Welcome To Paarl
Paarl South Africa, Commercial Heart of the Cape Winelands district, lies at the foot of the Paarl mountain in the Berg River Valley, facing the majestic Klein Drakenstein Mountains.
Situated 60km north east of Cape Town, along the well traveled N1 highway. Paarl, as well as having its own attractions, is ideally placed for visitors to explore the Winelands & western regions of the Western Cape.
Paarl, South Africa is undoubtedly a beautiful place with magnificent scenery. The name Paarl is derived from the Dutch name for a Pearl (Parel) which was given to the 3 huge granite rock outcroppings on the Paarl mountain above the town, which can be seen from afar.
To the south of Paarl lies the massive and awe inspiring sentinel of the Franschhoek valley winelands, the Simonsberg Mountain with the Vineyards of many venerable Estates planted along the lower slopes.
Hard to find a more beautiful corner of the Western Cape or South Africa for that matter, then the region of Paarl.
Of Course that's just our opinion, but come and experience Paarl, the Pearl of the Cape Winelands in South Africa yourself!
Paarl is the center of the Cape Winelands district, and as such is surrounded by vineyards and grand Wine Estates which produce some of the best wines in the winelands of South Africa, particularly red wines, to be found in the world.
Of course this too is a matter of opinion, but also based on the many awards won by wines from South Africa.
Visit our Paarl Wines Page for a comprehensive listing of all the Wine Estates in the Paarl winelands.
Paarl has a fabulous choice of accommodation such as Guest Houses, B&B's, Self Catering Villa's & Cottages, and Hotels for the discerning visitor as well as budget tourists.
Visit our Paarl Accommodation pages to find the right place for you. Filled with exquisite Cape Dutch homes, many converted for use by visitors, Paarl has the right accommodation to suit every taste and need for an enjoyable holiday in the Cape, South Africa.
We also include some accommodation in the Franschhoek valley and village.
For the Discerning Diner, Paarl has a excellent selection of world class Fine Dining establishments. A diversity of cuisine - from local traditional dishes, simple and well prepared, to exquisite delights of international cuisine, awaits you when dining out in the pearl of the winelands. Paarl Mall just off the N1 is the place to dine after a tiring shopping experience.
For the fast food junkie or those looking for a breakfast and lunch menu, there are plenty of Fast Food outlets and casual Coffee Shops to choose from. Visit our Paarl Restaurant Pages.
Tours & Travel
Paarl is also the nearest neighbor to the internationally renowned Winelands village of Franschhoek. Paarl is at the head of the Franschhoek valley.
The northern Overberg region and the beginning of the Klein (Little) Karoo is just a short trip away from Paarl, either through the Huguenot Tunnel or over the scenic Du Toits Kloof Pass.
Visit our Tours and Travel Page
Shops & Shopping
Paarl is the shopping and business hub of the Cape Winelands. This busy town has numerous shops, supermarkets and businesses; from antiques to electronics and everything in between.
Besides the thriving town centre, there is also the Paarl Mall which attracts shoppers from all over the Western Cape, providing a great shopping experience to those who would otherwise have to travel into Cape Town to shop.
Visit our Paarl Shops, Paarl Mall Shops & Stores Directory and Business Pages to find comprehensive listings of all the shops and businesses in town.
Paarl is the home of the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum (language museum), situated near the Paarl town centre, as well as the Afrikaanse Taalmonument (language monument), which sits on the southern slope of the Paarl Mountain, quite close to the famous Paarl Rock. These two points of interest are a must for visitors to Paarl.
The museum is housed in the well-preserved former house of the respected Paarl wine farmer Gideon Malherbe, one of the founding members of the "Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners" ("GRA" or Association of True Afrikaners). The purpose of this association was to promote Afrikaans as a formal, written language. The very first Afrikaans newspaper (Die Patriot) was published by the group in 1876.
The house was bought in 1971 by the Language Monument Committee, and it was lovingly restored to pristine condition. The museum and monument were officially inaugurated in 1975, which was the centennial celebration of the establishment of the GRA.
Two schools, which are among the top sporting schools in south Africa are situated in Paarl. The competition between these two Paarl schools in the sporting arena is evident by the famous sporting stars that they have produced, particularly on the rugby field.
The first is Paarl Boys' High School which is one of the oldest schools in South Africa. Built in 1868 the school is rich in history and has an immense tradition and pride and is situated in the heart of Paarl. Not only does Paarl Boys' High excel at sports among the schools of South Africa, it is also consistently among the top ten schools in academic achievement in the Western Cape. Paarl Boys' High School has produced some famous Springbok rugby players, such as Carel du Plessis, Corne Krige a former Springbok captain and Guthro Steenkamp who is a current Springbok.
Paarl Gymnasium is truly a sporting giant with many a great Springbok Rugby Player to its credit including two current Springbok greats in Schalk Burger, who is also the current Western Province Rugby and Super 14 Stormers Captain as well as celebrated centre Jean De Villiers. Paarl Gymnasium is a co-ed school.
Paarl is truly proud of both these schools, evidenced by the fact that around 30 000 spectators gather to watch rugby games between them at interschool competitions.
Paarl has a Mediterranean climate with generally hot dry and windy summers and cold wet winters. Snow frequently falls on the higher mountains around Paarl during the peak of winter. Paarl does become extremely hot at the height of summer, frequently topping 40°C during February.
Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town & Stellenbosch. The first European to discover Paarl's incredible beauty was Abraham Gabbema who led an expedition in 1657 to find fresh supplies, to barter with Khoi groups in the area, and as some suspect to search for the legendary treasures of Monomotapa. They arrived in the Paarl area during stormy weather and as the rain ceased and the sun came out they saw the glistening granite boulders.
This prompted him to name the place "den Diamond ende Peerlbergh", Dutch for "the Diamond and Pearl Mountain" which eventually became the name Paarl, pronounced Perel and meaning Pearl.
30 years later the Governor of the Cape in South Africa, Simon van der Stel granted farms in the area to settlers in the cape and in 1688 the first French Huguenots arrived in the Paarl area and settled in the beautiful valley, of which Paarl is at the head, known then as "Olifantshoek / Elephants Corner" due to the many elephants that roamed the valley.
As many settlers from different European nations conglomerated in the Cape and began to intermarry a new people evolved, a unique language began to develop, and so the Afrikaans nation was born and Paarl became the centre of development of the Afrikaans language in South Africa.