A little way up the road from Franschhoek and across the thundering N1, Paarl (‘The Pearl’) lies in the shadow of an impressive cluster of massive 500-million-year-old granite boulders. On the same slopes is the Taal Monument, piercing the sky in symbolic salute to the Afrikaans language. This strong Afrikaans influence flows down the hill into the town itself and is reflected in rich Cape Dutch architecture along the main street, and in local contemporary culture. Apart from Victor Verster just up the road – where Madiba spent his final prison years before stepping out to an uncertain future – accommodation in Paarl comes mainly in the form of garden granny flats and fancy guesthouses, which the tourism office can tell you more about. Out of town though, there are one or two value options, but surprisingly, not much more than that.