Darling Music Experience: 7-9 & 14-16 February 2014

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 darlingmusicexperience@gmail.com.

Darling Music Experience 2014

Darling Music Experience Programme

Introducing the Darling Stagger

Are you a hardcore mountain lover, a twitcher, or botanist, do you want to take your family on an easy walk to appreciate nature? Do you see yourself as a  modern-day strandloper?

The Darling Stagger (launching September 2011) :- A slow-paced, mouth-watering hiking trail from the hills of Darling through wine and olive farms to !Khwa ttu San Cultural Centre and down to Yzerfontein on the coast.

It’s great to see South Africans finally picking up on what the Italians have known for centuries; that this is the way life is meant to be lived – slowly and simply, with good food and wine and good company, in a natural, outdoor setting. This is a trail for those who know how to experience the good things in life.

This 2.5 day, 25km trail begins in Darling. Tucked away between hills of vineyards and golden wheat fields, the trail winds through olive groves and wine farms up to the highest point in Darling where you will take your time sampling local fruits of the vine direct from the farmer.

The trail then meanders through renosterveld and fynbos full of flowers, game and birds, en route to !Khwa ttu where you spend the first night at the unique San Cultural Centre. After a leisurely breakfast, we continue downhill through the strandveld to Tygerfontein Farm along the coast to Yzerfontein, sampling local seafood along the way.

These new 2.5 day slackpacking trails, without the schlep, are guided and catered, comfortable and safe.  Hikers carry a small daypack, lifts and luggage are organised and local folk and restaurants prepare meals in traditional West Coast style.

For more information, full itineraries and prices and to book please call or email.


The Darling Stagger Slack Packing Trail

Review by Louise de Waal

Courtesy of http://baobabtravel.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/the-darling-stagger-slack-packing-trail/ 


Earlier this month (July 2011) the Cape West Coast Trails were launched within the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR). The CWCBR, with the West Coast National Park at its centre, is one of the 6 UNESCO recognised Biosphere Reserves in South Africa.

Paul and I were invited to explore the brand new Darling Stagger, a cycling and walking slack packing trail between Yzerfontein and Darling. The Darling Stagger is one of the five trails planned within the CWCBR. The other four include the Eve’s Trail (a walk mostly along the West Coast National Park beach), the Five Bay Trail (a coast hugging walk between Paternoster and Jacobsbaai), Wheels of Time (a cycling tour from Mamre via West Coast National Park to !Khwa Ttu), and the Berg River Canooze (a kayak trail from Hopefield to Velddrift).

Why a Biosphere Reserve?

With Cape Town rapidly expanding north, West Coast communities recognised that action was required to ensure that conflict between urban expansion and the diverse ecosystems on the West Coast would not get out of hand and appropriate development plans were put into place. Hence the CWCBR was proclaimed in 2000.

The idea behind the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme is a sustainable and balanced approach between human development and nature conservation. Part of the sustainable development of the CWCBR is enhancing its tourism potential and the Cape West Coast Trails are part of this philosophy.

The Darling Stagger Stage 1

At lunch time we left Cape Town on an unseasonally warm & sunny day. The meeting point just outside Darling at Alexanderfontein Farm was also the first activity of the weekend. Olive tasting at the home of Darling Olives is an all-round olive education on growing, pressing, and use of these originally Mediterranean fruits. As a non-olive eater, I was fascinated and partly converted. A total surprise to see how many uses olives can have. From your simple virgin olive oil and cured olives to olive pastes and olive cooking & bath salts. Maybe I am pretty ignorant when it comes to these little fruits, but the biggest revelation was to learn that black olives are just ripe green ones. Always believed these were different types….

After this olive experience we set off to !Khwa ttu, San Education and Culture Centre and home for the night. We worked up a bit of an appetite with a cycle from the Bush Village Camp to the Atlantic Ocean for a traditional African sundowner. Staying in locavore style, we had a Darling Brew, a slow beer inspired by the rare geometric tortoise. Although a reasonably light beer, the return cycle was far more challenging than the first leg. Or maybe it was more due to the fact that we ended up cycling in the pitch dark, under the most magnificent night sky? The Scorpio constellation was a gentle reminder that it really still is winter in South Africa.

Returning to camp, a typical West Coast dinner was awaiting us, mussel soup, grilled snoek, and several traditional deserts prepared by Natasha and Cariline from Langebaan. All flushed down with the lightly wooded Quercus Gold Chardonnay from the Darling Cellars.

Was this setting the standard for the rest of this slack packing weekend? Can it get even better?

The Real Darling Stagger

Waking up after a chilly but comfortable night, I bumped into yet more great cooks. Natasha & Kyle from Chefs on the Move in Scarborough, although not quite Darling local, were here to show our guides, Morgan and Jacky, what can be achieved with some TLC and fresh ingredients. For a change I was not the odd one out, the lonesome vegetarian, the one declining a full cooked breakfast. This time breakfast consisted of Mobi’s organic granola with fruit & yoghurt, a vegetarian spicy Lebanese take on a cooked breakfast and good quality coffee. Basically I was in heaven.

Coming down to earth with a bang, I realised why this weekend was called the Darling Stagger. After all this fabulous food, walking is no longer an option. So we just staggered to !Khwa ttu, where Ivan gave us an introduction to San medicinal knowledge of the Fynbos vegetation. Fynbos is not only the most diverse vegetation types known on earth, it is also rich in medicinal purposes.

From !Khwa ttu we walked through the fields, vineyards, and olive groves of Ormonde and Alexanderfontein with stunning views of Table Mountain, Dassen Island, and the Atlantic Ocean behind us. The terrain varies from sandy & grid tracks to some tarmac roads or just through the fields. The trail is not hard, you only carry your day pack and the distance is limited to about 15 km. I had no problems at all, so basically anybody in reasonable shape can do it.

After about three quarters of the hike, we arrived at an idyllic setting in the olive groves, where a Bedouin type tent was erected, straw bales set out to give the old legs a good rest and a delicious light lunch of salads ready to be devoured. Natasha, Kyle and Morgan had done an sterling job!

The last stage of the stagger was fortunately mostly downhill, a good thing as drinking wine at lunchtime and climbing hills is not a good combination. Little did we know however that more wine was on the itinerary with a full blown Ormonde wine tasting. For some strange reason, nobody seems to quite remember how many wines we tried, but I can tell you we sampled the whole Alexanderfontein, Ondine, and Ormonde ranges.

The evening programme was the cherry on the cake – Evita Bezuidenhout’s Christmas in July show and babotie at Evita se Perron in Darling. Having heard so much about Evita se Perron and Pieter-Dirk Uys’ character Evita Bezuidenhout, I can confirm that all the praise is well-deserved and more. She is not only funny, but very sharp and willing to stick her neck out by tackling political issues in a way that everybody, regardless age, gender and race, will listen to and take note off. In addition, she does amazing work raising funds for the Darling Trust. Girl you totally rock!

The Darling Stagger finale

The second night we stayed in the heart of the sleepy village of Darling in Trinity Lodge. Here you don’t need an alarm on Sunday, as the church bells, calling Darling’s community to the early morning service, wake you well on time for breakfast.

After breakfast it was time to burn some of those calories with a short cycle through the village, a visit to the fascinating Darling museum and Nicolaas Maritz’s Studio Gallery.  Nicolaas, a well-established local artist, decided it was time to have a proper Studio Gallery, so people can have a look ‘behind the work’ and understand it better. He created the most incredible house full to the rafters with art, mostly his own but also some of his fellow South African artists. You roam from one room into the next, into his waterwise garden and his studio, and lose yourself in his intriguing work described by art critics as zippy, post-modern ethno-centric punk, naive, and challenging. No idea what that means, but I love his work.

The finale to the Darling Stagger is wine tasting and lunch at the historic Groote Post wine farm. I have always liked their wines, but the Groote Post Chenin Blanc 2011 is exceptionally good and great value for money. The mini ‘Ice Age’ last spring led to a very late harvest of this cultivar and the beautiful guava and green-apple flavours.

Overall the Darling Stagger slack packing trail was a great success with fabulous food, wine tasting to make anybody’s mouth water, mixed with a good amount of calorie burning of walking and cycling, and great company. Thank you guys for hosting us!

tel: 086 187 2457 (TRAILS)
Cape West Coast Biosphere Central Office: 022 451 2648
Cape West Coast Biosphere Hub R27: 022 492 2750
083 261 7960 (Ivan)
083 628 3426 (Sheryl)
email: trails@capebiosphere.co.za
web: www.capebiosphere.co.za/trails
notes: Special offer! Ask about reduced prices on initial exploratory trails.

Fathers’ Day in Darling

Various Darling restaurants are offering special Fathers’ Day menus for 19 June 2011…

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Lelieblom Farm

Why do mothers get all the joy on Mother’s Day, but somehow the fathers are left behind on their day, aren’t they special too????

Father’s Day @ Lelieblom FarmSunday, 19 June 201113:00 pm

Treat your Knight in shining armour, your father and/or husband to a relaxing, laid back and traditional

Father’s Day Lunch on the farm!

Spoil him, make his day special…WHY… because…he DESERVES it!

R180.00 p/pChildren under 12, R75 p/c

Every Daddy will receive a small gift from Lelieblom.

Tel 082 573 7736


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

(A la carte Menu)



Blue Cheese and Pear Salad

Eland Patè & Snake berry Chili Jam

Greek Salad



Eland Bobotie & Rice

Chicken Fillet

Couscous & Marinated Roast Vegetables



Pavlova and Fresh Fruit

Apple Tarte Tatin

Chocolate Brownies

Pecanut Tarts


 Bookings Essential – 022 492 2998

R27, West Coast Road, Yzerfontein


Dad, you’re someone to look up to,  no matter how tall I’ve grown.
~Author Unknown

!Khwa ttu wins top award

!Khwa ttu San Education and Culture CentreCongratulations to !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre for winning the Skål International Ecotourism Awards in the ‘General Countryside’ category!

The award ceremony was held in Sydney, Australia on 8 October 2010.

!Khwa ttu takes visitors on an exciting journey of discovery into the world of Southern Africa’s San or Bushmen people.

Other winners from South Africa were StreetSmart South Africa who won in the ‘City and Villages’ category.

For more information visit:
!Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre: http://www.khwattu.org/
StreetSmart South Africa: http://www.streetsmartsa.org.za/
Full list of winners: http://skalnet20.skal.org/sustainable/winners

The Darling Music Experience Dinner Recital: 29 September 2010

Wednesday 29 September

19h00 at !Khwa ttu

Swiss Violinist Sibylle Tschopp and Isabel Tschopp, Piano

Claude Debussy Sonata in G major for Violin and Piano

Ernest Bloch            Baal Shem – Three Pictures of Classic Life

Edvard Grieg           from Sonata No 2 in G major Op.13

Tickets including dinner R250

For more information and tickets call 022 492 2998 www.khwattu.org

Soccer in Darling

While Darling might have elected to become a “soccer free” zone, we certainly do not need to be a “visitor-free” zone – where better to chill out away from hectic city crowds.

For those who do not have tickets and therefore have no need to be in the city rush; you could not find a better place to watch the soccer.

Cafè Mosaic
This rendezvous in the Main Road will be open from early til late every day from 11 June until 11 July for Soccer ‘jolyt’.
Matches will be screened in the non-smoking as well as the new dedicated smokers section.
Telephone 022 492 2307

!Khwa ttu
!Khwa ttu will be showing the soccer tomorrow and every day for the rest of the world cup.
Come experience our creative world cup soccer excitement.
Telephone 022 492 2998

Bistro 7
Will be showing the soccer in the Pub tomorrow and most days during the soccer World Cup
Opening hours Mon, Wed to Sat 5pm – 11pm
Sunday 11am – 11pm
Closed all day Tuesdays
Telephone 022 492 3626

Kraalbosdam will be showing the soccer games tomorrow.
The TV will be on from the start +- 2pm
The kitchen will open at 7pm
Telephone 022 492 2345

Mother’s Day in Darling: 9 May 2010

Treat Mom to a weekend of relaxation and luxury in Darling! Spoil her with a feast at one of these wonderful country restaurants…

Mother’s Day Menu

Smoked haddock and courgette tart
Roast butternut soup with caramelised apples

Chicken in red wine on creamy mash

North African lamb tagine on couscous
(Main courses served with vegetables)

Apple and almond crumble with home-made custard

Chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream

@R175 per person

A vegetarian option will be available and a kiddies menu @ R50 per child
All Moms’ names go into a draw to wine a bottle of Groote Post MCC
For bookings contact – Shaun Mc Laughlin – 083 325 4148 or stay@trinitylodge.co.za


Mother’s Day Menu
Freshly baked bread from the farm kitchen with butter and home made jam.
Creamy Butternut Soup

Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Gravy

Bobotie and Rice
Sweet Potato
Brocolli and carrots with cheese sauce

Lemon Cheesecake


R150.00 p/p

Children under 12 R75.00 p/c
Every Mom will receive a small gift from Lelieblom
Please book in advance.
Karen 082 573 7736


Mother’s Day Sunday Lunch Buffet
Freshly baked Breads, Pates,
Selection of fresh Salads
Homemade Quiches, Potjies and Roasts.
Selection of Vegetables
Selection of delicious Desserts.
Eat to your heart’s content.
Complimentary glass of champagne and orange juice on arrival.

R145.00 per person (children under twelve R80.00)

Bookings essential at 022 492 2998


The final Gourmet BBQ event of the season is on Mother’s Day. You are invited for an informal wine tasting from 12.00pm, followed by Gourmet BBQ (served from 1.00pm)

On the Tables…
Bowls of olives from Cloof’s organic olive grove
Hot smoked salmon, creamy mayonnaise, caper berries and lemon wedges
Roosterkoek – Soft bread dough roasted on the braai
For Main…
Sizzling lamb chops in lemon juice smoked paprika and oregano marinade off the braai
Crispy rosemary roast potato wedges with roast garlic crème fraiche
Tzatziki also served on the side
Slow braised pork belly, glazed on the braai with ras al hanout
Wood roasted butternut and beetroot, rocket, toasted walnuts and lavender balsamic reduction
Green salad with smoked sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, avocado, red onions, cucumber, Danish feta, avocadoes and pesto vinaigrette
And for the vegetarians…
Wood roasted cherry tomato and goats cheese tart with Cloof olives, shaved parmesan and rocket
Roast butternut and ricotta ravioli with burnt sage butter and shaved parmesan
For Dessert
Dark chocolate and coffee mousse with berry coulis and butterscotch Chantilly cream
And for the little darlings…
Cheese Rolls
Fresh fruit
Soft drinks and fruit juice
For Dessert
Vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and colourful sprinkles
R180 per Adult
R90 per Tween (9 – 15)
R35 per Darling
Please specify any dietary requirements (including vegetarians) on booking your table
Please contact Jonno (events@cloof.co.za or 022-4922839) for bookings. Please note, we cannot confirm your booking until payment has been confirmed.
Tweens may have the normal menu at half price


Duo of spinach and cauliflower soup served with toasted homemade bread and farm cheese
Asparagus and parmesan Tart
Slow cooked Oxtail served with rice and garden salad
Chicken, Leek, Mushroom casserole topped with crispy cheese potato and served with baby roast veg
Crème brûlèe served with fruit compote
Medley of delicious fruit sorbet
Irish Coffee
R120-00 per person
Note: our normal menu will also be available
Bookings 022 492 2515

Sunday Lunch Buffet at !Khwa ttu

!Khwa ttu restaurant!Khwa ttu now offers a delectable Sunday lunch buffet, with veggies grown in their own organic garden.

The buffet includes:
Freshly baked Breads, Pates,
Selection of fresh Salads
Homemade Pies, Potjies and Roasts.
Selection of Vegetables
Selection of delicious Desserts.
Eat to your heart’s content.
Complimentary Glass of Champagne and orange juice on arrival.
R135.00 per person (children under twelve R70.00)
(A special set menu will be served on Valentine’s Sunday lunch)

Bookings essential: 022 492 2998