Originally we had planned to go whale watching with Dyer Island Cruises the day after we did the shark tour. Unfortunately we got a call the morning of our shark tour to say that all the whale watch tours for the next 3 days had been cancelled. They said it was due to impending bad weather. It was a bit disappointing as it would have been cool to see the whales up close. However, after a rather long afternoon on the shark tour, and having been fortunate to see quite a few whales from shore, we didn't feel too badly. Instead, we took our time leaving Whalesong Lodge and De Kelders and were glad to not be rushed on our journey to Franschhoek.
The first thing we did was to go back to the Great White House in Kleinbaai. I had wanted to visit the gift shop, but it was so late when we had returned on the boat the night before that I had opted to skip it at that time. It all worked out rather well as everything was quiet and we had the place to ourselves. They had quite a few nice locally made art and craft items. Since the weather didn't look that bad I inquired about their cancellations out of curiosity. They said it was due to be very windy. Having experienced the swell when the wind was moderate, I could see that it would be untenable if it were really windy. Afterwards, we set off around the bay and through Hermanus on our way to Franschhoek in the winelands. Along the way we stopped briefly in the town of Stanford and picked up a snack to take along.
The drive turned out to be very scenic and the weather got steadily better as we went. It was indeed windy, but the sun was shining and the wind lessened as we turned inland. We went over a couple of smaller mountain passes and past some large reservoir lakes enjoying the views as we went.
Then came the Franschhoek pass which was spectacular. The views were simply stunning as we dropped down into the Franschhoek valley. Franschhoek is a small town about an hour from Cape Town. It is in the heart of the wine country and the setting couldn't be more picturesque. Vineyards are everywhere with roses and bougainvillea blooming. Mountains rise steeply from the valley floor.
We found The Coach House, our B & B, easily and checked in to find a lovely garden oasis with a pool and a small patio off our room.
The proprietress was very nice and confirmed our booking for our private tour the next day as well as gave us suggestions for restaurants. After a little lazing about we went for a walk down the main street. It was nice to be able to leave the car behind and simply walk. There were lots of shops, art galleries, and restaurants lining the road for several blocks. We stopped at a small park where there were some vendors selling crafts and did a little bargaining. After our wanderings we went back to our B & B for some more lazing about before going out for dinner. It was Friday night and our B & B hostess had warned us that many restaurants might be booked up. She had called one we were interested in and they were full, but there were so many restaurants that we figured we'd be able to find something. We did have her book us a table for the following night but took our chances that evening and found a decent place without too much trouble.