Paarl, the jewel of the Drakenstein Valley, is a historic town in the Cape Winelands. Internationally renowned names such as KWV and Nederburg produce fine wines and brandy in this beautiful valley.
It is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, famous for its beautiful mountain scenery, Cape Dutch architecture and rich cultural heritage. The Paarl valley was colonised in 1687, when land was allocated to over 20 families from Stellenbosch. The people of Paarl are descendants of the Khoisan, slaves from African and Asia, Dutch settlers, French Huguenots, Jewish immigrants, Italian Prisoners of War, and Xhosa migrant labourers.
The picturesque Paarl Valley is a firm favourite on the wine route of the Cape Winelands. The long main road through the town is lined with ancient old oak trees and fabulous old buildings. The town has many fine examples of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Cape Dutch architecture.
Paarl’s award winning wine estates and farms are the epitome of South African country hospitality, boasting a plethora of accommodation options to suit different budgets and tastes. Our local wine experts have given us a guide to one of the Western Cape’s most historic wine destinations, including what to do, the best hotels and top winery restaurants.Read less
Fly into Cape Town, then head out to Paarl, which is about 65 km away on the Coast of the Western Cape. The best way to do this is to go with an organised private tour, but shuttles - and even Uber - are available if you prefer. The drive is around 45 minutes. You will not want to drive if you are tasting wine!
The currency here is the Rand. Currently, there are around 19 Rand to £1 Sterling and 14.5 Rand to 1 USD, so it’s a great time to go as your money will go far!
When to go
Paarl enjoys the temperate climate of the Western Cape of South Africa. Its winters are cool and wet, while its summer months are hot and dry. The best time to visit is during the spring in September and October or in the autumn in March and April. Paarl is situated on the Berg River, at the foot of Paarl Rock – one of the largest granite outcrops in the world. The mountainous scenery and surrounding nature reserves makes Paarl a popular hiking and mountain biking destination. The area is temperate, with the hottest months in January and February and the coldest, wettest months in June and July.
February/March: Charity Carnival
Student from the college dress up and take to the streets to raise money for local charities. Think Drum-majorettes, Brass Marching Bands and a wonderful atmosphere.
April: Pinotage and Biltong Festival.
WIne-loving carnivores rejoice! Actually, there’s a lot more food than that nowadays. Throw in some live music and you have a party...See more here.
July: Berg River Canoe Marathon
Every year, hundreds of canoeists depart from Paarl for this: one of the world's most demanding canoe races. It’s well worth a watch! See more here.
August: School Duel
Every August, there’s a sports ‘duel’ between two of the Western Cape's top rugby schools "Bois-haai" (Paarl Boys High School) and "Gimmies" (Paarl Gymnasium High School). The Old Boys meet each other in a curtain raiser event, a big brag is held and a champagne breakfast arranged.
September: Nederberg Wine Auction & The Cultivaria Festival
So much more than a wine auction, this event has developed into a fabulous carnival complete with its own fashion parade, food and wine stalls and the opportunity to taste South Africa's top wines. See more here. Elsewhere, there is the Paarl Cultivaria Festival, a ‘fusion of pleasure, culture and adventure’. Intrigued? See more here.
December: Boxing Day Sport Event
On Boxing Day every year, top athletes and cyclists from all parts of the country participate every year this sporting event. Spectators flock from all over the Cape Peninsula and beyond. It’s a fantastic family outing! See more here.