Paarl is a popular tourist destination. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Paarl is a popular tourist destination. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

From wine tours to hidden gems, Paarl as a travel destination ticks all the boxes

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published May 10, 2021

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For many, an adventure or a vacation is synonymous with overseas travel.

But now, more than ever before, domestic travel is the buzzword and offers a unique opportunity to discover the hidden gems of our own country – the places, attractions and fascinating destinations we might not have considered visiting, had this health and economic crisis not occurred.

Recently I got an opportunity to visit the Winelands in Paarl with a media group. I dived into the opportunity and although I have been there a couple of times before, I decided to approach this trip as if it were my first one.

Less than an hour's drive from Cape Town and we had arrived at our destination. If we had been travelling with children, I’m pretty sure we would not have been bombarded with that question “are we there yet?”

Short distance travels are convenient, but full of pleasant surprises too.

I experienced gracious hospitality, scenic beauty, and an array of tourism attractions even for the whole family.

The two day expedition had amazing takeaways – below are the highlights of my trip:

Painting workshop:

Before I went on the trip I had experienced a few soul and peace challenging situations.To have a rock painting session at Expressive Art Studio first on the itinerary was absolutely the game changer I needed. It was a calming, therapeutic session that reminded me of art classes back at school and the freedom that came with expressing one’s self visually. The studio is situated in the vineyards on the scenic Ridgeback Wine Farm. A must for anyone visiting the area.

Rock painting session at Expressive Art Studio

Paarl wine routes

Paarl wine routes offer guests a range of full day and half day wine tours. From Ridgeback Wine Farm, to Nederburg, and Perdeberg the wines of the Cape Winelands will tickle the taste buds like never before. A tip: take the trip as a group or with a plus one. You can also choose an option to sleep at one of the estates.

Paarl-15042021. Wine tasting (pairing) at Perdeberg Wines.. Picture:Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Accommodation:

The accommodation offerings in Paarl are diverse and suit every budget and occasion from the luxurious Laborie Estate’s double rooms furnished in a Cape French style overlooking the historic Manor House garden, and beautiful vineyards.

This was a perfect place to escape and rejuvenate. Waking up to the view of a majestic mountain was out of the ordinary. And getting to run or walk around the place gave a different meaning to experiencing nature.

Historical walk:

I’ve been to Paarl a couple of times before but never took time to engage with the history of the small town. Going on the Paarl Historical Walk allowed me the opportunity to experience the place with a new set of eyes empowered by knowledge.

If you prefer a self-guided tour, you can opt for the Paarl VoiceMap app or simply pop in at the tourism information centre and get a printed map. This is an inexpensive outing that can also be experienced by the whole family.

Hidden gems:

I absolutely love hidden gems, whether in a town or a city, I have to find a gem when travelling. Brenda’s Deli was just what I needed to round off my travel experience. It’s along the Spice Route Destination outside Paarl.

The best place to find sentimental gifting items for the family suitable for any occasion, Brenda’s is all about carefully combining fresh ingredients, traditional flavours and new ideas to create coveted food products.

Paarl was definitely a treat. Nothing beats visiting the small town. On a tight budget? A few days to spend? Short distance travel? Paarl ticks all the boxes. It’s absolutely value for money – and the memories of the trip will be etched on your mind for years to come.

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