Up Close Tours visits Darling

More uses for an old bath
(Courtesy of http://www.upclosetours.co.za/blog/visit-darling/)

This blog post is courtesy of http://www.upclosetours.co.za/blog/visit-darling/

Driving north from Cape Town on the R27 (take the R307 turnoff) for 72km will take you to Darling, a small town with its own wine route and a very special station. Since 1996, this station has been taken over by Evita se Perron, a restaurant-cum-playhouse-cum-art gallery owned by Tannie Evita Bezhuidenhout, otherwise known as Pieter Dirk-Uys. Evita se Perron put Darling firmly on the map and if you are looking to be thoroughly entertained followed up by an excellent meal, make a booking here.

Evita se Perron at Darling station
(Courtesy of http://www.upclosetours.co.za/blog/visit-darling/)

The Darling info centre/museum in the old town hall is open 7 days a week and has a nice display of old agricultural implements including a wheat carbine that looks like something built for the Will Smith movie Wild, Wild West. While at the museum, ask the friendly curator to show you the fascinating antique photographic glass slide collection.

There are four splendid wines farms on the Darling wine route (Cloof, Darling Cellars, Groote Post and Ormonde Vineyards) with only one – Groote Post – open on a Sunday.

The Hildebrand Monument is just outside the town and the curator at the museum can give you a very interesting insight into the death of this Boer commando.

The Voorkamerfest takes place in September and the concept here is that ticket-holders are driven by taxi to three mystery homes where they will experience some form of art (drama, mime, comedy or cabaret) in the homeowners lounge!  Stalls are setup throughout the town offering arts & crafts, food and wine tasting.

The roads around Darling are bordered by masses of white arum lilies in the winter. It’s illegal to collect them but stop and see if you can find the elusive and striking Arum Lily Frog that lives in the flower of the lily. Spring is flower season when Darling and surrounding towns are swamped with visitors. During this period, the Tinie Versfeld Flower Reserve just outside Darling is filled with an amazing array of flowers.

Other towns & places worth visiting in the area are:

  1. Groote Post farm

Named after a cattle guarding station, this 18th century farm continues its livestock breeding and dairy tradition but also includes an award winning winery and onsite restaurant serving modern country meals from the historic manor house

2.  Mamre

Originally a mission station dating back to the early 19th century, Mamre has a number of interesting places to visit –

  • There is a fantastic community-driven tour called the Mamre Donkey Trail where you take a donkey cart ride around the town escorted by a local guide. It’s a highly unusual tour worth taking and includes a meal, all at a very reasonable price
  • The Moravian mission station (church, water mill and VOC soldier’s barracks) visit is included in the above tour or drive to the site yourself
  • Visit the old goal in Mamre
  • Just outside the town is a nature garden containing indigenous plants

3.  Philadelphia

On your return to Cape Town, remain on the R307 and look out for a left turn to Philadelphia.  The town is a few 100 meters off the R307 (note that the R307 will take you back to Cape Town via the N7 highway). If I had money for a country home, this little picturesque town is where I would buy. Dominated by the huge church at its entrance, the town has a number of quirky shops, galleries, studios and restaurants. Of particular interest are the Crystals and Gemstones store and Pepper Tree Art Stable & Coffee Shop

4.  West Coast Ostrich Farm

On the N7 highway, the ostrich farm is well signposted. Visit to find out about the ostrich, its breeding & feeding habits and if you want some excitement, sit on one for a good photo opportunity

So, if you are looking for something unusual to do on a day trip, Darling and surrounding towns are worth visiting.

NOTE: Please don’t drink and drive, rather arrange a tour through us and never walk alone in any of the nature parks, we can assist with a guide. Our contact details can be found here:www.upclosetours.co.za/contact-us

This is the fourth in a series of blogs where we highlight some of the fantastic offerings in Cape Town’s neighbouring cities and towns. Look out for the next blog describing the nearby wheat region!

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