Darling, a charming farming village tucked away on South Africa’s Cape West Coast.
Darling had its start in the early 18th century when 29 farmers were living in an area called Groenkloof. Groenkloof was zoned and used by the Dutch East Indian Company at the time for farming, cattle grazing and producing fresh produce for passing ships, they also harvested salt. One of these farms was called Langfontein and is where the village of Darling was established.
Why Darling? Well, it was named after Sir Charles Henry Darling, a Lieutenant Governor who came to the Cape in 1851.
Luckily, Darling is only one hour’s drive away from Cape Town which makes it the perfect weekend destination, filled with history, vineyards, coffee shops, breweries and a lot of family fun.
It’s also famous for its wildflowers and forms part of the South African Wildflower Route. Every year in September they host the Darling wildflower show. (Unfortunately, though, that was not possible due to Covid when we visited.)
Stop and have a drink at the Darling Brew Tasteroom. You can sit inside and overlook their brewhouse (which is fascinating), do a craft beer tasting and order some delicious pub-style food.
A great place to socialise with your friends and family.
Fun Fact: their Nacho chips are made using spent grain straight from the brewing process!
They are also Africa’s first carbon-neutral brewery. The whole process is based on a slow movement, using slow fermentation as opposed to mass production.
Did somebody say handcrafted toffee? Best believe I will be there!
Darling Sweet is an absolute must-visit when passing through Darling. I am now a true fan.
They use traditional methods to make all of their toffees, soft caramels and toffee spreads; so there are no artificial colourants, preservatives or flavourings. And their toffees are absolutely scrumptious!
We highly recommend these toffees: Tannie Evita’s Classic, Orange & Cranberry, Liquorice, and Rooibos Chai. They also have a bunch of cool gift hampers that you can purchase for family and friends… Or yourself…
The Darling Museum is set up in the old town hall. It has been very nicely laid out and divided up into sets to represent the lifestyle of the town and its people. Interestingly enough, the museum was first set up by the Darling Woman’s Agricultural Association as a butter museum. When you visit you will see that they have a whole section dedicated to the early stages of the butter-making industry.
They also have an agricultural hall filled with old transport and farming equipment.
Yes, this deserves it’s own number as it’s one of the best things to do in Darling!
You get to take a stroll through Darling’s historic village and solve some riddles along the way, a brilliant way to get up close and personal with the village and really explore it.
All you need is a smartphone or compass and then pop on over to get your ticket and trail map from the Darling Museum (you could also opt to start off by scanning the QR-code in the museum with your phone if you’d like to go the digital route).
The walk itself takes around two hours.
Cost: R100 per Family (2+2)
Evita Se Perron is an old railway station turned café / theatre and the home of South Africa’s Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout. While you used to be able to attend live shows on most weekends, this is currently on hold due to Covid-19. You can, however, still go and grab a bite to eat and wander through their little ‘Evita’ museum.
Tannie Evita is a character created by Pieter-Dirk Uys. She was created towards the end of the 1970s during Apartheid to bring humour and comedy to the South African people whilst criticising and exposing the absurdity of the South African government’s racial policies at the time. Evita herself ended up making a huge difference. She interviewed Nelson Mandela and other politicians and currently teaches about AIDS Awareness and activism.
Don’t forget to stop and have some coffee at The Marmalade Cat.
It’s a restaurant/café that also sells a whole bunch of trinkets and frozen foods. It also has a clothing store and homeware gift shop filled with lovely handmade, and unique products.
Darling is famous for being part of the Wildflower Route. Normally, every September the Darling Wildflower Society hosts the Darling wildflower show which has been running since 1917. Due to Covid, however, it didn’t happen last year, but you could still stop at Tinie Versveld.
Tinie Versfeld is a piece of land that was giving over to the National Botanical Institute by Marthinus Versfeld (Oom Tinie) in order to protect the rich diversity of flowers found in the Renosterveld.
All you have to do is pull over on the side of the road, enter though the gate and walk around. Its completely free and always open!
We never ended up doing these this time, but we will be back and we believe they are lovely!
So be on the lookout for:
When we visited Darling we were actually staying in Yzerfontein. So, for us, we took day trips from Yzerfontein to Darling as they are only around 20 minutes from each other.
We stayed in my absolute dream house! This is Not Forgotten, an idyllic beachfront property that is part of the Perfect Hideways Collection.
The best time to visit Darling, in our opinion, is from September – May, during spring and summer.
In September, spring has just sprung and you can come and view all of the famous wildflowers of the area. Just be warned though, it won’t be scorching hot. When we visited in September it was still a little chilly, so make sure you pack something warm!
Luckily Darling is only around an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
I would just like to commend Darling on their dedication to each and every member of the community. We really noticed that all businesses put in the effort to help each other out and market each other, really working together as a team.
Let us know in the comments if you pop passed the lovely village of Darling and what your favourite part was!