Up the West Coast to Darling, darling
It comes easy – off to Darling, darling! Whether for a day trip or weekend getaway, the dorpie is about an hour’s drive up the R27 from Cape Town. Or up the N7 with a turn at Malmesbury. Or on the back roads via Atlantis and Mamre.
From Cape Town, put on a favourite soundtrack or whatever is the current fancy, and before the last track has played along the R27, the four giant renewable energy windmills of Darling are on the horizon.
It’s old dairy and butter land – and wine estates.
Where to visit
Darling perhaps is even better known as the HQ for Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout. The Covid-19 lockdown exacted a toll like everywhere, skatties, and ownership of Evita se Perron has moved on from Tannie in a friendly baton change. With the eased lockdown restrictions, Pieter-Dirk Uys has returned to the stage, with the deli, outside craft displays and the bookstore that make up Evita se Perron.
Most recently at the Perron, fine-dining restaurant Kossie Sikelela opened its doors. Chef Henti van der Merwe does what’s described as a “modern interpretation of traditional South African flavours”. It’s a must taste bud-tickler experience, all served up with warm West Coast friendliness Friday through Sunday from noon. Inside or on the stoep amid boere-baroque. Booking is essential.
If curious about toffees, Darling Sweet not only tempts with a gazillion flavours, but also offers a look-see at how the toffee is made.
The Darling Wine Shop shows off local wines and Darlington gin. The Darling Brew Tasteroom offers anything from a Bone Crusher to Rogue Pony Ale. And olive tasting is available a pit’s throw out of town.
At the local museum Darling’s dairy and butter legacy is on display with agricultural equipment alongside the finery of small-town life of yesteryear.
Darling-area wine can be tasted at Ormonde Monday to Saturday and Darling Cellars, a little outside the dorpie just past Duckitt Nursery, from whose website orchids are just a click away. Groote Post and Cloof are just a little further away.
Where to stay
If staying over for a weekend getaway, the Darling Lodge Guest House is it. Relax in the meandering garden or soak up the sun at the decked pool. A cossie, book – check out the guesthouse library – and local goodies make a perfect afternoon. Hosts Stephan and Oliver are super friendly, ready to share tips on trips and sights. And the breakfast is generous. Tailor-made guided tours are always a possibility.
Take a detour
Darling is the base to explore the West Coast National Park, Langebaan and Paternoster, which all are within an easy drive. And mountain bike trails are available nearby.
One thing still on the to-do list is the !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre, just off the R27. But much distracts en route, from the Weskus padstal offering not only a car wash, but also “bikers’ breakfast”, to Yzerfontein’s Rosemead artisan bakery.
A short and easy hop north of Cape Town, it really is darling, Hello Darling! DM/ML
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