The name ‘Paarl’ is derived from the glistening, pearl-like granite outcrop (the second-largest in the world) keeping watch over this historic-yet-bustling town in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Only 45 minutes from Cape Town, Paarl is one of the oldest towns in South Africa – and one of its most scenic. Centuries-old vineyards and Cape Dutch manors are casually interwoven with suburban homes and stately oak trees line the town’s 12-kilometre main road.
With such beautiful surroundings, it’s hardly surprising that best activities Paarl has to offer can be found outdoors. Hike among delicate fynbos and smooth granite boulders in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, or practice your swing at one of the two popular golf estates. For a thrilling wildlife encounter, head over to the crocodile farm or the lion park on the outskirts of town. For a bird’s-eye view of Paarl Rock and the valley, book a spot on an early-morning hot-air balloon ride.
Paarl is renowned for its red wines, with shiraz and cabernet sauvignon standing out as signature cultivars. But don’t just stick to wines while visiting this valley. KWV’s brandy and port, and Fairview’s goats cheese are internationally acclaimed and definitely worth tasting (and taking home).
- Conveniently located only 45 minutes from Cape Town, making it ideal for a day-trip or quick escape from the city
- Sprawling out at the foot of Paarl Rock, the world’s second-largest granite outcrop
- Two popular golf courses where avid golfers can practice their swing are found in the area
- Visitors can enjoy wildlife encounters at the town’s crocodile farm and lion park
- Early-morning hot-air balloon rides over the valley are also on offer