Things To Do in PaarlSelf Drive Cape Town to Taal Monument
Where? Scenic Drive from Cape Town to Taal Monument (via Stellenbosch, Pniel, and various wine, berry and cheese estates)
When? Best during daylight hours.
How much? Free
Route: Cape Town, Stellenbosch (Muratie, Spier, Boschendal and other wine estates), Helshoogte Pass, Taal Monument
Description: Explore the fertile valleys of the Berg and Eerste rivers, where vines first grew 300 years ago
Length: roughly 200 km
Time: a day, at least (preferably two as there are so many wine estates in the Stellenbosch valley).
Overnight: Stellenbosch or Paarl (or any of the wine estates offering accommodation close to Stellenbosch)
Take the N1 from Cape Town's foreshore, via Century City and the northern suburbs, finally sighting the Slanghoek, Du Toit's and Drakenstein mountains in the distance.
Take exit 39, taking a right at the t-junction onto the R304 to Stellenbosch, crossing over the N1.
Take the first left onto the R101, the Old Paarl Road, towards Klapmuts. After roughly 3 km, take a right into Muldersvlei Road (passing Muldersvlei Estate on your left). The road sweeps left.
Just after crossing the Klippiesrivier (roughly 2 km later) take a left and follow Knorhoek Road into the pretty Knorhoek Valley, entering the gates of Muratie Wine Estate a little later.
Muratie (meaning 'ruins' in Dutch) is one of the oldest privately owned estates in the country, established as early as 1685. See charming old Cape Dutch style buildings, tall oaks, cypresses and sample the wines.
If you have time, on Knorhoek Road also find Delheim estate. Then head back to the R44 and left to Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch deserves an overnight stay not least because of the town's historical relevance and beauty. Stellenbosch is a university town, alive with restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, boutiques, shops, theatres and museums.
A slight detour to Spier estate, from Stellenbosch is well worth the effort.
Continue on Adam Tas out of Stellenbosch. As the road swings away from the railway line, stay on Adam Tas (the R310 not the R44), passing the Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery on the left.
Bear left at the Pokadraai intersection, remaining on the R310 (now Baden Powell Drive) to pass Van Ryn Brandy Cellars on your left (daily tours). Spier is just short of 2 km further – one of the oldest, and largest, wine farms in the country.
On leaving Spier, take a left, and then another left onto Annandale Road, past the Waldorf School (where there is a weekly organic market on Saturday mornings).
At the t-junction with the R44 (Mooiberg Farmstall diagonally across the R44) take a left back to Stellenbosch. Stay on the R44 until you see a sign for Blaauwklippen estate on your right at the intersection with Tegno Road.
Leaving Blaauwklippen, take a right onto the R44 and head back to Stellenbosch. The R44 joins Adam Tas, and shortly afterwards, take a right into Merriman Avenue.
Drive through Bird Street intersection, taking the next left at Andringa, and a first right into Banghoek Road, which takes you to Helshoogte Road and the Helshoogte Pass (further selection of wine estates) towards Franschhoek.
Just outside of Pniel, turn right into the Boschendal estate, granted to one of the very first Huguenot settlers to the Franschhoek valley.
Leave Boschendal, turning right onto the R310, and just after the double railway crossing, left onto the R45. If you have time, first take a detour to Solms Delta estate (right onto the R45 for a little way), incredibly interesting for the wine, the musical heritage of the farm workers, and natural heritage tours.
After passing under the railway bridge, turn left onto the R101 (Old Paarl Road again) to Klapmuts / Cape Town. Watch out for the right turn across the N1 to Suid Agter-Paarl. Fairview wine and cheese estate is off this road, to the right. A must for goats, cheese, wine pairings and an excellent restaurant.
Return the way you came, over the N1, then left onto the R101. Just short of a kilometre later ( look out for it just after the R45 meets the R101) turn left, and just after crossing the N1, take a right and a kilometre later, a left at the Taal Monument sign. This takes you up the lower slopes of Paarl Mountain.
Overnight in beautiful Paarl, or, retrace your route back down the mountain and back to Cape Town on the N1.