“Outstanding collection of rental properties in picturesque Franschhoek with adventurous décor perfect for foodies, explorers and families”
You would expect an explorer to furnish his house with items from his travels, but Jo Sinfield’s adventurous take on design goes a step further. We really liked the décor of the 4 cottages: the safari khakis mix with creams and bright reds, the bright kikoys zing, and coffee sacks are recycled as unusual lampshades. It’s quirky and unusual and really works.
All have comfortable sleeping quarters and huge living-kitchen-dining rooms that maximise the views of the mountains and vineyards. Set in the heart of Franschhoek Village, all are an easy 5-minute walk to the main street where you'll find some of South Africa's best restaurants.
Explorer's Club (sleeps up to 10). All ages welcome
The largest property, Explorer’s Club has an understated bush camp style. It has a vast open-plan kitchen-living space with large sink-in sofas and a wall of folding doors on to the sun deck, garden and a solar-heated lap pool. It feels more like staying at a friend’s house than a hotel, and this is reflected in the price.
Three of the four bedrooms are on the ground-floor. The master bedroom has a terrace, walk-through dressing room and ensuite with slipper bathtub and shower. The second double bedroom has a shower room. The third bedroom comes with bunk beds for 3 children and an ensuite. Up some narrow stairs, in the attic, the fourth room has a freestanding bathtub with glorious views.
The Map Room (sleeps up to 4). Over 12s only
This 2-storey house is best suited to a couple or an older family. Climb up the spiral staircase to the fabulous kitchen-living space. It doesn't have a pool but there is a lovely wraparound balcony upstairs, ideal for sundowners or a barbecue.
Of the 2 ground-floor bedrooms, the master has a huge stone ‘Sultan’s bath’ plus a wet room. The ensuite twin bedroom is good for teens by may lack wow-factor for adults.
The Library (sleeps up to 6). Over 12s only
Next to Explorer’s Club, The Library has a polished, boutique style.
The wonderful first-floor open-plan living space has a double-height ceiling and is accessed via a spiral staircase. The 3 double bedrooms are spread between the ground floor and a separate pavilion beside the private pool.
Tockies Cottage (sleeps 2-4). All ages welcome
We’re yet to visit this chic 2-bedroom cottage, but the classic styling and airy living spaces look very welcoming indeed. There’s a double, a twin, a large open-plan kitchen and living space, plus a walled garden with pool - a true home-from-home.
Food in South Africa's historic gourmet capital isn't just world class, it's fantastic value too, but if you want to eat in, all of the properties have fully equipped kitchens for self-catering and entertaining.
The dining tables in all of the houses seat 10, so you can invite friends over. All the basics are provided (olive oil, vinegar, coffee, tea and milk), there are a couple of supermarkets in town and groceries and braai packs can be ordered in advance. Catering can also be arranged. We'd heartily recommend Franschhoek's small Saturday morning farmer's market where Jo runs an excellent coffee stall, but serious foodies should make a beeline for the Stellenbosch Fresh Foods Market (Saturdays 9am - 2pm) with its freshly-made salads, bread, cakes, artisan cheeses and organic meat, fruit and vegetables.
When it comes to eating out, you're spoilt for choice. Just some of our many lunch recommendations are picnics at Holdenmanz Wine Estate (expect a hamper full of tempting kilner jars, charcuterie, cheeses, salad, paté, smoked salmon, freshly baked bread, and a chilled bottle of rosé); La Petite Ferme where you can lunch with stunning views of the valley; Môreson's Bread and Wine vineyard restaurant, where the chef specialises in antipasti and charcuterie; Babylonstoren's chic organic restaurant; Ruste En Vrede for fine winetasting followed by the best steak lunch alfresco; Tokara's DeliCATessen where the simple fresh menu, great views and kids play area make it a good choice for families.
For dinner, The Common Room serves imaginative tapas and sharing plates and Le Quartier Francais' Tasting Room offers serious fine dining at one of the world's best restaurants.
Although restrictions apply to some houses, overall Explorers Club is a great place for kids. Jo can provide plenty of information on request for family-friendly activities around Franschhoek; we found that the winery trips worked fine with our 4-year-old daughter in tow.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Explorers Club and Tockies Cottage are best for families, as they welcome kids of all ages. The former has a bunk bedded room for 3 kids and space for a baby cot in the dressing room (connected to the master bedroom). The latter has 2 ensuite bedrooms (1 double and 1 twin).
The Map Room and The Library are suitable for ages 12+. The Map Room has a twin room at the back suitable for kids. The Library's accommodation is split between the main house and a pool house/annex, which could work well for teens.
Babysitting or a nanny are available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
All houses are self-catering with large, airy kitchens, barbecues and large eating areas. It's a very easy walk to Franschhoek's famous restaurants. Kalfi's, in the centre of the village, is particularly family friendly.