The scenic beauty of Paarl, the ‘pearl’ of the Cape Winelands, compels visitors to explore the many scenic routes in the valley and the surrounding mountains.
Paarl is a town that takes its name from the huge granite outcrop that stands proudly on the crest of Paarl Mountain. Paarl Mountain’s 500-million-year-old domes are one of the world’s largest granite outcrops and often compared to the towering Ayers Rock in Australia.
Paarl was founded in 1687 and is the third-oldest town in South Africa.
The town is a mere 45-minutes’ drive from Cape Town.
The birth of Afrikaans as the World’s youngest language is celebrated by the Afrikaans Language Monument that stands astride the southern slopes of Paarl Mountain. The design of the Afrikaans Language Monument represents the growth and development of Afrikaans and gives recognition to the language’s roots that are spread over the three continents Africa, Europe and Asia.
Just outside Paarl is the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, where Nelson Mandela spent his last years of captivity and where he completed his long walk to freedom. The statue erected of Madiba errected outside the Correctional Centre bears witness to this landmark chapter in our country’s history.
The town has many fine examples of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Cape Dutch buildings that compete for space with a wide variety of fine restaurants and coffee shops spread out along the twelve kilometre-long Main Street lined with its old oak trees. Paarl has the longest Main Road in South Africa!
Some of the most beautifully restored buildings includes the Strooidak Church, which is the oldest Dutch Reformed Church building still in use in the country and the Het Gesticht Museum, the fourth oldest church building in South Africa, built as an old slave church in 1813.
Paarl offers endless activities for the outdoors enthusiast.
Hiking in Paarl Mountain Reserve or the Limietberg Nature Reserve, trail running, rock climbing at Paarl Rock, mountain biking, hot-air balloon rides or guided horse rides in the mountains.
Active events such as The Cape Epic Cycle Race, Legend Runner and the The Nelson Mandela 27 for Freedom Run is just some of the big events that take place in our town and surrounds. Paarl is also home to Boland Cricket Park which hosts international events.
Paarl attractions such as Le Bonheur Crocodile Park, Ashia Cheetah Experience, Butterfly World and Alpaca Loom offers visitors’ interactive experience with the wonders of the animal kingdom in beautiful outdoor surrounds.
There are a diverse range of wineries to choose from when visiting the Paarl Wine Route.
The first branded wine cellar in South Africa, KWV, was set up in Paarl initially to produce cooperatively and coordinate surplus wine. In the aftermath of apartheid and the opening of trade, Paarl producers together formed the Paarl Wine Route, the second such route in South Africa. Its larger, better known members include KWV and Nederburg Wine Estate.
Smaller boutique producers, each with their own personality, offer Paarl’s signature wine diversity, and exciting tourism opportunities such as Mellasat Wines, home to the first white Pinotage. Pinotage is a cultivar indigenous to South Africa.
A number of large agricultural, manufacturing and financial companies’ headquarters and some of the oldest and best academic schools in the Cape can be found in Paarl.
The Pearl Valley Golf Course and Paarl Golf Club at Boschenmeer Estate makes Paarl an attractive prospect for the golf lover.
The Inter Schools between Paarl Gimnasium and Paarl Boys’ High, held every year in August, is the biggest school sporting event in South Africa.
Paarl offers visitors world class attractions and experience. Places such as Spice Route Destination, Babylonstoren, KWV’s House of Fire and Fairview Wine and Cheese is such examples.
Wellington was founded in 1840 and was named after the Duke of Wellington. Originally known as Limiet Vallei, the area became known towards the end of the 17th century as Val du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (Valley of the Wagon Maker) when the French Huguenots settled here.
Wellington is located 75 km north-east of Cape Town, and can be reached via the N1 National Road and the R44-road. Its economy is centered around agriculture such as wine, table grapes, deciduous fruit and a brandy industry.
The Wellington region is renowned for its beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, picturesque environment, gardens and numerous wineries. The historic Bain’s Kloof Pass, built by master-road builder Andrew Geddes Bain, with its unsurpassed vistas, indigenous flora and fauna and crystal-clear rock pools is the perfect spot for hikers, while closer to town guided wine-walks and horse-trails through farmland and fynbos can be enjoyed. The dried fruit industry is synonymous with Wellington and the town is surrounded by fruit orchards, wine estates, Buchu plantations and olive groves. In addition, Wellington’s vine-cutting nurseries are responsible for approximately 80% of the country’s vine stock production.
Wellington is a wine lover’s delight. In the last couple of years Wellington has received an impressive array of accolades for their wines, locally and abroad. In 2010 Wellington was awarded the SA Terroir trophy for the Top Wine Area. The Wellington wine and brandy route is small and compact and the cellars within easy driving distance of each other.
Hikes, birding routes, game viewing, mountain biking, 4×4 routes and abseiling can be enjoyed in the mountainous terrain and scenic surrounds of Wellington and the Limietberg Valley.
The history of Wellington is displayed at the Wellington Museum, which features diverse cultural exhibits from the many ethnic groups and pioneering individuals who contributed toward establishing the Wamakersvallei (Valley of the Wagons) in the 1800′s, and “Ouma-Granny’s House’.
Wellington has been known as an important academic centre for Theological studies due to Scottish minister, Dr Andrew Murray, who introduced a Seminary schooling system in the early 1870’s. The Seminary gave rise to Huguenot Girls’ High School and Huguenot Teacher Training College, which evolved into Huguenot University. Other educational institutions include Boland College and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Wellington boasts two leather factories producing beautiful and quality leather products such as shoes, handbags and other smaller articles. Furthermore there are towel factory shops, fruit juice kiosks selling to the public and many other places to browse around.
Situated to the north of Wellington, the villages of Saron (originally a mission station), Gouda and Hermon are spread out in the midst of rich farmlands in the shadow of the Elandskloof and Winterhoek Mountains.
Paarl and Wellington boast true country hospitality, award winning wine routes and estates and accommodation to suit a variety of requirements and budgets. The towns provide excellent conferencing venues and some of the most idyllic wedding venues in the Cape Winelands. You can revel in beautiful fynbos-rich walks and hiking trails, superb mountain biking trails or take a relaxing drive through the countryside to enjoy the spectacular scenery and a leisurely lunch washed down with some of the region’s award winning wines.
We look forward to welcoming you to Paarl and Wellington!
Paarl Tourism Office Wellington Tourism Office
c/o Main and Auret Street Breytenbach Centre, c/o Burger & Malherbe Street
Tel: 021-872 4842 Tel: 021- 864 2988
Our Tourism Offices are open from Monday to Friday, 08h00 to 17h00, and at weekends from 10h00 to 13h00.