Paarl is the third oldest settlement in South Africa.
First established as a farming community in 1687 when 20 farmers were given land along the Berg River. The Valley was named after a Dutch commissioner who visited the Cape in 1685 – Hendrik Adriaan van Reede tot Drakenstein, Lord of Mijdrecht.
Also the mountains towering over the Drakenstein Valley bear his name –Klein Drakenstein in the East and Groot Drakenstein in the South.
Abraham Gabbema, on a DEIC expedition in 1657, named the two largest boulders on Paarl Mountain “den Diamant ende Peerlbergh” – the Diamond and the Pearl – from which the town later took the name Paarl.
Paarl’s heritage trail is set along Paarl’s Main Road and is one of the best-preserved 19th century streets in South Africa. It has a rich legacy of beautiful old buildings and can be explored with a self-guided walking tour or a personal tour guide.