Discover the Quaint Beauty of Darling
Amongst the sprawling vineyards of the Cape lies an area named Groenekloof. It is home to one of the most picturesque towns in South Africa – Darling. Here, it is not unusual to still see a horseman and his noble steed making their way through town, or locals just sitting quietly in the meadows, taking in the magnificent beauty of the idyllic and quiet landscapes. It is a village that is encased in tranquility, friendly locals and vibrant activities and attractions.
The Groenekloof area, just outside Cape Town, was documented in the time of Oloff Bergh, a legendary explorer who traveled the West Coast in 1682. In the year 1853, Charles Henry Darling founded the Langfontein farm as Lieutenant Governor. The village was eventually named after him, after the board of trustees bought the farm for the establishment of a village.
Since its earliest years, Darling was known for its breathtaking sea of wildflowers that blankets the surrounding area in vibrant colors and fragrances. Even James Backhouse felt compelled to write that, “There are no Wildflowers like those at Darling”, which he recorded in 1840. But the magnificence of the flowers were not lost on locals and in 1915, Mr Frederick Duckitt and Mrs Suzanne Malan founded the Darling Flower Society. The society hosted their first Wild Flower Show in 1917, which has remained one of the most prestigious annual events in town.
In 1899, G. Threnstrom and Nils Georg Moller moved to Darling and established a creamery that would also become a trademark of the town. It was later moved to a larger, new factory in 1950, in Paarden Eiland, but the town still has a small creamery from where they purchase their milk and butter. It was because of the butter industry in Darling that the Darling Museum was opened, with a wonderful collection of implements and artifacts related to the industry. Originally established in 1978 as a Butter Museum, the Darling Museum is now home to a vast range of exhibits and is amongst the popular attractions in town.
Other activities include visits to the wine farms, discovering the diverse wildlife at the Buffelsfontein Game Nature Reserve, Sonquasfontein Private Nature Reserve and Rondeberg. Visitors can also take in some of the local culture at the !Kjwa Ttu San Culture and Education Centre. Art lovers will enjoy walking through the Chelsea on 34 Art Gallery. Annual events such as the Darling Music Experience and The Voorkamerfest are not to be missed. Fine cuisine can be found throughout the village at establishments such as Bistro Seven, Cloof, Hilda’s Kitchen and the Marmalade Cat. Quaint shops filled with unique gifts and souvenirs, including Ouma’s Treasures and Nostalgia for Collectors, will ensure that visitors do not leave empty handed. Evita se Perron, a theatre/cabaret venue and restaurant created by South Africa’s famous satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, is also a unique and exciting attraction.
Darling has become an independent village with a thriving agricultural sector and a few smaller factories that manufacture baskets, textiles and clothing, but has also become a refuge of inspiration and peace for many artists. Visitors will find that a trip to Darling is a journey into a world of beauty.