Stellenbosch vs. Franschoek

Oct 26th, 2004, 02:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Stellenbosch vs. Franschoek

We are planning to travel in January to CT with a 2 night stop in the winelands before a safari in Kruger. What are the Fodorite's preferences for staying in either town? We would obviously visit both. We are considering the Protea Stellenbosch. Thanks.
ATtravel is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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There are so many great B&B's and guesthouses, don't stay in a Protea. I am very excited about our upcoming stay at Kleinoliphantshoek in Franschhoek which was highly recommended on this site. We had a lovely stay at (I forget it's name in Afrikkans) The Golden Grape in Stellenbosch in 2000. Search this site and you will find many wonderful suggestions!
cjstobbs is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Franschoek is definitely the prettiest spot. The Grand Roche is wonderful but not cheap. Also consider Rhebokskloof in Paarl. The restaurant and wine are very good.
winomatt is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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We stayed at an inexpensive guesthouse in Stellenbosch, The Avenues, in May, and loved the personal attention. There were some lovely small hotels and B&Bs all around Stellenbosch and also in Franschhoek, and it is very easy to drive between the two. Stellenbosch is like a college town (of course we were there in their autumn, and it seemed quite "familiar" as college towns in the States.) Franschhoek is smaller and more arty (?) but we enjoyed both very much. You can hardly make a wrong choice.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for your responses. Cjstobbs, we are strongly considering the Kleinoliphantshoek guest house and appreciate your help. After our second night, we will be driving to the Capetown airport for a morning flight to Krueger. Does anyone know the approximate driving time and what is the recommended arrival time at the airport for domestic flights? Thanks
ATtravel is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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We stayed 3 nights in Franschhoek but did visit Stellenbosch a few times.

We're soooo pleased we chosen Franschhoek for a couple of reasons:

There is a truly excellent selection of top top top class eating options in Franschhoek.

Franschhoek is smaller and quieter. Stellenbosch is a university town and as such has the usual noisy students - not a big deal but I wouldn't be happy with that noise on a Friday or Saturday night!
Kavey is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 06:46 AM
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I don't know what your ages are or what type of experience your looking for, but we are in our late 20's and stayed at Lanzerac in Stellenbosch and it was very nice. A little pricey. Both Stellenbosch and Franschoek are beautiful cities and not far to drive between. What we liked about our accomodations was we were not directly in town but just outside. Also, if you enjoy nightlife Stellenbosch has that. We went to a few bars in Stellenbosch (definately a college scene, very similiar to the US), but it was fun. You really can't go wrong with either as they are both beautiful, it's just what your preferences are. I hope this helps. I don't remember how long it took to drive to Cape Town, maybe an hour--it wasn't that far so I wasn't much of a concern for us. We only arrived 1 hour before our domestic flights and had no problems.
Lisa1224 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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Drive time might depend on wheher it's weekday or weekend. The latter will probably be less traffic. And although we didn't stay in the winelands, our trip from CPT to this area was less then 1-hr, but then we had a driver who knew where he was going. So I'd leave about an hour and then from CPT to the airport is about 15-20 minutes but both times we did the drive were either late at night or early morning. I'd suggest you check with your hotel for specific routing and the actual time needed. You only need 1-hr for check-in on a domestic flight.
Nov 7th, 2004, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

I agree with all the excellent above postings that both towns have something going them. I however would choose to stay in Stellenbosch for 3 reasons:

1. There is much more to do in Stellenbosch than Franschhoek, after all Stellenbosch is a much bigger town than Franschhoek. There are many more places to choose from where to stay in Stellenbosch and even though the restaurants in Franschhoek are better than the Stellenbosch ones there still is great food to be had in the university town. The choice of winefarms to visit are also much more in Stellenbosch than Franschhoek

2. Stellenbosch definitely has a local feel about it whereas Franschhoek is a tourist town all the way.

3. Whether you stay in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek you will be in a position to within a 45 minute car ride visit the town that you are not staying in so you wont miss out on any of the two anyway.

Now here is an update on Klein Olifantshoek. I think that everyone knows that I am a huge supporter of this venue as a dinner event. Well as of last week I have changed my mind about this establishment. They have just changed there dinner menu to a 9 course menu from a 7 course event. Strictly speaking one still is served the same amount of food however there is a bigger variety. This meal now costs R295 and if one elects to do the wine journey that the restaurant offers with the meal the cost of this would be R140.

I still believe that the quality of the meal at Klein Olifantshoek is fantastic and I am led to believe that they are serving some really good wines in the wine journey but I cannot think of any other venue in the country that will charge R435 (US$70) for a meal. By the time you tip for service etc the cost is R500/meal. This truly is totally ridiculous when one can eat for one third of this price at a number of top class venues that are literally down the road and probably find that you eat as much, if not more, good quality food than the KO menu. I say again the experience at KO is unique and wonderful. Furthermore the effort that is put into the meal by all the staff at KO is huge HOWEVER this does not change my mind in thinking that greed is now setting in at the establishment hence they wont find me supporting them. As far as accommodation at KO is concerned I do once again believe that the establishment offers a quality product however one can do much better price wise in other parts of Franschhoek.

Hope this all helps you in making up your mind with regard to choosing between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

Selwyn Davidowitz
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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Have you had a chance to dine at Le Bon Vivante yet? We had such a superb meal there and the prices were much lower than at the other, better known, Franschhoek restaurants.
Kavey is offline  
Nov 8th, 2004, 02:36 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Hi Selwyn,

as you might have read in my other posts I am also planning five days in the winelands between Dezember 8 and Dezember 15. Other than the Cathbert Inn, which you highly recommend, are there any guesthouse directly in the towns of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek you can recommend? I really like Cathbert from the website but a) we would rather not drive after a meal with a bit of wine and b) it is not really within our budget

Thank you so much for your help,

misskris is offline  
Nov 8th, 2004, 02:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Kris I know you were asking Selwyn but I just wanted to tell you about the guest house we chose for our recent trip to Franschhoek.

It's called Plumwood Inn and run by a friendly and customer service oriented Dutch couple, Roel and Lucienne. It's right on the egde of Franschhoek (looking out over vineyards) and yet is only about 2 minutes walk (or less) from excellent restaurants such as Topsi, Le Bon Vivante and many others. Walking at night we felt very safe indeed. Rooms are beautifully decorated and the largest room is a lovely big room. We stayed in the Vineyard room and liked it very much. Breakfasts are also superb in this guest house.
If you do stay here, please pass on my regards to the lovely owners.
Kavey is offline  
Nov 8th, 2004, 02:35 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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We just returned from a honeymoon trip tat included three nights at Le Quartier Francais in Franschoek and I cannot say enough about how charming the place was and how amazing the service was. 2 restaurants, a more formal and a more casual- and we (los Angelenos) found the prices to be quite reasonable at both for the qualoty of food we were eating. I don't know much about the rates at the hotel, as we had purchased the package at a silent auction here in the US. But seriously, SUCH a beautiful place.
ACvonH is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 12:15 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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above posts greatly appreciated.
any further thoughts? trying to decide between beauty of La Petite Ferme in Franschoek for 2-3 nights vs. the liveliness of Stellenbosch. We are 31. Like the sound of an "authentic town experience" vs. the "touristy town", albeit touristy for a gorgeous reason!
jck4 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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I think La Petit Ferme would be great!

We stayed at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek - also a WONDERFUL place right off the main road through town. But we had lunch at La Petit Ferme (reservations ahead of time required) and it was memorable - beautiful setting, great wine, and great food.

La Petit Ferme is a little bit out a rown, requiring a 5 minute or so drive into town. As stated, Le Quartier Francais is tucked away of the main road - although the way the place is situated, we felt very secluded. But, we could walk out the front of the hotel restaurant and walk down the main street to shops and other eateries. Quite convenient.
Grcxx3 is offline  

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