Barely an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the West Coast village of Darling (www.darlingtourism.co.za) lies tucked away between rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, verdant olive farms, golden wheat fields and tracts of threatened Renosterveld carpeted with wild flowers. It was reassuring to find that in traditional Darling there are still almost as many churches as there are local residents, and the locals all seem to know one another. Thankfully, tourists still remain more of a novelty than a blight in Darling, making it a perfect long weekend getaway for two Capetonians looking for a final escape from the city before baby time!
With Katherine 8.5 months pregnant, we needed somewhere within striking distance of the Vincent Pallotti hospital. Somewhere that promised serenity, nature, wild flowers and culture. Known as ‘the Flower of the West Coast’, Darling proved to be the perfect spot for our much-anticipated ‘Baby Moon’ escape with the region’s wide array of locally brewed beers and picturesque wine farms only serving to augment its aforementioned charms!
Darling Lodge (www.darlinglodge.co.za) was our home-away-from-home, offering a harmonious blend of the old and the new that reflected the romantic nature of Darling. The original Victorian main house (where we stayed) had three individually decorated country style rooms, while the more modern garden annex consisted of three more generously appointed rooms with a grapevine covered patio overlooking a swimming pool. The charming guesthouse and its kitchen were presided over by Stephan Moser, while the beautifully tended garden remained the domain of his partner – the green-fingered Oliver Studer. Their beautifully restored guesthouse was an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the middle of laid back Darling and undoubtedly the perfect base from which to explore the tiny town and its surrounding attractions.
I think it’s fair to say that aside from the wide array of Darling dairy products available in our local supermarkets, nobody has done more to put Darling on the map than Pieter-Dirk Uys. His Sunday lunchtime theatre at Evita se Perron (www.evita.co.za) has become a Darling institution, and we were fortunate enough to attend his sell-out ‘Evita Praat Kaktus’ show during our stay.
Aside from culture and wild flowers, Darling and its surrounds boasts a superb array of world-class wine estates (including my personal favourite Groote Post), delicious Darling Brew beer tasting, mouth-watering country cooking (at Hilda’s Kitchen and Bistro 7) and much more. So next time you’re looking for a convenient weekend getaway from Cape Town, think Darling and I promise you won’t be disappointed!