Known to some as the perfect weekend getaway and to others as an artistic refuge, 75 kilometres from the heart of Cape Town lies the sleepy town of Darling. As Cape Town has expanded, more and more city folk have chosen to leave behind suburban living and build a new life in one of the Western Cape’s outlying villages. Darling was one of the first such towns and remains one of the favourites for its thriving local community and attractive natural surrounds.
In less than an hour’s drive you can remove yourself from all the cosmopolitan bustle of the city to a tranquillity and old-world charm that will steal your heart.
The village lies amongst wheat fields and vineyards and invites the visitor with its warmth and friendliness to kick off your shoes and relax; to have a good meal at one of the restaurants or the bistro and drink some of the well-known wines that make the Darling wine route.
There is no doubt that Darling has an artist’s heart; many artists and crafters have moved their base to this town over the past few years to get inspiration in the country atmosphere. The entertainer Pieter Dirk Uys, a household name in South Africa, has made his home here and it is quite an experience to attend his dinner-theatre in the Old Darling station renamed Evita se Perron. He offers excellent ‘boerekos’ (farmer’s food) while you are entertained by his often socially conscious comic tales.
Darling is only 23 kilometres from the coastal town of Yzerfontein, perfect for people who have to be near a beach when on holiday. The natural surrounds also hold huge attraction with their great variety of flora and famous wild flowers that draw many each year when the spring flowers go into full bloom.
Taking a slow walk through the town gives you time to appreciate the local history of the town. The museum can give you a good historical sense of the town, especially with regard to the dairy industry, which once again thrives in the 21st century due to the town having its own successful creamery.
No holiday is complete without a little local shopping, so browse through the antique shops that have some beautiful items on offer. Rustic yellow wood and Oregon pine furniture is offer, as well as jewellery, writing instruments and other treasures from the past. You will also see works on display by well-known artist Jenni Jewels.
The Monthly Market held on the first Saturday of each month will give the visitor a good idea of typical South African country life.
Darling is really the hub of the West coast, with all the basic amenities for everyday life – banks, supermarkets, ATMs, schools, churches and medical facilities such as doctors, a pharmacy and a clinic.
Darling is a great blending of old and new; the town succeeds in preserving its old-world charm while making use of up to date amenities and the visitor who wants to stay for a few days is assured of real country style accommodation at reasonable prices.