of it.

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I needed a break from all the wine so I ordered a gin slush, which was very refreshing.

Shaun and I had ants in our pants and needed to see Vrede en Lust, so we started walking around their beautiful gardens.  I stood in awe at the mountains and especially the way their fancy doorway frames the spectacular view. If you have a few hundred thousands floating around, it really recommend this spot as a wedding venue!

Vrede en Lust

Le Famished Cat

I tried again to call our friends – but they were definitely sloshed now (George was rattling on about making new friends and was not listening to a word I was saying). I tried to tell them we were heading off and they said they would try to meet at the next farm.

At this point I had given up hope as it was like trying to herd cats.


We jumped on the tram and headed to Babylonstoren.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 23


To be honest the only reason I wanted to go there was that I wanted to see their massive cactus garden. 😅 Shoot me – I am a sucker for beautiful succulents and cactuses pictures.

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Nobody else understood my fascination with these plants and wanted to drink first – so we started with another five tasting glasses.

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Franschhoek Wine Tram

Once the wine tasting was over, everyone agreed it was time to see the famous garden I had been rambling on about. On the way we saw some beautiful lavender gardens, a veggie garden as well as their famous restaurant Babel.

But, we soon realised we would never make it back in time to catch the tram back if we went to see these Cactus. (the tram is very strict with time and will leave you behind). With only a few minutes to spare, we started running back – which was quite hysterical because of all the wine we consumed.

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Halfway back to the tram, we found bikes, which distracted us for a further five minutes.

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Eventually, we found our way back to the tram (this wine farm is HUGE) and low and behold, Rael’s identical twin brother Robin welcomed us on board.  He took us to the tram and it was time to make our way back.

Even on the way home we were treated to beautiful scenery and views, as well as some very tipsy antics from fellow wine tram patrons.

Then somewhere between Babelonsteren and the station – we bumped into our long lost friends. We all just started laughing at how hilarious it had been to try and find each other and discussed at length what wines we had tasted. We had apparently missed the best fudge tasting at Plaisir de Merle. I made a mental note that I had to do this route again.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 34

After we arrived at the station, we boarded the Red Bus back to the V&A..and within a few minutes everyone fell asleep. Well, almost everybody.


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For me – the Franschhoek Wine Tram experience is an absolute must if you are in Cape Town. Awesome memories made and I would highly recommend booking this tour on your next visit to Cape Town!

Thank you Wine Tram People! It was EPIC. 😁

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Read another Cape Town travel review here: {Travel} Cape Town in 72 Hours

The Franschhoek Wine Tram 40

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