Two days in Paarl is by far not enough time to explore the town’s myriad of offerings and get a look at its picturesque environment and numerous wineries. We have put together a variety of things to see and experience to show you how best to spend your two days in the pearl of the Winelands!
Morning – Knus Karoo Kombuis originated from two sisters’ memories of their Karoo upbringing, featuring picnics in the middle of nowhere and eating apricots in a tree. “Knus” stands for cosy, that overarching Karoo experience, and that’s exactly what you feel when you realise that they specialise in such delicacies as ‘camembert, green fig and nut’ roosterkoek and serve delicious Terbodore coffee brewed from their La Marzocco machine. Sitting under the shelter of a sprawling tree out on the back patio, we found the waiters were brimming with local anecdotes and soon were ready to relish real farm food. But it’s not all coffee and cake at Knus – the recommended freshly pressed juice of the day was a zingy carrot, apple and ginger concoction that had our taste buds tingling. Gift shop treats like biscuits, figs and olives are from the Karoo, too and well worth topping up your pantry at home.
Afrikaans might be the world’s youngest language, but the development of Afrikaans was a process and had an interesting history. Experience this history at the iconic 13,5-metre-high Afrikaans Language Monument on top of Paarl Mountain. It was designed by architect Jan van Wijk who found his inspiration in the round granite rocks in Paarl. It was completed by the end of 1974.
The best way to see and learn about the third oldest permanent settlement in South Africa is to take book a spot on the 1km Historical Walk along Paarl’s Main Road. Its rich history is reflected in the buildings and your knowledgeable guide will entertain you with tales of yesteryear.
Afternoon – Kikka Boulevard is situated in an old jail in the Boulevard which runs parallel along with the Berg River in the centre of our town. Apart from coffee and cake this famous coffee shop and florist in one, offers healthy comforting, homemade meals. What makes them unique is that while watching the florists work their magic, you can enjoy your meal.
KWV Wine Emporium is the oldest commercial cellar in South Africa and also had one of the biggest underground cellars in the world. Join one of their Cellar Tours (offered in English, Afrikaans, German and French) and hear the story behind the hand carved barrels and the biggest barrel as part of your tour. Afterwards you can enjoy a wine tasting or book a special food & wine pairing when you arrive.
Evening – If you want to dine local and with passion, Noop is the place to be. Noop Restaurant supports local suppliers as far as possible, and they don’t over-elaborate or unnecessarily complicate recipes. The people of Noop respect the purity of the ingredients.
Morning – Start of the day with a visit to an iconic statue of an iconic man, Nelson Mandela. The bronze statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the Drakenstein Correctional Services is symbolic of a very important part of our country’s heritage. The statue stands tall at the prison gates, depicting Madiba on the day of his release from the correctional facility just outside Paarl. Madiba walked triumphantly through the gates of the prison on 11 February 1990 making it one of the most important dates in our country’s heritage.
Mellasat is home to the world’s first white Pinotage. The white Pinotage is made with no contact time, and it’s matured in Romanian oak to produce a very unique offering. They have a downstairs cellar where you’ll discover the remarkable ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Wines’. Ask them about where the concept was born, search for a bottle of wine with your birth year on and spend some time browsing the variety of South African historical wines.
Afternoon – Tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Pass, Amberg Art and Kitchen offers a laid-back approach to dining with breath taking views of the Paarl valley. The family-run restaurant serves hearty meals with a strong Austrian and international culinary influence, catering for all tastes. One of Austria’s national dishes on the menu that we highly recommend is the grilled Schnitzel, made from a thin cutlet of veal and served with Spätzle, bacon-wrapped green beans and mushroom bacon sauce.
Ashia takes you on a farm and animal tour and gives you the chance to meet their ambassador Cheetahs. Experience their unique purr, take once-in-a-lifetime photographs from secure areas inside their enclosures, and enjoy an educational talk by one of our animal carers. Experience a cheetah run in a secure area in the middle of the running ﬁeld. Watch and photograph the world’s fastest land mammals (weather permitting)! During their opening hours, visitors are welcome to refresh at their Café or on the terrace with sweeping views over the Drakenstein mountains and browse through the extensive selection of high-end gifts and memorabilia in the Boutique Shop. Bookings are essential and no more than 20 visitors a day.
An alternative family friendly option to keep you busy in the afternoon is a visit to the adorable creatures at Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio. Enjoy a cup of coffee and home-baked treats, stroll through the shop or feed the alpacas for those perfect photo moments. Alpaca Barn tours take place daily.
Photo credit: Miranda van Breda