Nestled on the West Coast is the divine little town of Darling! While this picturesque town may be small, it is filled with many great things to see, do and experience. Located only one hour from Cape Town, Darling is a definite must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike!
Darling is a charming spot home to museums, galleries, restaurants, wine farms and more. It is also a centre for creativity, entertainment and performances! Darling hosts some of the Western
Cape’s most popular festivals, including Rocking the Daisies, and come spring, when the West Coast is blanketed in fields of flowers, you can enjoy the Spring Wildflower Festival here. This small town really packs a punch!
Here are 7 reasons to visit the charming town of Darling:
1. Evita se Perron
This colourful spot is the home base for a South African icon: Evita Bezuidenhout. Tannie Evita is the much loved alter ego of satirist Pieter Dirk Uys who performs in this unique theatre. The old Darling railway station was transformed into the theatre complex and the destination is also home to a restaurant, gallery, gardens and a museum which can’t be missed on a trip to the town! Try to catch a performance during your next visit.
2. Darling Sweet
If you have travelled and shopped around Cape Town or South Africa at large, you will most probably recognise the colourful wrappers and boxes that belong to Darling Sweet! This sweet company started in Darling in 2013 and produces old fashioned, handcrafted toffee in a variety of delicious flavours. Visit Darling Sweet located in Darling’s former General Dealer Store (previously called Retief se Winkel) which was originally built in 1900. Watch the toffees being created, sample a few sweets and browse some of the other sweet treats available for purchase. This is the perfect stop for anyone with a sweet tooth!
3. Darling Brew
Darling can boast about being home to Africa’s very first carbon-neutral brewery! Darling Brew was born in the town and embraces the concept of “slow beer”. Visit the Tasteroom to enjoy an exciting craft beer tasting while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the working brewery. Top off your tasting with a delicious meal; pick from menus inspired by and filled with local produce and flavours!
The West Coast is famous for its wildflower season, and Darling is one of the best places to experience this wonderful time of year. The Darling Wildflower Show is an annual event that takes place during the third weekend of September - prime flower viewing time! There is a landscaped flower exhibition that represents the larger natural habitat around Darling that visitors can peruse and admire. Visit to view the flowers and enjoy the markets, food and fun that happen during the spring festival!
Miss the festival? Not to worry - you can see the flowers during wildflower season at a number of spots around Darling including Duckitt Orchid Nursery, Tienie Versveld Nature Reserve and you can also travel further out to the West Coast National Park.
5. Darling Museum
When in Darling, be sure to spend an intriguing few hours in the Darling Museum! Located in the Darling Town Hall, the museum offers insight into the town’s past, the Darling lifestyle and its people. A visit to the museum feels like going back in time to the 18th century! There is even a section wholly dedicated to the art of butter-making complete with mixers and old-time machinery (the site was originally founded by the Darling Women’s Agricultural Association as a Butter Museum).
Make your visit even more exciting by taking on the Darling Mystery Trail! This mystery-solving activity is fun for the whole family and involves solving riddles, treasure hunting and even geocaching around the town. Pick up your map from the museum and get searching! It costs R35 per person and the whole walk around Darling takes about two hours.
6. The great food and wine!
You’ll never go hungry or thirsty on a trip to Darling! The town is home to great restaurants, cafes, food shops and four fantastic wine farms.
Satisfy your taste buds at spots like the Marmalade Cat, The Flying Pig and the Chicory Cheese Café. Indulge in delicious olive tastings at Darling Olives and Het Bos Olives. Darling is home to wonderful wine farms which offer excellent wine, platters and/or restaurants on-site. Visit Ormonde Private Cellar, Groote Post, Darling Cellars and Cloof Wine Estate the next time you’re in Darling.
7. The town in general!
Many people will tell you Darling is like a fine wine - it’s best to sit back, relax and enjoy it! The town is bursting with energy and activity when it hosts various festivals and creative arts performances. However, the small-town atmosphere remains warm, welcoming and friendly year-round. In fact, one of the best things you can do is simply stroll around and enjoy the vibe!
There are also a number of great attractions nearby Darling that are worth a visit including the !Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre, the West Coast National Park and the West Coast Fossil Park. You’re sure to be captivated no matter where you go or what you choose to do in and around Darling!
If Darling wasn’t on your Cape Town and West Coast to-do list just yet, we are sure that it is now! Enjoy a road trip of your own, explore this quaint town and be sure to say “hello Darling!” when you visit!
All photos courtesy of Darling Tourism.