Thursday, 3 April 2014

Paarl, South Africa a great Backpacker's Destination

I visited the beautiful town of Paarl, 60 kilometres from Cape Town, in South Africa a couple of weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised seeing this community at the southern point of Africa living a very much European lifestyle. The town is engulfed in its history, with countless historic buildings lining its roads. Most of the old part of town has got beautiful old oak trees planted in the 1700's.
Afrikaans Language Monument on Paarl
Mountain.

The first European to set foot in the valley was a man called Abraham Gabemma, in 1657 sent from the fort in Cape Town by the then governor, Jan van Riebeeck to barter cattle with the local natives called the Khoi and San people. As Abraham Gabema entered the valley he saw the sun shining on the huge granite outcrops on the mountain that was wet as a result of rain earlier on the same day. The glare from the rocks reminded him of pearls and he promptly called the mountain Parel mountain which means pearl in Dutch. This name has changed over centuries to Paarl. 

Paarl is famous for two events over the past three hundred years:
Today Paarl is an affluent community, living in a peaceful area surrounded by the most glorious vineyards, rivers and mountains. It is the proverbial heaven on earth. Summer evenings in this town is glorious. If you are lucky to be invited to a "braai", the local South African version of a barbecue you will get to know the locals better and understand what makes them tick. It is a fairly educated community that is very much up to date with world events, sports events, travel and education. The town is well known for quality schools, with some kids coming from countries as far north as Zambia to be taught here.
Paarl is the centre of the South African Wine Industry and has got some of the biggest cellar buildings in the world at the KWV, founded in 1918.
Paarl has got various attractions that are worthwhile to visit, including the following:
If you are really interested to visit Paarl, you can search for some great hotels in Paarl here.

See below some photos I took at the Paarl Nature Reserve as well as at Afrikaans Language Monument.