Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve


The three giant granite domes that dominate this reserve glisten like pearls when washed by rain – hence the name ‘Paarl’. The reserve has mountain fynbos (literally ‘fine bush’; primarily proteas, heaths and ericas), a cultivated wildflower garden that’s a delightful picnic spot, and numerous walks with excellent views over Drakenstein Valley. Hiking maps are sold at the main gate. On a clear day there are stunning views as far as Cape Town.

Access is via Jan Phillips Mountain Dr, from where it's about 6km on a winding gravel road to the main picnic area, Meulwater.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Winelands attractions

1. Paarl Museum

0.93 MILES

Housed in the Oude Pastorie (Old Parsonage), built in 1714, this museum has an interesting collection of Cape Dutch antiques and relics of Huguenot and…

2. Afrikaans Language Museum

0.94 MILES

Paarl is considered the wellspring of the Afrikaans language, a fact covered by this interesting museum. It also shows, thanks to a multimedia exhibition,…

3. KWV Sensorium

2.07 MILES

Just when you thought you'd seen every possible pairing option, KWV chooses to couple its wines with local art inspired by the region. It's a fun way to…

4. Taal Monument

2.19 MILES

The somewhat phallic Taal Monument is in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve. The giant, needle-like edifice commemorates the language (taal is Afrikaans…

5. KWV Emporium

2.24 MILES

Operating since 1918, this wine-making cooperative is particularly well known for its award-winning fortified wines and brandies. Cellar tours are…

6. Spice Route


Spice Route is known for its complex red wines, particularly the Flagship syrah. Aside from wine there is a lot going on, including glass-blowing…

7. Fairview

2.91 MILES

This hugely popular estate off Rte 101, 6km south of Paarl, is a wonderful winery, but not the place to come for a tranquil tasting. It's great value,…

8. Nederburg Wines

3.38 MILES

This is one of South Africa’s best-known labels, a big but professional and welcoming operation featuring a vast range of wines. As well as various wine…