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Shelley Phillips
Shelley Phillips Africa Travel Specialist
"It’s so hard to choose just a couple of places in South Africa, but for me beach time at Plettenberg Bay and a safari in Sabi Sand top my list."

Paarl Holidays

As a village, Paarl is the least picturesque of the three.  Occupying an important trade route along the river valley, Paarl is strung out along the valley and has always been a centre of industry.  At the time of the gold-rush, it was the centre of the cart-building industry – you can visit the oldest cooperage in South Africa. Later, it became a textile town. When that industry collapsed, Paarl refocused on agriculture and tourism.

As a wine producer, Paarl also veers toward large-scale production. It is the home of South Africa’s two biggest producers, Neederburg, which produces close to a million cases a year, and KWV, South Africa’s premier wine co-op, which for many years was the face of South African wines abroad.

Paarl lies at the foot of a bare, granite dome-like mountain, the second largest granite outcrop in the world and the origin of the town’s name. When one of the first European settlers saw this rock, glistening in the sunshine after rain, he said it was like a pearl.  The name stuck and the area became know as Paarlvallei.

A stretch of Paarl’s 12-kilometre long Main Road is lined with fine examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco architecture, largely occupied by restaurants, coffee shops and crafts shops. The Strooidak Kerk (Thatched Roof Church) is the oldest Dutch Reforemed Church in the country.

Paarl is less perfect than Stellenbosch and Franschoek, but also less of a tourist honey pot. It earns its money from servicing agriculture: in addition to the famous vineyards, oranges, guavas, maize and many other crops are grown in the vicinity.

Read more about Paarl

Filter Holiday Ideas:
Holiday Type
Total Holidays: 2      
Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari
  • Family
  • Safari
  • Fly-Drive
From £3105 per person
14 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
South Africa
This example of a tailor-made self-drive holiday explores Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, on to the Garden Route and ending with a safari in the Eastern Cape, staying small guest houses providing genuine hospitality, comfort and local knowledge.
Winelands, Whales and Wildlife
  • Fly-Drive
  • Wildlife
From £4455 per person
15 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
South Africa
This exciting 16 day self-drive itinerary starts in Cape Town and takes you along the Garden Route stopping off at incredible destinations where you can enjoy extraordinary activities. Cycle through the winelands, go whale watching on a boat trip in Hermanus and spend days on game drives in the malaria-free Pumba Private Game Reserve.
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