Things to See in South Africa: The Goat Tower of Fairview in Paarl Travel Attractions 18 AUG 2016

Goats in general like climbing things. So in 1981, inspired by a tower that he had spotted in a garden at Sogrape Vinhos (Portugal), Fairview Wine and Cheese estate owner Charles Back decided to build something intended for the pleasure of his herd of 750 odd Saanen (Swiss mountain) goats.

And so the world’s first ever purpose-built goat tower was born.

fairview wine and cheese estate goat tower 1

Built out of brick and mortar with a steep metal roof and a spiraling wooden staircase (with windows), the Fairview Goat Tower quickly became a symbol of the Paarl winelands, turning these goats into probably some of the most photographed livestock in South Africa!

(Fairview Estate was one of the first estates to open to the public, a leader in the wine tourism economy. In other words, they had tourists, and tourists of course loved the goats!)

fairview wine and cheese estate goat tower 4

With the tower now a symbol of and featuring heavily in the branding of the Fairview Winery, the Fairview team also produced a wine called “Goats do Roam,” a play on the French wine growing region Côtes du Rhône.

fairview wine and cheese estate goat tower 3

In 2007 a replica tower was opened by Charles Back at the Ekeby farm in Norway as part of a collaborative intiative, and in 2011 another replica was built on the Finca el Rocio farm in Argentina.

fairview wine and cheese estate goat tower 2

Of course, there are now other famous goat towers across the world, including the massive six-story, 31-foot-tall Tower of Baaa, constructed by farmer David Johnson, to serve his herd of 34 Saanen milk goats in Findlay, Illinois (USA).

So, if you are ever in Paarl and looking for something different to see, a stop at Fairview to look at their famous goat tower might not be a bad idea at all.

fairview wine and cheese estate goat tower 5

(Though perhaps, just don’t get the goat tower tattoo as Elisabeth Holm, chef at Ekeby apparently did…)

Elisabeth Holm, chef at Ekeby and the girl with the goat tower tattoo

2017-04-22 Update: The girls and I did eventually get to see the goat tower for ourselves!

Related Link: Goat Tower | Atlas Obscura | Modern Farmer | Fairview Wine and Cheese | Wikipedia

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About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don’t have time for myself any more.