The history of Franschhoek stretches back more than 300 years and begins in France in the 1600s where at this time there was widespread religious persecution by the ruling Catholics towards the Protestants.
Because of this, more than 200 000 of these Protestants became refugees as they fled their home country for others in Europe, many of them making their way to the Netherlands. At this time the Dutch East India Company governed a small colony on the tip of Southern Africa, the Cape colony.
The Cape is where the refugees were sent, on ships that were originally designed to carry cargo, and after a long and grueling trip which lasted several months they arrived on soil that was foreign to them, but were fully prepared to start a new life.
Franschhoek or ‘Olifantshoek’ as it was then named for the herds of elephant that roamed the area, was where nine of these Huguenot families ultimately settled after having being given land by the Dutch authorities and through determination and perseverance they transformed the wilderness around them into one of the most beautiful valleys in the Cape if not the world.