Try fresh produce from the orchards, vineyards and farms in this picturesque and historic area where Mandela was imprisoned.
Paarl is among South Africa’s prominent providers of wine and fruit. It stands in its namesake valley surrounded by rock giants that generate a dramatic and scenic setting. Learn about the country’s distinctive grape varieties at historic wineries around town.
Come for tastings at Vrede en Lust Estate, which offers acclaimed vintages from grapes growing in its two vineyards. Take a guided tour of the cellar for an understanding of the fermentation process and the history of the winery. Enjoy local products and artisan menus at the Lust Bistro and Bakery.
Dine at high-end restaurants at Laborie Wine Farm, among the oldest wineries in the country. The winery, known for its excellent Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines, takes its name from France’s La Bri district. Try various craft beers at its Bar di Bar, which has a 1970s ambiance with a jukebox.
Looming over the winery is the dominant Paarl Rock, a popular climbing challenge. Photograph its bulbous dome shape and smooth surface. Bring your kids on this fairly simple climb, where you will find many trails of varying difficulty. Climb from Paarl Rock to Bretagna Rock in about 1 hour.
Hear how Nelson Mandela spent 14 months in a private house within the walls of Victor Verster Correctional Centre at the end of his 27-year imprisonment. A bronze statue stands outside the prison, now known as the Drakenstein Correctional Centre. Marvel at the obelisks of the Afrikaans Language Monument and learn about its pride and identity.
Paarl is cited as a Southern Hemisphere equivalent to the Mediterranean for weather. Expect a pleasant climate with hot summers from December to March and mild winters.
The town is in the Cape Winelands area 37 miles (60 kilometers) east of Cape Town in southwestern South Africa. Fly to Cape Town International Airport and take a taxi to Paarl in less than 1 hour.
Visit Paarl, the pearl of South African wine, for intriguing monuments and a stunning backdrop of mountains.