Taal Monument, Paarl

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Now here’s one for the intrepid explorers who like to go off the beaten path to discover historical monuments others don’t often visit. Doesn’t sound like you? Well, it doesn’t normally sound like me, to be honest, except that I found myself on a trail run around the Taal Monument and Paarl Rock, so I was able to experience the beauty of this area for the first time.

The Taal Monument (which means language monument in Afrikaans) sits on Paarl Mountain, with Paarl Rock (a giant rock that sticks out of the mountain) jutting out behind it. Its partner is the Taal Museum (language museum) which is housed in the former home of Gideon Malherbe, a founder member of the Society of True Afrikaners. Their vision is for the monument and museum “to function in such a way that all South Africans can respect and appreciate Afrikaans”. They do this by collecting relevant information about the origin and development of Afrikaans, conduction research that broadens knowledge about Afrikaans and giving exposure to the different facets of Afrikaans through lectures and articles – among other things.

What I find fascinating about it is that Afrikaans is often a maligned language, seen as the language of Apartheid, yet such a large portion of our population speaks Afrikaans, either as a first or second language. History aside, the monument also provides a beautiful walking trail – the Taal Monument walking trail is only 1.2km, but there are also hiking trails in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and I can personally vouch for their extraordinary views…

Looking to explore something off the beaten track that’s less than an hour out of Cape Town? Check out the Taal Monument – and let me know what you think.

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