Paarl tours & holiday packagesSuperb wines, South African history and a giant granite rock
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As the third-oldest town in South Africa, Paarl and its famous valley brim with local lore and terrific wines.
Paarl's main road is the longest of its type in the country, leading into this small town with its friendly and welcoming character. This is the home of the Afrikaans language, and the Afrikaans Language Monument (Taalmonument) stands tall on a hill at the entrance to the town.
Just south of the main road runs the broad Berg River, its banks shaded by oak trees planted by the original settlers. The river continues beyond the town and extends into a fertile wine valley, dotted with farms and wine-tasting rooms that have a laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere.
You can leave your fancy shoes at home when you visit Paarl. I just love picnicking on the grass at the Afrikaans Language Monument or spending a lazy afternoon at Under Oaks, drinking crisp sauvignon blanc in the shade and eating a delicious pizza.
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Paarl has more active pursuits too. Visitors can ride on horseback through the wine valleys and the foothills of the surrounding mountains. Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve has many walking paths and climbing Paarl Mountain, topped with a series of massive granite boulders, offers the most beautiful views back into town.
Just beyond the town's borders is the Drakenstein Prison where Nelson Mandela spent his last few years in incarceration and it's believed that his long walk to freedom started here.
Paarl is a great town for children as well. If they're not running around the grass while parents enjoy a leisurely wine tasting at an estate, they can be taken to see the reptiles at the snake park, the crocs at the crocodile farm or try their hand at glass-blowing.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to the tree-lined main road where there's always another museum, art gallery or cafe to discover.
Paarl's location on Google Maps