If you are in South Africa then drive 30 minutes towards Paarl, a quaint city which is now becoming the tourist destination. Paarl is the perfect place for those who want to explore the Wineland that surrounds this city. Initially called as Perleberg or Pearl Mountain, Paarl today carries unique character and attracts tourists in large numbers. It is also the place where Afrikaans gain recognition for their written language. Today, if you visit the Afrikaans Language Museum, you will find the testimony of the accomplishment. There are plenty of things to do in Paarl.
16 Best Things to do in Paarl
There is a famous 11 km long Main Street in Paarl featuring Strooidak Church, Die Oude Pastorie Museum, the Patriot Building, and the Gymnasium. Like these, there are many attractions that make Paarl worth exploring. If you are planning to visit this South African city, then here are top 16 things to do in Paarl:
1. Red Table: Have lunch
The Red Table restaurant is located in the historical manor house of the Nederburg wine estate. This country-style eatery celebrates many South African cuisines and is blessed with an amazing location. The restaurant focuses more on fresh food that is made purely from locally-sourced ingredients, which allows in creating a menu that is dynamic and innovative. It is well-known for meat, gluten and other dishes. The Red Table is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
2. The Butterfly World: Explore
The Butterfly World is the home of more than two dozen species of exotic butterflies and has a variety of birds which are worth exploring. It is located on Route 22 near Klapmuts and is a paradise for photographers. The park offers some good meals and there are some good craft shops stocking butterfly related goods. Make sure to visit early to avoid afternoon crowds.
3. Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio: Stop by
Don’t miss visiting Alpacas, which is certainly the most beautiful place to explore in Paarl. If you have kids along, then let them have fun by feeding alpacas. Don’t miss the Alpaca Barn Tour. The kids will certainly have a great time spending here. You can also visit the coffee shop to have some hot and cold beverages. Moreover, you can also shop for some scarves, blankets, and rugs.
4. Berg River Brewery: Drink beer
If you want to try some South African beer, then Beer River Brewery is the place you must go to. Being an industrial park, there are some good beer tasting rooms. There is a craft beer brewery which has been operating since 2015 and was started by two friends and is running successfully. Along with beer, there’s a small snack menu having burgers, chicken salad, and nachos as options to serve.
5. Drakenstein Lion Park: Visit the wild cats
This sanctuary is for captive born predators and was established in the late 90s. It was established for the safety of animals from abuse. It is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands and comprises of 50 acres of sprawling lion habitat. The main aim is not to get involved in commercial breeding or trading these animals. The animals which you will come across in this park cannot be rehabilitated to the wild.
6. Mellasat Vineyards: Sip wine
When you arrive at the Mellasat, you should ideally visit the original farmhouse built in 19th century. It is a very hands-on farm. Mellasat is majorly known for white Pinotage started in 2007 as an experiment. The most intriguing part of the farm is the Graveyard of Forgotten Wines. It’s a collection of 400 odd wines dating back to 1946. Apart from wine tasting, you can also enjoy snooping on dusty old wine bottles and the charcuterie platter.
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7. Taal Monument: Explore scenic views
This Afrikaans Language Monument was designed by architect Jan Van Wijk, who found the inspiration from the round granite rocks in Paarl, and words from two Afrikaans authors- NP van Wyk Louw and CJ Langenhoven. You can even take a walk around the amphitheater and enjoy the view over Groot Drakenstein Berge, Simonsberg, Klapmutskop, and Tafelberg mountains. The monument is open daily from 8:00 am. It is open to all.
8. Wine Valley Horse Trails: Ride a horse
The place operates 7 days a week and its trails are led by qualified guides. Your ride will begin on the beautiful Rhebokskloof Wine Estate which surrounds the Paarl Nature Reserve. Once you reach here, you will find different breeds of horses that will suit the terrain and the level of riders. These animals are well-tempered. Some of the breeds available are- South African Boerperd, Friesian, Thoroughbred, Warmblood, etc.
9. Pearl Mountain Wines Blacksmith Kitchen: Take a wine tasting tour
Started by Retief family in the 19th century, Blacksmith Kitchen is the perfect location to enjoy a glass or two of Pearl Mountain wine and meal. You can even opt for wine tasting in the tasting room at their restaurant. Pearl Mountain wines are made from wine grown on the farm located at the Stubborn Mann range. There is a cozy fireplace to rest around during winter season.
10. Paarl: Balloon trip over the vineyards
Float in the musical silence across the Cape Winelands. While you float, you will come close to the Drakenstein Mountains, which from a distance will look magnetic when the sun rays touch the mountain. Throughout the balloon trip, you are assisted by a professional. You are laid down on land after an hour of hot air balloon session. It is run by Wineland Ballooning which is run by South African non-scheduling airline. It is licensed by CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).
11. Hout Street Gallery: Shop until you drop
The Hout Street Gallery today is the foremost things to watch for in Western Cape. It was established in the mid of 1970s. The gallery has Georgian style interior boosted with old shops. It also large exhibition rooms and has upmarket gift shops in the adjoining area. These shops offer a wide range of products to buy. This includes- gifts and crafts, ceramics, bronzes and hand-blown glass.
12. Paarl Heritage Walk: Take a stroll
One of the best ways to explore Paarl is taking a heritage walk. Take a guide along to know more about different places in South Africa. During the walk you will learn about different stories and historical facts pertaining to Africa. You will also get to learn about the oak trees that line the streets. Make sure to visit the bar which has an assortment of mocktails and cocktails.
13. Paarl: Visit Tea under the Trees
It is located in the working farm and offers a special, peaceful experience. You can have great photo shoots with your family. In addition to this, you can also explore the garden and shop for some plants including herbs and vegetable seedlings. Many people visit this place to enjoy the peace it offers. Make sure to place your bookings early on.
14. Paarl: Taste the amazing Fairview Wine and Cheese
You might have heard about Fairview, but did you ever heard that Fairview was born out of humble butchery? Once you visit this place, you will find many goats which are major attraction at Fairview. You can even enjoy wine tasting, wine pairing, and elegant Master Tastings. There are wide range of Fairview cheese and over 50 types of cow and goat milk. The place hosts food and wine evenings twice a month which is attended by many people.
15. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm: Go on a reptile exploration tour
If you are looking for a family place, the Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm is a good option. You will enjoy the crocodile tours conducted within every 45 minutes. During these tours, you will walk across open dams where you will see 300 crocodile resting around. There are aquarium style panels which allow you to view underwater crocodiles. Adding to this, there is a snake park where you can see indigenous and exotic snakes.
16. Paarl: Discover the local Arts and Crafts
If you love buying handicrafts, then Paarl offers some great options to shop for arts and crafts. In fact, there is no shortage of galleries in Paarl. While shopping, you will come across some amazing dolls and fine arts including antiques, glassware, sculptures and recycled items. If you are keen to know about decorative arts, then you can also attend classes offered by studios.
We’ve mentioned many things to do in Paarl that cater to people with varying tastes and preferences. Since there are countless things to do there, you need to plan your trip to South Africa way in advance. So, book your tickets now and enjoy the best time with your family at Paarl.
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