Paarl

About 40 minutes from Cape Town you will find Paarl, a jewel of a village at the foot of the mountains and granite rocks. Paarl is the 3rd oldest town in South Africa. In the Drakenstein prison just outside Paarl, Nelson Mandela has been imprisoned for his last years and started his Walk to Freedom!

Paarl is located in the Cape Winelands and is the place to spend the balmy hot summer days with a nice glass of wine. Naturally produced in the valley of Paarl and possibly combined with olives from the same valley.

Driving through the village street is a ride back in time. To your left and right you will find the most beautiful examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian and Art-Deco architecture. Many are houses or offices, but many of these beautiful buildings are nice shops or galleries.

With children you can visit Drakenstein Lion Park, the crocodile farm, the snake park or the bird park with many water birds, canaries and sunbirds. Or visit the glass-blowing studio, which also has a nice place with a beautiful view for lunch. Or visit something outside of Paarl, but definitely worth it, Butterfly World. A place where you can walk among hundreds of butterflies.

The language monument is also definitely worth a visit. This monument is a symbol for the various languages in South Africa, no less than 11 official languages! You can also take beautiful pictures here.

Spending the day in Paarl is by no means boring, you can go horse riding along mountains or through vineyards. Or go ballooning in the early morning and see Paarl awakening and what about hiking or mountain biking in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, for example. Also nice is a climb on top of the granite rocks that Paarl is known for.

There is an Arboretum on the banks of the Berg River where you will find 4500 trees of which 750 are native and exotic. The oaks were donated at the time by the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope; Simon van der Stel. The rich Flora and Fauna of Paarl and its surroundings also caught the attention of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, when he visited Paarl in 1836.