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The simplest description of Darling is that it’s a flower town but this would be an injustice to this dynamic little West Coast town that offers perpetual, innovative and most happening events throughout the year. Events range from an uber music festival to intimate plays held in resident’s lounges.
Once a sleepy dairy town, Darling blossomed when playwright, comedian, author and political terror Pieter Dirk-Uys came to town. He purchased the old station and began operating a theatre-dinner venue which has been drawing in crowds now for over 20 years.
Darling has its own wine route and is a popular stop during the wildflower season. The town also has the largest orchid nursery in the country.
Although only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Darling is a trip through beautiful countryside and a welcome respite from city life.
Top 8 reasons to visit Darling
1. The enthusiastic and informed curator at the Darling Museum can give you a better understanding of the town layout, its history and the many unusual items on display at the museum.
2. Stop in at Darling Sweet to sample the wide variety of homemade toffees made on the premises. Not your average toffee, the unusual blends such as honey & salt and chili-laced toffees are worth purchasing for decadent late night snacks.
3. Buy tickets to attend a show at Evita se Perron, a dinner-theatre venue housed in a converted train station. There are 2 theatres, museum and restaurant on the premises. The shop’s merchandise is a combination of sophistication meets kitsch.
4. Travel the Darling Wine and Arts Experience to enjoy the various wine varietals on relaxing wine farms. The scenic route takes in 5 wine farms, one of which is of historic significance with highly rated restaurant, while another offers delightful picnic baskets.
5. Fun olive tastings take place at Darling Olives on the gorgeous Alexanderfontein farm. Aside from olives and olive oil, the estate sells olive body butter, bath salts, soaps, pastes and rubs.
6. Legend states that a past wealthy resident hid treasure in the Darling area and the Darling Mystery Trail is the perfect platform to find it! Guests are supplied with a map and riddles to solve along the route. The treasure hunt lasts around 2 hours and each participant receives a mystery gift.
7. The Darling Brewery tap room offers tasting of the company’s popular craft lagers and ales. Snacks are provided and the venue occasionally hosts top musicians to keep the crowd entertained.
8. Experience the rugged beauty of the west coast by booking a 2½ day slack-pack hike on the Darling Stagger. For those with limited time, opt for the 1 day 13km hike from the !Khwa ttu cultural centre to Darling, with a stop along the way for lunch in the vineyards.
Darling is 80km from the Cape Town International Airport. Book a car rental while in Cape Town or from Langebaan, or order online. Unfortunately there are no taxi operators in Darling, however, local tour operators offer shuttle services between the airport and the town.
Did you know?
The female Evita Bezhuidenhout character portrayed by Pieter Dirk-Uys at Evita se Perron has been entertaining the South African public for many years. This grand old dame has flattered and ridiculed an impressive array of high profile personalities through her comedy routines. She previously received the Women’s International Living Legacy Award, an award shared with such notables as Mother Theresa.
Cloof Wine Estate hosts one of the biggest music events in South Africa – Rocking the Daisies – that attracts young crowds from all over the country. Camping facilities are provided on an enormous field while the music plays well into the night.