Tag Archives: paarl

Feeding the Animals at The Alpaca Loom in Paarl (2017-04-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 MAY 2017

After a lovely afternoon milling about and admiring the smooth concrete curves of the famous Afrikaans Taalmonument in Paarl, the girls and I popped into Fairview to have a gander at their equally famous Goat Tower, before heading back towards something that I had spotted on the way in – The Alpaca Loom.

Housed in a beautifully built and furnished wooden studio (all apparently crafted from wood taken off the very farm by the estate owner himself) is the Alpaca Loom, a coffee shop & weaving studio, and perhaps more interestingly, an alpaca stud farm.

(Yup, if you are in the market for it, you can purchase pet alpacas, breeding stock and even guard alpacas from them!)

The small coffee shop isn’t particularly well stocked, but there is enough good coffee and baked goods on offer (the cake was fantastic!) to make it an okay enough spot for a rest break on the deck – which comes with a stunning  view I might add.

What is rather interesting is the actual weaving that happens right next to you – you can stand and watch as the looms and other machinery is used to transform the luxurious alpaca wool into all manner of jerseys, blankets and that sort of thing.

(A lot of what they make is also on display and available for purchase).

Whilst the kids are sure to enjoy the large jungle gym next to the studio, the highlight of a visit is undoubtedly the opportunity to feed and get up close and personal to the surprisingly calm and gentle, and fluffy, alpacas!

Jessica couldn’t wait of course to get in and feed the animals, and surprisingly, after a little bit of nervous hesitation, Emily joined in the fun as well. (The assortment of alpacas, lamas, camels and donkeys didn’t seem to mind – more hands mean more feed buckets!)

We lucked out a bit on this particular trip in that a few baby alpacas had just recently been born, meaning that a trip down to the stables with the farm owner was particularly overloaded with adorable baby cuteness.

Also, I took far more photos of alpacas than I though I would:

If you have small kids and don’t feel like the more upmarket hustle and bustle of the super popular next door neighbours, The Spice Route and Fairview, then the Alpaca Loom is actually quite great alternative!

Related Link: The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio

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.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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

Exploring the Spice Route in Paarl (2016-08-06) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 AUG 2016

Chantelle and I enjoyed a rather good weekend at the start of August, with the two of us enjoying a rare date night that saw us catch a South African production of the musical comedy “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” at Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay. Unfortunately, despite being technically good and a well performed routine, neither Chantelle nor I walked out of the theatre having enjoyed the show, and so instead, took a scenic drive around the coast, before ending up back in Bellville where we let nostalgia dictate that we enjoy a midnight milkshake (and pizza) at the almost always dodgy (at night) Bellville institution that is Starlite Diner.

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Having spent the night at Monty and Cheryl’s place (that’s where the girls were sleeping), the next morning saw us pop through to the Willowbridge shopping centre in Durbanville, where we met up with the visiting Terrance over some coffee and tart at Pulp, giving Chantelle at last a chance to catch up with him and his travels.

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The girls enjoyed their time too (the outdoor jungle gym is always a hit!).

From there, leaving Terrance behind, we then next embarked on a drive along the N1 to Paarl, where despite some phone GPS hiccups, we successfully navigated our way to Paarl’s popular tourist attraction, the Spice Route.

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Located on what was previously known as the Seidelberg Wine Estate, the Spice Route is the brainchild of successful and well known South African wine producer Charles Back, who first started work on the project around 1997.

Home to the Spice Route Winery, the unique Spice Route is intended as a tourist and locals friendly hub that curates some of the finest artisans, allowing them to showcase their produce and share their knowledge with both the public and each other.

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Currently the Spice Route is home to thirteen fantastic ventures. In terms of restaurants, you have the Barley & Biltong, La Grapperia, DV Cottage Cafe, and the popular Bertus Basson offerings. There’s also cured meats from Richard Bosman, and treats from Brenda’s Deli. In terms of alcohol, you obviously have Spice Route Winery, Wilderer Distillery as well as one of the granddaddies in the current craft brewery game, Cape Brewery Co., better known as CBC.

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The Trading Company has all manner of interesting items for sale, while artists display their varied work at The Barn Artist’s studio gallery. Beautifully ornate glass creations are created and displayed at the exciting Red Hot Glass studio, while those in search of chocolate decadence definitely need to pop in to DV Artisan Chocolate for a tasting session!

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After strolling around and taking in all the sights and sounds, we settled on enjoying some handmade ice cream, with Jess immediately diving straight into her chocolate cone and Emily devouring whatever ice cream dared come close to her face!

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Although technically kid friendly (there is a kids area, though it caters better to the slightly older children), I think the Spice Route is better explored as an adult, meaning that this is now firmly on our list of places to visit the next time Chantelle and I manage to slip away for some weekend time without the kids!

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The views from the elevated estate are magnificent, the vibe is fantastic, and if you haven’t visited the Spice Route before, then you definitely should make a plan to do so, because it is simply put, fantastic.

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And yes, of course I took pictures!

(I wanted to also pay a visit to the iconic Taalmonument while in the area, making it as far as the gates at the top of the hill, but unfortunately by that stage both girls were tired, grumpy and half asleep – meaning that I will have to tackle that trip another day!)

Related Link: Spice Route | Wikipedia | Spice Route Winery

Things to See in South Africa: Afrikaans Language Monument (Taalmonument) Travel Attractions 04 MAY 2015

The Afrikaans Language Monument (better known locally as the Afrikaanse Taalmonument) is located on a hill overlooking Paarl, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Officially opened on 10 October 1975, it commemorates the semi-centenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch. Also, it was erected on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (the Society of Real Afrikaners) in Paarl, the organization that helped strengthen Afrikaners’ identity and pride in their language.

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A visit to the Taal monument is a fascinating step back into the past. Built in 1975, and designed by architect Jan van Wijk, it acknowledges the influence of a variety of languages such as Dutch, Malay, Malay-Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, English, and the indigenous Khoi and African languages, on the development of Afrikaans.

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The monument consists of various tapering structures of a convex and concave nature, symbolising influences of different languages and cultures on Afrikaans itself, as well as political developments in South Africa, as follows:

– Clear West: the European heritage of the language
– Magical Africa: the African influences on the language
– Bridge: between Europe and Africa
– Afrikaans: the language itself
– Republic: declared in 1961
– Malay language and culture

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 3

Guided tours are available on pre-bookings only. Volksmond Coffee Shop is an ideal venue for Sunday lunches and sundowners, as well as for family gatherings and year-end functions. They also sell picnic baskets to be enjoyed whilst revelling in the spectacular views of the Winelands.

The Monument with its exotic garden is an easy access point to a variety of hiking and biking trails on Paarl Mountain. Popular events include full moon picnics and stargazing evenings during the summer months.

Two amphitheaters are available for public and private events.

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Related Link: Wikipedia | Taalmuseum