As important to us as our wine culture of our region is, so is our culture and heritage. Meander with us through our past and explore the stories of yesteryear at the following visitor attractions.
Druk My Niet is a 24-hectare farm situated in Paarl which was originally granted to the Huguenot, Francois du Toit, in 1692 as a portion of Kleinbosch Farm. Here you will find accommodation ideal for a weekend away. The farm lies in a biosphere reserve and endangered species of fynbos can be found here. The buildings on the farm are some of the oldest in the Paarl Valley and have enormous historical significance. Dorothee and Georg Kirchner bought the farm in 2002 and began a six-year period of renovation and replanting the estate.
Nederburg, was a farm was granted to Philippus Bemardus Wolfaart at the end of 1791 when the Dutch East India Company offered many of its properties for sale in an attempt to pay off its debts, Wolfaart established a flourishing farm and built a homestead in the 1800s. The farm was later sold off to the Retief family to whom it belonged for seven decades. The property changed hands several times until it was purchased in 1937 by a viticulturist, brewer and tea specialist, Johann Georg Graue.
Graue was to revolutionize wine growing and winemaking at Nederburg and to pioneer many important changes that impacted the entire South African wine industry. Not only did he understand the relationship between fine fruit and fine wine, he also introduced new technology, such as cold fermentation to promote wine quality.
In 1918, the year Nelson Mandela was born, South African wine farmers founded KWV with the aim of stabilizing, supporting and structuring a young, struggling industry. Initially started as a co-operative, the KWV soon grew in power and prominence to where it set policies and prices for the entire South African wine industry. To deal with the wine glut, the KWV restricted yields and set minimum prices that encouraged the production of
brandy and fortified wines.
For much of the 20th century, the wine industry of South Africa received very little attention on the world stage. Its isolation was exacerbated by the boycotts of South African products in protest against the country’s system of Apartheid.
It was not until the late 1980s and 1990s when Apartheid ended and the world’s export market opened up, that South African wines began to experience a renaissance. Many producers in South Africa quickly adopted new viticulture and winemaking technologies. The presence of flying winemakers from abroad brought international influences and focus on well-known varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
The reorganization of the powerful KWV co-operative into a private business further sparked innovation and improvement in quality as vineyard owners and wineries who had previously relied on the price-fixing structure that bought their excess grapes for distillation were forced to become more competitive by shifting their focus to the production of quality wine
Grande Roche is situated on the site of the old De Nieuwe Plantasie. Its heritage dates back to 1717 when a grant of land was given to Hermanus Bosman. Over the years the homestead grew and changed and, in 1876, it was renovated to reflect the then-popular Victorian style.
The farm was bought and modernized by the Du Toit family in 1926 and after a fire in 1953, it was rebuilt as a Victorian manor house. The farm buildings were carefully restored and the property converted into a hotel in 1991.
In 1993, Grande Roche was declared a National Monument. Of particular interest is a small slave’s chapel which is also a National Monument in its own right. Today it serves as a wedding chapel for intimate weddings.
Landskroon Wine Estate has a long history going back to 1689 when the French Huguenots landed in the Cape. Among the newcomers was Jacques de Villiers, a winemaker from Nirt in France. In 1874, his great-grandson Paul, bought a portion of the original Landskroon farm that had been granted to a free burger by governor Simon van der Stell in 1692.
Today, five generation later, the 200-hectare farm is still in the possession of the de Villiers family and is managed as a private family operation and owned by the families of brothers Paul and Hugo de Villiers
Our heritage in words
Through the years many well-known and highly respected journalists, poets and authors have walked on Paarl soil – our heritage has been passed on from generation to generation through the works of these remarkable people. Only a few are mentioned on this page.
Visit the Afrikaans Language Monument (Taalmonument) which is located on the hill overlooking Paarl. Officially opened on 10 October 1975, it commemorates the semi-centenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch, being erected on the 100th anniversary of the founding of ‘Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners’ (the Society of Real Afrikaners in Paarl, the organization that helped strengthen Afrikaners’ identity and pride in their language.
Our literacy heritage includes
DF Malherbe, South African novelist, poet, and dramatist whose work helped establish Afrikaans as the cultural language of South Africa, is best known for his novel Vergeet and the extremely popular ‘Die Meulenaar’ which tells of the Anglo-Boer War as well as the ‘En die wawiele rol’, which describes the Great Trek. He served for many years as a professor of literature at the University of Bloemfontein.
Another well-known author is Elsabe Antoinette Murray who wrote under the pseudonym of Elsa Joubert, an Afrikaans-speaking South African who rose to prominence with her novel ‘Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena’ – unstinting in its look at the suffering of black people under the apartheid government – shook South African society at the time of its release in Afrikaans in the late 1970’s and was eventually translated into thirteen different languages and staged as a drama
The controversial Eugene Marais delivered unusual and very diverse contributions to the literary world. He was an outstanding poet, a political rebel, an influential journalist, storyteller, astronomer, homeopath, a pioneer in the fight for the Afrikaans language and a nomad.
If you like walking tours with quirky facts, hidden corners and a few surprises, the Paarl Heritage Trail meander along the beautiful oak-lined Main Road of Paarl (meaning, “pearl”) is the tour for you.
Apart from being one of the best-preserved roads in South Africa, it’s also the longest. Along the way, passionate, proud Paarlite and experienced guide, Janet, will share stories about the town’s earliest residents, and show you the wide range of architectural styles dotted along the Main Road, too.
Enjoy the free downloadable audio tour that allow you to explore Paarl’s Heritage Trail at your own pace. Imagine strolling through the idyllic streets of Paarl, wondering about the history of a building, or whether there were any legendary characters tied to a specific street. With the VoiceMap tour, you can now have all your questions answered as you walk. Experiencing the delightful (and often quirky) history behind many of Paarl’s most exceptional landmarks is as easy as downloading the VoiceMap app on Android or Apple device and then downloading the Paarl Heritage Trail: ‘A story of wine and pearls’ in the comfort of your home, grabbing a pair of earphones, and going for a walk. The app is used offline, to save on data and roaming costs.