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Riding Over Cape Town’s Franschhoek Pass

There are some must-do rides around Cape Town on a motorcycle and I recommend Franschhoek pass in this essential category, which also includes Bains Kloof Pass, Du Toits Kloof Pass, and finally Sir Lowry’s Pass. Vineyards populate the valley below this scenic road and the Dutch inspired town of Franschhoek also has it’s own food and wine route to make sure you don’t miss any of the opportunities found here.

Dropping down into the Cape Winelands on a cool spring afternoon was a little surreal having spent the previous seven thousand miles exploring the “not so cosmopolitan” parts Southern Africa.  Over the last few weeks I had been working my way down Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert before exploring the rugged Cederberg Mountains in hopes of delaying my arrival into Cape Town.

The mountains protecting these winelands are difficult to cross and this particular route was an old Oliphant’s Pad.  From centuries of migration African elephants had found a route to the Overbergs and their trail was the foundation of the modern road. Now this road is popular among tourists offering breathtaking views of the river and vineyards below.

Just below the old elephant trail is the town of Franschhoek, a place that surprised me with its grace as I pulled into that posh town in the heart of South Africa’s wine country after so long in the desert.  With gorgeous women shopping the boutique-lined streets I decided to spend the few last days decompressing in the nearby town of Stellanbosch, playing tourist while enjoying the culinary capitol and the expanse of vineyards it offers. 

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