Towering mountains, vineyards, orchards, rivers and streams make Paarl and surrounds the ideal destination for the outdoor enthusiast.
Klipkershout Walking Trail on Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve offers various scenic walking trails ranging between 2.4km and 10km in length.
Set off on a vigorous hike, climb Bretagne Rock, follow one of the many hiking trails in the surrounding mountains, or visit Millwater Wild Flower Garden.
Challenge yourself to rock climbing or abseiling from Paarl Rock or at Cascade Manor.
Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is great for hiking, rock climbing, mountain-biking and picnics.
Hiking trails include the eight kilometre Miaspoort Trail in the Du ToitsKloof Mountains and the three kilometre Donkerkloof trail to the small waterfall starting at the hairpin bend on the old Du ToitsKloof Pass.
Mountain biking trails are dotted around Paarl including in Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, Jan Philips mountain road, Agter-Paarl road and Rhebokskloof Wine Estate. For a full programme of the many mountain-biking trails, events and races, log on to www.paarlmtb.com/routes.php
What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than on horseback! Horse-riding can be enjoyed on trails or on some wine farms. For the ‘sport of kings’ enthusiasts, there are regular polo matches at Val de Vie.
For the keen golfer, there is Paarl Golf Club, the first 27-hole championship golf course in the Western Cape, situated on the beautiful Boschenmeer Golf Estate. The 18-hole Pearl Valley golf course is located nearby.
The Berg River in Paarl is the starting point for the internationally renowned Berg River Canoe Marathon. There are few events that can compare with this strenuous 4-day canoe river marathon that draws competitors and onlookers alike in their thousands, in the water and along the river banks from Paarl to Velddrif on the Atlantic coast.
Berg River Resort is centrally situated between Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch and offers a variety of accommodation. Facilities include a 3.5-metre deep Olympic-size swimming pool, a children’s pool, waterslide and the river, which is ideal for swimming and canoeing.
Fish for bass at Nantes Dam or on Paarl Mountain – permits obtainable from Drakenstein Municipality – and in the Berg River, or try your hand at fly-fishing at Elandspad on Du ToitsKloof.
For the fit and energetic, there is a game of squash, hockey and action cricket that caters for everyone from the rank amateur to the competitive sportsman or woman.
Wildlife experiences include the Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre that focuses on providing a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals.
Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm at Simondium offers the rare opportunity to view these prehistoric creatures up close and has a restaurant and gift shop, as well as picnic facilities.
Drakenstein Lion Park is actively involved in improving the quality of life of lions in captivity, locally as well as internationally, either by offering them a lifetime home, or working in conjunction with other animal welfare organisations to secure a safe future for individual animals.
Butterfly World Zoo is a world-class sanctuary and tourist attraction. They have collectively housed thousands of small, wild animals donated by caring pet owners. Some animals have been confiscated from the illegal pet trade by conservation authorities. Butterflies are their only purchase from a specialist breeder. They are currently home to over 740 animals of over 122 species, across all classes of animals and from all corners of the globe, their Tropical Garden and outdoor exhibits provides immersive edutainment by allowing a variety of creatures to roam freely.