Paarl Deals, Specials & Catalogues
Paarl is a large town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
In addition to being a population center for the region, Paarl is one of the oldest settlements of European origin in the entire country (exceeded in age only by Cape Town and Stellenbosch), and is also the largest town within the Cape Winelands district. As such, the town is rich in history and local culture. Paarl serves as the seat of the Drakenstein Local Municipality, but falls within the City of Cape Town’s economic catchment area. The town is named after the Paarl Rock, a group of three rounded outcrops of rock that form the shape of a pearl.
The Paarl area, like much of the Western Cape, was initially inhabited by the indigenous Khoikhoi and San peoples. In particular, the Cochaqua tribe, who grazed their cattle in the area, were once the wealthiest and most prosperous of all the Khoi tribes, and numbered in the region of 18000 members. Following the arrival of the Dutch East India Company under Jan van Riebeeck in the seventeenth century, trading relationships were established with the Cochaqua.
The desire for new trading relationships further inland, together with the expansion of the new colony, eventually displaced the local people. It was early pioneer Abraham Gabemma who gave the area its name upon seeing the Paarl mountain glistening like a pearl after recent rains, naming it “de Diamondt en de Peerlberg”, or “Diamond and Pearl Mountain”, which was eventually reduced to the current name of Paarl.
In 1687, then-governor Simon van der Stel granted land in the Paarl area to several free burghers, establishing a long tradition of agriculture in the fertile region that has lasted for centuries. Orchards, vegetable gardens, and vineyards were all planted in the surrounding valleys. Today, Paarl is famous as a major wine and fruit producing area, both at home and abroad. The area is therefore an important part of South Africa’s production infrastructure and economy.
Paarl is located adjacent to the neighbouring town of Wellington (with which it is often considered to make up one urban unit), approximately sixty kilometers northeast of Cape Town. The town is located along the famous Cape Wine Route.
Due to its long history and cultural importance, Paarl is home to a significant number of landmarks, including many of great historical value. The most prominent of these is of course the Paarl Rock itself, an igneous rock formation that dominates the local skyline. The Afrikaanse Taalmonument, a monument to the Afrikaans language and the only one of its kind in the world, can also be found on the slopes of the Paarl Rock itself. The former headquarters of the South African wine industry is also situated in Paarl, along with many heritage buildings in the old Cape Dutch style.
Paarl is home to around 112,045 people, at a density of approximately 1700 per square kilometer.
The majority of the population is Coloured, with Afrikaans being the most widely spoken first language in the area.