All Aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram – Touropia Travel

If there is one activity you can’t miss in the Cape Winelands, it’s the Franschhoek Wine Tram. The concept is simple: You hop on an open-air tram and make your way through the Winelands of Franschhoek, stopping at various wine farms, attractions, and restaurants along the way.

Franschhoek is a small town in the Cape Winelands that was established by French Huguenot settlers in the 1600s. One of the oldest towns in the province, Franschhoek is a quaint town known for its rich French heritage and wine industry. Scattered with fragrant lavender, French-inspired architecture, and rolling hills as far as the eyes can see, it’s not hard to see why the town is one of the most popular destinations for a day trip from Cape Town.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is one of the town’s most enchanting modes of transportation. Whether you enjoy a good glass of pinotage, a delicious meal under century-old oak trees, or a bumpy ride through the rugged Winelands, this immersive experience promises a day of indulgence and excitement.

Getting to the Tram

Views from Boschendal

Franschhoek is about a fifty-minute drive from Cape Town along the N1 highway and can be reached easily by car or Uber.

An Uber or private driver could cost anywhere from R400 to R600, the equivalent of $20 to $30 in each direction. Ubers are safe and convenient in Cape Town. That said, if you’re visiting for the day, getting an Uber from Franschhoek back into Cape Town might be a bit more challenging. My advice is to grab the number of the Uber that drops you in Franschhoek and ask whether they can drive you back into the city later in the day.

The tram has two terminals from which trams and buses depart. The Franschoek terminal is the most popular and is located on the corner of Main Road and Cabriere Street in the center of the town. This terminal services the Blue, Pink, and Red Lines and curated wine experiences – to be discussed later.

The other terminal is located in the Groot Drakenstein, on the corner of the R310 Main Road and R45 Groot Drakenstein, at the intersection between Franschhoek, Stellebosch, and Paarl (the three main winemaking towns of the Western Cape).

The Hop-On/ Hop-Off Experience

The Gardens of Franschhoek

The hop-on / hop-off experience is the tram’s most popular offering. It allows you to visit a range of farms depending on what you’re looking for, spend as long as you like exploring your favorite farms, and skip out the attractions that don’t interest you as much.

The tram operates daily, with different departure times depending on your chosen route and the season. Five different ‘lines’ run throughout the area, each visiting a selection of wine farms and estates in various parts of the Franschhoek Valley. The lines are distinguished by color, and each stops at between seven and eight locations.

There is some overlap with wine estates and farms. Some of the lines include buses and trams. The tram lines only run in certain areas, so the company has added open-air bus transport that emulates the old trams to access more off-the-beaten-track farms.

When I got a chance to ride the Wine Tram, I chose the Navy Line. Follow along as I make my way through the Cape Winelands, stopping at four iconic wine farms in Franschhoek.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead, research the different farms, and decide which line is most suitable for you. You can consider everything from scenery to wine varietals of each estate and whether or not you have a location preference for lunch.

Pro Tip: Make sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season. This way, you can book your preferred departure time and avoid any disappointment on arrival.

Prices and Times

The Boschendal Gardens

An adult ticket costs R300 (around $16) and includes a glass of wine (or two) aboard the tram, a general tour guide, and return transport to all seven farms. Children under the age of 17 ride for only R90 ($5). The Navy Line, for example, departs from the Groot Drakenstein Terminal at 10:05, 11:05, and 12:05.

The service runs daily except for the 24th and 25th of December, the 31st of December, and the 1st of January. Complimentary shuttles can transport you between the two terminals in around fifteen minutes.

Pro Tip: The first time I went on the Wine Tram, I was on a group excursion with the company I worked for at the time. The trips can be booked for groups with special discounts and private guided tours. You can also book and tailor a group experience and visit specific farms and attractions.

Vrede en Lust

Vrede en Lust

The best thing about the hop-on/hop-off experience is that you get to do just that. Hopping off the tram at the farms you want to visit, skipping past others, and jumping back on once you’ve had your fair share of wine, strolled the vineyards, or had a delicious lunch.

The first farm we stopped at was Vrede en Lust, a large and popular farm on the edge of Franschhoek at the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains. The farm dates back to 1688 and is steeped in viticulture history. Today, the farmers blend traditional winemaking techniques with modern ones and have curated an exceptional portfolio of diverse award-winning wines.

We sat on the tasting room deck, overlooking the vineyards, and tried some of their finest Chardonnays and robust Shiraz varietals. Specialty tastings require pre-booking and are well worth the fuss. I recommend the cheese pairing, which costs R170 ($9) and includes a flight of Dalewood cheeses paired with five different wines. They also offer a Lindt chocolate pairing with a flight of five chocolates paired with five wines for R150 ($8).

If you don’t get a booking in advance, their premium tasting is around $5 per person and includes five pre-selected wines.

Pro Tip: Your tasting fee will be waived if you purchase wine valued at R300 ($15).

Allee Bleue

Allee Bleue

Our second stop was the Allee Bleue Winery, a family-owned wine farm with a small tasting room surrounded by stunning vineyards. The French-inspired winery was founded in 1690 and benefits from a unique microclimate that contributes to its vibrant and full-bodied wine selection.

We sat on the covered terrace and tasted five of their signature wines, including the highly acclaimed Chenin Blanc and Shiraz. They also have a casual bistro with an easy-eating menu, but we had other plans for lunch and set off after our wine tasting.



Boschendal is arguably Franschoeks premier wine farm. Popular as a wedding event venue, producing exceptional wine, and hosting weekly markets, this wine farm gets a lot of attention from the local and tourist public, and it’s no surprise why.

The farm has a history spanning over 300 years and is an icon of the Groot Drakenstein mountains. This huge estate is uniquely committed to sustainable farming and viticulture practices. In fact, they’re an inspiring leader in the eco-farming industry.

I’ve visited Boschendal plenty of times, explored the gardens, experienced world-class weddings at their event venue, and even spent a few nights in their top-class accommodation. But on this particular trip, our focus was squarely on lunch.


We walked through the estate to the Werf Restaurant, which offers pre-packaged summer picnics to be enjoyed within the vineyards. Since we were visiting as a group, we were served our picnics at a table under towering oak trees and purchased a few bottles of wine to enjoy with lunch.

The picnic offering is only available during summer, from the 1st of October to the 30th of April. Each basket fed between two to three of us and was filled to the brim with fresh bread baked on site, garden salads from the vegetable gardens, and handmade charcuterie cuts from the Boschendal butchery.

The picnic was such a highlight of the day; I can’t recommend it more. Basket collections are available between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and reservations need to be made at least 24 hours in advance.



After a delicious lunch under the Boschendal trees, we returned to the tram and made our way to Zorgvliet, a gorgeous wine farm in the Banhoek Valley just a few plots away. Since we had had a fair share of wine throughout the day, we opted not to do a formal wine tasting here.

Instead, we ordered coffee, teas, and a few desserts to share and sat on the terrace, enjoying the peaceful farm surroundings. There was hardly another person in sight, making this the perfect relaxing end to a buzzing day.

The Curated Wine Experience

Curated Wine Experience

If you’d prefer a bit of special attention, you could opt for the Curated Wine Experience. Although I haven’t experienced this myself, it is said to be the ultimate experience for wine connoisseurs and food lovers.

A knowledgeable wine expert will accompany you throughout your day in the winelands. You’ll be guided through three of the best wine estates and given access to premium wine tastings and pairings, cellar and vineyard tours, and a three-course lunch curated especially for your group.

Depending on availability, this experience departs the Franschhoek terminal at 10 a.m. and returns around 5 p.m. You must be over 18 to participate in this tour, and prices start at $94, including all transport, wine tastings and pairings, tours, lectures, and lunch.

Pro Tip: Speaking of tips, tipping is always appreciated in South Africa. The norm is to tip a minimum of 10% for meal service and up to 20% for private guides and special services.

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