The pearl of the valley

■ This pictured of Paarl Rock was sent by Ronelle van Loggerenberg, during a recent hike in the area. It is the second largest granite outcrop in the world, formed by three rounded outcrops that make up Paarl Mountain, and has been compared in majesty to Uluru -formerly known as Ayers Rock – in Australia. Paarl means “pearl”, and was so named for the pearlescent glitter of wet granite after the rains. The landscape also resembles the moon, in certain areas, pock-marked by craters. Visitors to the area enjoy picnics at the campgrounds nearby, mountain-biking on scenic trails, and for the more experienced climbers, some challenging ascents.