Paarl has plenty to offer both locals and tourists. The pearl of the Cape Winelands offers endless activities for the outdoors enthusiast, heritage lover as well as foodie. There are a diverse range of wineries to choose from when visiting the Paarl Wine Route. See how you can spend three days in Paarl and thoroughly explore our town whilst getting a closer look at our picturesque environment.
Morning – Knus Karoo Kombuis originated from two sisters’ memories of their Karoo upbringing, featuring picnics in the middle of nowhere and eating apricots in a tree. “Knus” stands for cosy, that overarching Karoo experience, and that’s exactly what you feel when you realise that they specialise in such delicacies as ‘camembert, green fig and nut’ roosterkoek and serve delicious Terbodore coffee brewed from their La Marzocco machine. Sitting under the shelter of a sprawling tree out on the back patio, we found the waiters were brimming with local anecdotes and soon were ready to relish real farm food. But it’s not all coffee and cake at Knus – the recommended freshly pressed juice of the day was a zingy carrot, apple and ginger concoction that had our taste buds tingling. Gift shop treats like biscuits, figs and olives are from the Karoo, too and well worth topping up your pantry at home
Afrikaans might be the world’s youngest language, but the development of Afrikaans was a process and had an interesting history. Experience this history at the iconic 13,5-metre-high Afrikaans Language Monument on top of Paarl Mountain. It was designed by architect Jan van Wijk who found his inspiration in the round granite rocks in Paarl. It was completed by the end of 1974.
The best way to see and learn about the third oldest permanent settlement in South Africa is to take book a spot on the 1km Historical Walk along Paarl’s Main Road. Its rich history is reflected in the buildings and your knowledgeable guide will entertain you with tales of yesteryear.
Afternoon – Kikka on Main is situated in one of the buildings that is part of the Historical Walk route. Apart from coffee and cake this famous coffee shop and florist in one, offers healthy comforting, homemade meals. What makes them unique is that while watching the florists work their magic, you can enjoy your meal.
KWV Wine Emporium is the oldest commercial cellar in South Africa and also had one of the biggest underground cellars in the world. Join one of their Cellar Tours (offered in English, Afrikaans, German and French) and hear the story behind the hand carved barrels and the biggest barrel as part of your tour. Afterwards you can enjoy a wine tasting or book a special food & wine pairing when you arrive.
Evening – If you want to dine local and with passion, Noop is the place to be. Noop Restaurant supports local suppliers as far as possible and they don’t over-elaborate or unnecessarily complicate recipes. The people of Noop respect the purity of the ingredients.
Morning – Rhebokskloof Wine Estate dates back to 19 August 1692, when Simon van der Stel, then governor of the Cape, awarded a free grant of land to Dirk van Schalkwyk. Apart from their wine tasting facility, restaurant and top-notch MTB trails, Wine Valley Adventure situated on the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate offers a unique winelands experience. Whether it is a luxury hourly trip or a romantic sunset wine tasting ride you can enjoy horseback or quad riding along and over one of the most beautiful mountains in South Africa. They have a package to suit everyone and is suitable for all walks of life whether horse riding or quad biking with spectacular views. The rides begin on the beautiful Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and proceed up into the surrounding Paarl Nature Reserve. Riders are treated to spectacular views of the Du Toits Kloof Mountain range, the Swartberg farming areas to the West and the majestic Table Mountain to the South. They cater for beginners to advanced riders. Experienced guides will ensure an unforgettable outing.
Toeka at Domaine Brahms takes you down memory lane with antique tractors, old farming equipment, vintage cars and memorabilia galore. Spend a good hour appreciating this beautifully curated collection of collectables.
Afternoon – Perdeberg Cellar is a winery that lies at the foot of Paardeberg Mountain. They adopted their name form scores of Mountain Zebra that once roamed the foothills of the mountain. They offer guests food and wine pairings in their cool tasting room or if you want to linger you can enjoy their famous Tapas Picnic set in the garden with picnic benches and shade.
Visit Windmeul Cellar situated at the entrance to Voor-Paardeberg for a wine tasting. Shop at the local farm stall on the premises for something to take home or enjoy while staying in Paarl. All products are locally produced or farmed.
Evening – Pearl Mountain Wines is a boutique wine farm on the slopes of Paarl Mountain situated right in the middle of our town. It has been owned by the Retief family for five generations. Its location against the slopes of Paarl Mountain makes for beautiful views when dining at their restaurant Blacksmith’s Kitchen (originally a blacksmith’s cottage in 1747). Blacksmiths Kitchen has a cosy fireplace for chilly winter nights and a lovely outside area under the trees that overlooks the vineyard and valley for summer days and nights.
Morning – Start of the day with a visit to an iconic statue of an iconic man, Nelson Mandela. The bronze statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the Drakenstein Correctional Services is symbolic of a very important part of our country’s heritage. The statue stands tall at the prison gates, depicting Madiba on the day of his release from the correctional facility just outside Paarl. Madiba walked triumphantly through the gates of the prison on 11 February 1990 making it one of the most important dates in our country’s heritage.
Mellasat Vineyards is home to the world’s first white Pinotage. The white Pinotage is made with no contact time, and it’s matured in Romanian oak to produce a very unique offering. They have a downstairs cellar where you’ll discover the remarkable ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Wines’. Ask them about where the concept was born, search for a bottle of wine with your birth year on and spend some time browsing the variety of South African historical wines
Afternoon – Tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Pass, Amberg Art & Kitchen offers a laid-back approach to dining with breath taking views of the Paarl valley. The family-run restaurant serves hearty meals with a strong Austrian and international culinary influence, catering for all tastes. One of Austria’s national dishes on the menu that we highly recommend is the grilled Schnitzel, made from a thin cutlet of veal and served with Spätzle, bacon-wrapped green beans and mushroom bacon sauce.
Ashia takes you on a farm and animal tour and gives you the chance to meet their ambassador Cheetahs. Experience their unique purr, take once-in-a-lifetime photographs from secure areas inside their enclosures, and enjoy an educational talk by one of our animal carers. Experience a cheetah run in a secure area in the middle of the running ﬁeld. Watch and photograph the world’s fastest land mammals (weather permitting)! During their opening hours, visitors are welcome to refresh at their Café or on the terrace with sweeping views over the Drakenstein mountains and browse through the extensive selection of high-end gifts and memorabilia in the Boutique Shop. Bookings are essential and no more than 20 visitors a day.
An alternative family friendly option to keep you busy in the afternoon is a visit to the adorable creatures at Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio. Enjoy a cup of coffee and home-baked treats, stroll through the shop or feed the alpacas for those perfect photo moments. Alpaca Barn tours take place daily.