The small village of Pniel is situated at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains, along the Helshoogte Pass, a lovely scenic route between the two major wine towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Orchards, vineyards and mountains surround this quaint town which provides it visitors with the perfect getaway filled with spectacular views, delectable food and an abundance of wine!
The history of Pniel is very interesting and today its oak-lined streets along the Dwars River and the 160 year old Congregational Church building can attest to the historic beauty of the town. The streets are also filled with old-fashioned and charming houses, some of which were built for the freed slaves by Sir Herbert Baker.
Pniel is wonderfully situated for visits to the surrounding wine estates of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, towns all within a 10 km radius. The area is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with nature reserves, hiking trails and scenic routes all around. The Dwars River, running through the centre of town, provides walking and cycling paths and visitors can always organise tours with the locals to learn more about the history of the town and its historic monuments and buildings.
The area offers plenty of comfortable and luxury accommodation which includes Hotels, B&B’s, Guest Houses.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Bottelary Hills
- Renosterveld Conservancy
- Camberley Wines
- Rainbow’s End Wine Estate
- Oldenburg Vineyards
- Boschendal Wine Estate
- Backsberg Wine Estate
- Lanzerac Winery
- Delaire Graff Estate
- Alluvia Specialist Winery
- Pniel Museum
- Pniel Cemetery
- Pniel Congregational Church
- Freedom Monument
- Helshoogte Pass
- Simonsberg Hiking Trail
- Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve
- Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
- Le Bonheur Croc Farm
- Stellenbosch Golf Course
- Pearl Valley Golf Course
The area receives most of its rainfall during July and August, the Cape’s winter months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 34˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 24˚C.
February / March – Dwars River Pumpkin Festival: Pumpkin Patches, harvest inspired arts and crafts, blockbuster entertainment on 3 stages, haunted house, children’s contests, pumpkin carvers, home style foods and the Great Pumpkin Parade. Festival goers can enjoy free product samples, great entertainment and loads of information on organic and healthy products for your lifestyle.
November – Congregational Church Annual Flower Festival: Coffee Shop eats, treats and beverages. Flower exhibition.
The establishment of Pniel is largely connected to the emancipation of slaves in 1834. The emancipated slaves were obliged to stay on for four years at the farms where they worked. After the four years of service, with little or no money most of the workers remained working for the farmers, but were now allowed to leaves the farms at night and return to their own homes.
It was in 1843 that Pniel was established as a mission station for the emancipated slaves and began as 19 hectares of land donated form the farm De Goede Hoop. Reverend J.F. Stegman was appointed by the Apostolic Union, a non-denominational protestant group, as the first Reverend of the Mission. Pieter Izak de Villiers and Johannes Jacobus Haupt also donated land to build a school and a church and in December 1843 they purchased a large farm area, Papiere Molen, where the slaves could build their own houses and farm the area.
The town name was taken from Genesis 34, verse 30 and means “Face of God”.
After over a century of self-governance, the village of Pniel now forms part of the Stellenbosch Municipality.
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