Paarl, Cape Winelands

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Paarl, Cape Winelands

Paarl
Paarl, Cape Winelands

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A mere hour’s drive from Cape Town brings one to a giant granite outcrop with three rounded domes, the prominent one of which was initially called Peerleberg or Pearl Mountain by Abraham Gabemma. Abraham stumbled on the rock in 1657 en route to find meat for the Cape of Good Hope settlement. This solid rock was to become the name of a town, which today is renowned for its very beautiful countryside, excellent wines and some incredible architecture.

The town of Paarl has a unique character, not least because vineyards still grow in between residential neighbourhoods maintaining a country feel to a town virtually the size of a small city, but also because it is here that the struggle to gain recognition for Afrikaans as a written language was achieved. Today the Afrikaans Language Museum bears testament to this accomplishment and there is a monument to this unique language on the slopes of Paarl Mountain.

Paarl, Cape Winelands
Main Street Paarl is a colourful collection of beautifully restored Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian buildings and includes the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in the country – the Strooidak Church - and the Paarl Museum, housed in a u-shaped Cape Dutch house and home to an in-depth look at the town’s history, starting with early man and dealing with European colonisation and slavery.

A large variety of grapes are grown in Paarl, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and the Paarl Wine Route is also known as the ‘Red Route’ because of this. Over 25 wine cellars include Backsberg Estate, KWV, Nederburg, Nelsons Creek, Simonsvlei and Avondale that make up the popular wine route.

Paarl, Cape Winelands
The famous 11km long Main Street also features the Strooidak Church, Die Oude Pastorie Museum, the Patriot Building and the Gymnasium. Around the corner from the Gymnasium is the Afrikaans Language Museum. The beautiful homestead of Laborie, in Main Street, was purchased by KWV in 1972. The buildings were restored and the restaurant was built. The KWV cellar complex is the largest in the world, covering an area of 22 hectares.

The magnificent Cathedral Cellar, with its barrel-vaulted roof and large carved red wine vats, depicting the history of the Cape's wine industry, is spectacular. The Paarl Wine Route Office in Main Street will be able to supply visitors with a free brochure and map on the area.

Additional Reading:
For more info about Paarl see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
10 Popular Things To Do When Next In Paarl
Paarl - Overlooked Pearl Of The Western Cape
Tea Under The Trees - Best Place To Do Tea In Paarl
Paarl's Twin Obelisks - A Visit To The Taal Monument
What To Do When In Paarl

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average visitor rating: 5/5"I can't believe nobody wrote a review about Paarl yet! Its such a stunning town with lots of places to explore, great restaurants and shops and of course the ..." - Candy, Claremont

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Featured Attractions in (or near) Paarl

Afrikaanse Taal Monument

Known simply as the Taal monument or Afrikaans language monument, the most famous Afrikaans icon, die Afrikaanse Taalmonument, sits on Paarl rock, erected in 1975 to commemorate the semi centenary of Afrikaans as an official language, separate from Dutch, overlooking the farmlands of Stellenbosch ... more information

Afrikaanse Taalmuseum

The Afrikaanse Taalmuseum (language museum) in Paarl, set on the banks of the Berg River, and roughly 50 kilometres north east of Cape Town, is at once associated with the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum, and a dedication to the Afrikaans language. The Afrikaans Taal museum offers a contemporary exhibition on the origins of ... more information

Boschenmeer Golf Course

The course is laid out over an indulgent 140 hectares and the 27 holes have been grouped into the Berg River, Paarl and Boschenmeer “Nines.” The views, hazard and tree-lined lush green fairways have secured Boschenmeer amongst the must-play courses in South Africa as proven by the voting in of the 4th hole ... more information

Butterfly World

Butterfly World, the largest butterfly park in South Africa, lies at the cross roads of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Wellington, just off the N1 at exit 47, near a little village known as Klapmuts. A visit to Butterfly World is a stop that takes little effort, and is invariably richly rewarded with sightings of butterflies from as far ... more information

Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve

Lying within the Western Cape's Cape Floral Kingdom, the 322 030 hectare Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR) lies roughly 40 km east of Cape Town. It was officially registered by UNESCO in September 2007. The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve is bordered in the south by ... more information

Du Toitskloof Pass

Du Toitskloof Pass lies on the R101 between Paarl and Worcester, although these days most people are not even aware they're on the pass for they opt to use the Huguenot Tunnel, which means you shave a significant 11 kilometres off the original drive. You can still scale the heights of this impressive pass that ... more information

Groot Drakenstein Prison

The Groot Drakenstein correctional facility (the former Victor Verster maximum security prison near Simondium, between Franschhoek and Paarl) is a working prison that was renamed in 2000. It is on the map chiefly because this was the last place in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated and it was through ... more information

Helshoogte Pass

Helshoogte Pass, one of the most loved and travelled roads in the Western Cape, links Stellenbosch with the Drakenstein Valley, a scenic pass that transports one over the saddle that separates Simonsberg from the Jonkershoekberge and wends its way past fruit farms and vineyards en route. The ... more information

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The beautiful Jonkershoek Nature Reserve lies in the Jonkershoek Valley just above Stellenbosch. Surrounded by the magnificent Jonkershoek Mountains, part of the Boland mountain range, this is the place for wonderful hikes within their peaks and never-ending kloofs. In total, the Jonkershoek ... more information

Limietberg Nature Reserve

Lying in the Du Toitskloof Mountains close to Paarl, Limietberg Nature Reserve is a beautiful space in which to spend time, particularly if you are a hiker. There are nine separate hiking trails that wind through fynbos, indigenous forest, rugged and steep kloofs, and valleys through which the Breede and Berg rivers ... more information

Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

The reserve is easy to get to and its network of paths make a walk up the mountain very much a part of the average Paarl resident's everyday life. The circular Klipkers nature trail takes roughly two hours to complete, comes with a guidebook to help you on your way, and was laid out ... more information

Paarl Rock

Paarl Rock is the bulbous granite outcrop that is part of the larger Paarl Mountain, standing out from miles away for its smooth, flawless appearance, from where it gets its name. The views from here are nothing short of breath-taking, providing perfect backdrops for a hike or walk, and... more information

Paarl Vintners

Paarl Vintners has earned its place as the world’s first ‘red route’ because of its focus on wines such as Roodeberg, Cabernet Sauvignon, port and Shiraz. The Paarl district includes the wards of Franschhoek and Wellington as well as the newer wards of Simonsberg-Paarl and Voor-Paardeberg. more information

Paarl Wine Estates

This route combines world-class wines with breath-taking scenery to create an idyllic destination for just about anybody. The sweltering, dry summers and chilly winters give Paarl the perfect climate for an array of wine varieties. Whether red white or rosé, sparkling or dessert, Paarl’s ... more information

Pearl Valley Golf Course

The Pearl Valley Golf Estate is surrounded by the Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountains and bordered by vineyards with The Berg River water hazard running through it. Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate and Spa is destined to become the premier residential golf estate in South Africa. Designed on ... more information

Wijnland Auto Museum

There are those who live in Cape Town and its surrounds who have not even heard of the Wijnland Auto Museum, one of the most interesting places to visit that not only contains an unbelievable amount of history, but one of the most incredible collections of vintage cars you will ever see. Whilst this is a ... more information

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Things To Do in Paarl

Visit the KWV Wine Emporium

Where: Paarl
How much (per person): Free to browse

The perfect place to experience perfect South African wine. Situated in the Paarl Valley, the Emporium is a multi-sensory experience that's ... more information

Red Hot Glass

Where: Paarl
How much (per person): Free to browse

Red Hot glass is one of very the few Venetian-style glass blowing studio's in South Africa. Artists Liz Lacey and David Jackson amaze and de ... more information

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Restaurants in Paarl

Backsberg Estate Cellars

Where: Franschhoek

Set in the garden on the sprawling grounds of the Backsberg Wine Estate, Backsberg restaurant is an alfresco experience during summer - moved indoors next to roaring fire in winter. An a la carte menu ... more information

Bistro Allegro

Where: Paarl

Serving as the more relaxed, fresh and zingy sister to the award-winning Bosman’s Restaurant, Bistro Allegro at The Grande Roche Hotel, is every bit as enticing. The punchy décor, open feel and unstuf ... more information

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Events and/or Festivals in Paarl

event starts: 06 December 2014
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