It’s a great destination all year round, but it should be sunny or at least dry. The rocks are utterly exposed, it can be windy and it’s not pleasant with rain. In September and October, beautiful proteas and wildflowers are in bloom.
Paarl Rock is still a "hidden" gem and more known by the South Africans. Therefore, on weekends and public holidays, it’s a bit crowded especially the braai (BBQ) areas. At weekdays enjoy the tranquility on top of the rocks.
The “dry” season lasts from November to March. In summer it can get hot around midday. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Most rainfall from May to August with its peak in June. In winter temperatures range from 8 to about 16^C.
Opening Hours of the Paarl Rock Nature Reserve
- Summer: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. (1 Oct – 31 March)
- Winter: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (1 April – 30 Sept)
- Last entry 1 hour before closure times.
Paarl Rock are three granite outcrops, second biggest on earth, which are more than 500 million years old. It was declared a Nature Reserve in 1977. The three rocks are called Paarl Rock, Bretagne Rock, and Gordon’s Rock the formerly names were Diamond and Pearl Mountain. After heavy rainfall, the rocks sparkle like diamonds and pearls. That is the reason why the town is called Paarl, which is the Dutch word for pearl. The huge boulders are high above the town with a 360 degrees view around the valley and the Winelands.
To get to the Reserve turn off the R45 into the Jan Phillips Mountain Drive. The gravel roads within the reserve are in good conditions, but the one leading to the rocks needs some attention, especially after rain. There are ample parking spaces.
Several hiking trails ranging from 2.5 km to 10 km are existing. The most popular one takes about two hours to Paarl Rock and Bretagne Rock, where chains have been added for safety. It starts at the top of the Reserve at the well-maintained picnic and braai areas. Bring your own water and a picnic.
An entrance fee for the car and each visitor is requested.
The indigenous garden at Meulwater is worth a visit. Nearby is the Afrikaans Language Monument.