Town with a simple country atmosphere

Paarl in the Western Cape of South Africa is situated approximately 60 km northeast from  Cape Town, at the foot of the second largest granite outcrop in the world.

It is the third oldest town in South Africa and the largest in the Cape Winelands. Well known for its scenic beauty and fruit growing heritage, Paarl has a wide variety of grapes growing in the area, including Cabernet Sauvingnon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonney and Chenin Blanc. There are over 25 wine cellars to visit along the  Paarl Red Wine Route, some of the most popular being Backsberg Estate, Nederburg, Simonsvlei and KWV.

Despite the fact that it is virtually the size of a small city, the town of Paarl has a simple country atmosphere. The Main Street, the longest in the country is 11 km long and houses many Georgian, Victorian and Dutch buildings, of which one is the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in the country, the Strooidak Church.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see:

Choose from accommodation to suit everyone’s style, Luxury Hotels, comfortable lodges, B&B’s and self-catering.

Climate

Paarl experiences a Mediterranean style climate with rainfall in the winter months from May to August.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 29˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 5˚C and 18˚C.

Transport

There are domestic and International flights into  Cape Town International Airport on a daily basis. Car rental companies are available for easy access around the area.

Festivals

March – Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Championships: Sporting event at Val de Vie Estate.

March – Love & Light Trance Party: 12 hours trance music party held at Nelsons Creek Wine Estate.

May – Simonsvlei Family Adventure Day: Running and mountain biking trails with plenty of food, music, wine and markets.

More festivals can be attended in the surrounding areas, see Cape Town and surrounding areas.

History

Paarl has a very unique and cultural history. The people of Paarl are descendants of the Khoisan, African and Eastern slaves, Dutch, French Huguenots, Jewish immigrants, Italian Prisoners of War and Xhosa migrant labourers.

Paarl was first inhabited by the Khoi people. The Dutch East India Company, under Jan Van Riebeeck, had meat trading relationships with the Khoi in Table Bay. In 1657 Abraham Gabemma stumbled upon this giant granite rock on his way to seek meat trading relations further inland and named it Peerlberg, translated now to Pearl Mountain and from which Paarl is derived.

In 1687 Governor Simon Van Der Stel granted farm settlements to the “free burghers” and the following year the French Huguenots arrived and settled on farms in the area. With the Mediterranean style climate, the settlers planted vineyards and orchards for fruit and so the history began of the area being a major fruit and wine producing region.

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