Monday, May 20

WESTERN CAPE: BUY HERE: Our insider’s guide to Paarl

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The region attracts many residents from other parts of the country and offers masses of opportunities

This country town is a thriving centre for the agricultural sector in the region, but its proximity to the Mother City means it also has an element of city suaveness.

The town of Paarl is a typical country town – with older inhabitants either selling or downscaling and making way for new families attracted to the exceptional schools in the area.

“It has become a popular commercial centre, particularly for business connected to wine and fruit farming and the export of those and other agricultural products. Dairy farming is also popular in this area.

“This urban living with country connection is attracting residents from other areas of the country, as it retains the feel of a country town, yet offers masses of opportunities,” says Chris Cilliers, chief executive officer for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands.

There is a good spread of property prices, from starter homes to exceptional mountainside properties with magnificent views.

There is a good spread of property prices, from starter homes to exceptional mountainside properties with magnificent views.- Chris Cilliers, principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands Picture: Supplied

Northern Paarl has properties priced attractively for young families. Homes in these areas have seen significant price increases in the last few years because many residents have renovated and improved their properties.

There have been some successful small developments in and around the central Paarl area. The extension to the south has brought more estate-based properties into play.

Boschenmeer is now well established, offering excellent value for money for golf estate living. Val de Vie, incorporating Pearl Valley, has recently been voted the best multi-generational estate in the world.

Cedar Lodge, a three-bedroom townhouse in Pearl Valley. Picture: Supplied

This means properties on the estate are available for every life stage of occupants – starter home to retirement. In addition, there is a new extension, The Acres, where stands range in size from 700m² to 0,4 hectares.

A limited number of 1ha erven will also be available, where owners will be able to stable horses or establish a small vineyard.

“Properties in prime positions in Paarl are always sought but do not attain the top prices achieved on the estates. It is important to remember that buying on an estate is an investment in a lifestyle and comes with access to many facilities.

The town offers the best of the Cape: there are great schools, it’s an easy commute to Cape Town, there is a wide range of fabulous restaurants, the winefarms are among the most famous in the country and there’s even a theatre which offers thespian entertainment. Picture: Adele de Almeida, resident Picture: Supplied

“The top price on Val de Vie has been R30 million and there have been several sales on the greater estate (Pearl Valley and Val de Vie) above R20m. This would be difficult to obtain in Paarl town.

“There are currently homes in the market up to R19m. However, most transfers at those prices in the past two years enjoy commercial zoning or the possibility of further development. “Paarl is a town embodying old-fashioned country living; it offers something for everyone.”

Places to go and things to do in Paarl 

1 OUTDOORS

Visible from the N1 highway, the Taal Monument is a bold tribute to Africa’s youngest language. Coupled with the Taal Museum in Paarl itself, the aim is to preserve and promote all aspects of the Afrikaans language and culture, while recognising the influence of all languages on each other. There are free tours of the monument for groups of 20 or more. Call 021 863 2800.

A visit to Paarl has to include a quick trip to the Drakenstein Correctional Centre. This prison, then known as Victor Verster, became famous when the world’s most loved prisoner, Nelson Mandela, was transferred there in December 1988. It is on the R301 just outside Paarl; call 021 864 8000.

2 EAT

Along with beautiful vistas, Paarl offers some of the region’s finest restaurants. If the gardens at Babylonstoren don’t take your breath away, then the property has a choice of restaurants to try. The Greenhouse offers a small menu of picnic-style foods prepared daily with home-made bread, charcuterie and jams. Open from Monday to Sunday 10 am to 4 pm, bookings can be made at 021 863 3852.

Rated as among the very best in Paarl is Noop on the Main Road. Nestled under two ancient oak trees the establishment is renowned for creating unpretentious dishes from the finest in-season local ingredients. Bookings at 021 863 3925.

The Goatshed, on Fairview farm, has established itself as one of Paarl’s favourite estate restaurants. Call 021 863 2450.

3 DRINK

From the centre of Paarl, you are within a short drive of some the region’s finest wine farms; Fairview has become famous for their Goats Do Roam range. 

Based on a mix of southern French and Italian style blends, they come at attractive prices and include a red blend, a white blend and a rosé. KWV was established in 1918 as a representative body of all wine farmers in the region. It has now become one of the premier exporters of wines and brandy operating from a 22ha complex in Paarl. It’s a great place to start any wine tour of the region. It is open seven days a week, call 021 863 3803.

In a region dominated by stellar wines, it’s the Berg River Brewery that’s causing locals to smack their lips. Two ales, a lager and a low-alcohol weisz made from organic and natural ingredients in an authentic craft-style round out their range. Tastings are available daily in the taproom, 021 871 1390.

The iconic goats at Fairview Estate. Picture: Kim Stone

4 SHOP

The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio is a shopping destination with a difference. Alpacas and llamas are related to dromedary camels found in Africa and Asia, and all three co-exist on this farm. In addition to tours of the animals – they are child-friendly and can be fed – the farm offers a range of woven (on site) products, such as scarves, shawls, blankets and rugs. Also on offer are handknitted mittens, beanies and jerseys, plus an assortment of alpaca yarns. There are daily tours of the farm, call 021 863 2495.

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