Enjoy a 7-course food and wine pairing at Darling Cellars for only R150pp. Meet the winemaker and use the opportunity to stock up on Darling wines at cellar door prices. Booking essential.
Haven’t you always wanted to get stuck into a bit of barefoot grape stumping? Now is your chance. Don’t miss the Crush Day at Darling Cellars on 1 March 2014 for a day filled with fun!
This is a day long affair and starts at 08h00 when everybody gather at the cellar to register and receive their goodie bags. After a Darling breakfast, the tractor-pulled wagons are ready to take the guests to the vineyards where you have to pick your own grapes. Once the picking is completed the fun begins…
Back at the cellar, pairs of two get into a barrels and stomp their grapes to the rhythm of the music. Prizes are up for grabs for the pairs who crush the most juice from the grapes.
After squashing the grapes between your toes, there is time to relax and have a glass of wine and wonder through the stalls with local produce while the kids (and sometimes even the gown ups!) are having fun on the slip ‘n slide or take part in the Easter egg hunt.
Also use your creative juices to create a label for the Crush wine 2014! At 13h00 you should have build up quite a hunger and then it is time to tuck into the lamb on the spit. Ease into the afternoon with the music of a local band. The day usually stops at 15h00 depending on how much the crowd enjoy themselves…
To top all of this, the wine that you created with passion will be ready for collection in August 2014.
Booking is essential – visit www.darlingcellars.co.za or tel 022 492 2276
For two weekends in February, Darling comes alive to the sound of classical music. The theme of the 2014 Darling Music Experience is “Beethoven Comes to Darling”. Once again the programme offers a line up great music, food and wine in the rural setting of Darling – “only an hour from Cape Town… but a million miles away.”
Some of the highlights this year are the young soprano Hlengiwe Mkhawanazi, the composer in residence Mac McKenzie, the amazing jazz trio and many more… For the full programme see below and visit www.darlingmusic.org. For tickets, call Innes on 082 310 3404 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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:
- 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
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
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!
This Q&A article was first published on the SA-Venues blog: http://blog.sa-venues.com/provinces/western-cape/love-darling
Darling IS BEST KNOWN FOR its wonderfully diverse spring flowers, the Voorkamerfest Theatre and Arts Festival, Evita se Perron (the home of Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout), great wine farms, art galleries, country-style restaurants and bistros, the Duckitt orchid nursery, the friendly small-town atmosphere and relaxed country life.
GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT Evita se Perron where you can pose as “the most famous white woman in South Africa” and take a humorous trip down South Africa’s memory lane at Boerassic Park.
THE BEST spring flower PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT the Tinie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve, Waylands Flower Reserve or at the orchid open days at Duckitt Nurseries on the first Saturday of the month from May to November.
OTHER HAPPY SNAPS CAN BE TAKEN while sipping wine at some of the local wine farms like Ormonde, Cloof, Darling Cellars, Groote Post and Tukulu.
WHEN THE WEATHER’S GOOD, I LIKE TO cycle around the village and farmlands with my camera. The Nguni cattle at Oude Post Farm are particularly beautiful with their speckled hides and long horns.
WHEN THE WEATHER’S BAD, I LIKE TO browse the amazing selection of books at Book League.
I THINK THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT IS any time of the year, BECAUSE summer offers trips to nearby Yzerfontein beach and long warm evenings around the braai. The Darling Music Experience classical festival takes place in February. Autumn is ideal for wine tasting while the vineyards turn to orange and gold. Winter brings misty morning walks, and cosy nights with good food and wine. Spring brings the annual Darling Wildflower Show, Voorkamerfest, Rocking the Daisies music festival and so much more …
FOR LUNCH, I SUGGEST The Marmalade Cat.
MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IS Bistro Seven, TRY THE Eisbein.
BEST LATE NIGHT SNACK FROM Café Mosaic, known by the locals as ‘The Stoep’.
MY FAVOURITE bargain hunting SPOT IS The Mantis Trading Store.
FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN TRY Kraalbosdam on a Friday night.
IF YOU WANT TO MEET LOCALS, GO TO the Darling Country Market on the first Saturday morning of the month at the Nitrophoska Building.
Darling’s BEST KEPT SECRET IS the local butchery, Darling Vleismark, perfect for stocking up before returning to the city. And don’t miss the cheap homemade jams at the till!
MY FAVOURITE THING TO DO WITH FRIENDS IS enjoy the local beer, Darling Brew, available at most restaurants in Darling.
TO RELAX AND RESTORE MY SOUL, I LIKE TO enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
IF YOU’RE FEELING ADVENTUROUS, TRY making your own wine at the annual Darling Cellars Crush Day.
MY FAVOURITE WALK IS with my dogs at the Renosterveld Reserve at the top of the hill, where you have panoramic views of the village and surrounding farmlands.
MY FAVOURITE gift and homeware SHOP IS is the beautiful warehouse at the back of The Marmalade Cat.
MY FAVOURITE bird WATCHING SPOT IS from the kitchen window at Aloe Cottage, where the weaver birds put on a fantastic display building their nests and showing off their dexterity.
MY FAVOURITE MUSEUM IS Darling Museum. Discover how Darling got its name and don’t miss the little shop; Ouma’s Treasures.
MY FAVOURITE BUILDING IS Koekemakranka Backpackers, FOR ITS creative and whacky interior, created by local artist and co-owner Omnia Grobler.
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN? A FUN OUTING IS Lelieblom Farm Restaurant where the kids can see and touch farm animals. Enjoy a lazy weekend lunch where you dine with your hosts and enjoy true country hospitality.
BEST CHEAP AND CHEERFUL OUTING IS taking a leisurely drive around the countryside.
WHEN MONEY’S NO OBJECT, I LIKE TO go wine tasting, stock up my cellar with excellent local wines, then enjoy a celebratory meal at Hilda’s Kitchen at Groote Post.
THE MOST UNUSUAL THING I SEE HERE IS the difference that one person, Pieter-Dirk Uys, has made to a community by putting Darling on the map and giving so much to support development projects in the area.
MY FAVOURITE WEEKEND GETAWAY IS Aloe Cottage, of course!
WHEN I WANT TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, I support The Darling Trust.
I ♥ Darling BECAUSE the people are friendly and welcoming, the village is authentic and not overly touristy, and it’s an hour from Cape Town… but a world away!
Aloe Cottage offers luxury self-catering holiday accommodation in Darling, near to Cape Town, South Africa. We are pet-friendly! The holiday home has been beautifully decorated with top quality linen, furniture and artwork and enjoys possibly the best views in Darling — over rolling hills and farmlands to the distant mountains. Aloe Cottage is the perfect romantic getaway for couples as well as for weekends away with friends or family holidays.
Chicory Cheese — +27 (0)72 852‑6644
Brig’s Barn — +27 (0)22 492‑2451
The Marmalade Cat — +27 (0)22 492‑2515
Bistro Seven — +27 (0)22 492‑3626
Café Mosaic — +27 (0)22 492‑2307
Kraalbosdam — +27 (0)22 492‑3803
Lelieblom Farmhouse — +27 (0)82 573‑7736