Looking for a quiet weekend out of Cape Town, Janine Avery found herself drawn to a little rural town encouragingly called Darling. And if your curiosity has also been piqued, here are her top tips to help you make the most of it.
Detour 15km off the popular West Coast Road that runs from Cape Town to Langebaan and you will find the tiny town of Darling. Renowned for its daisies and the home of Pieter-Dirk Uys’ character Evita Bezuidenhout, this quaint area has so much more to offer than these few colourful attractions. A weekend in Darling is best spent indulging in the things the region is popular for – good wine, some delightful craft beers, delicious food and the laid-back lifestyle that perfectly complements these finer things in life.
Here are my tips and tricks for visiting this Darling part of the country:
Where to stay
With Darling located just an hour out of Cape Town, it is the perfect destination for a relaxed day trip, but with a full belly and a head buzzing from fine wines, you will welcome a bed close by.
The accommodation options in Darling include small guesthouses and B&B style lodgings. However, one really does stand out from the crowd. Maison de L’amour (pictured above) is run by a couple of Capetonians who lovingly transformed an old historic house into a romantic guesthouse with just three rooms, each lavishly decorated with plush interiors and antiques.
The outdoor Garden Room is a treat, opening up onto a leafy area where a small splash pool and dining area are located. It is here where we savoured breakfasts of waffles with fresh berries and a divine Eggs Benedict and where, if we had chosen to, we could have enjoyed a romantic dinner in the garden.
Where to drink
Darling is close to a few wine farms where you can enjoy some tastings or purchase a bottle or two. Groote Post offers a fantastic market on the last Sunday of every month and Cloof and Darling Cellars feature a range of wines to taste. Ormonde Vineyards is located within the town itself and here you can enjoy some of their delicious red varietals while snacking on a picnic platter in the estate’s gardens.
If wine is not your thing, I’d highly recommend that you pop down to Darling Brew, where you can sample a selection of craft beers and enjoy a delicious meal of pulled pork or slow cooked brisket overlooking their working cellars.
Where to eat
Unfortunately, Darling Brew isn’t open in the evenings so be sure to get there in time for lunch. Dinner options in Darling are a bit limited, but if you are in town on a Friday, it’s pizza night at The Marmalade Cat. Be sure to book your spot early as this quirky gift-shop-come-eatery fills up fast with locals turning up for a pizza and fun night out. Be sure to try out their butternut and blue cheese pizza – I may just become a regular myself, it was that good!
For more treats, stop in at Darling Sweet to try some of their handcrafted toffee, or head on to Udderly Delicious for a range of artisanal cheeses. The cheese they make on site will make you go weak at the knees while a range of cheeses from around the country are also available for tasting and purchase.
So, what are you waiting for? When planning your Cape adventure, be sure to pack a weekend bag and head out to this adorable place for an absolutely Darling getaway.