Nestled inland from Yzerfontein, on South Africa’s quiet and unassuming West Coast, the quaint town of Darling has always been somewhere I wanted to visit. Having passed it over for the seaside escape of Langebaan or the more well known wine routes of Stellenbosch and Robertson, I finally got round to spending a weekend in this oh, so Darling little village. Here are 5 reasons why I would return again and why we think you too should pay the town of Darling a visit!
1. Maison de L’amour
Maison de L’amour is a charming guesthouse in the heart of town is reason enough to visit Darling – even if you never leave your room! The owners, Nina and Derek Poole, lovingly restored the old cottage into a quirky establishment that boasts just three lavish rooms. The room we stayed in, the Gardener’s Cottage, is set outside in the small garden and has its own lounge area. Decadently decorated in all manor of antiques, the plush room offered the perfect place to catch an afternoon nap. However it’s not just the beautiful rooms that make Maison de L’amour amazing – it’s the hosts themselves. Nina was always on hand to answer any questions we had and on select evenings she even offers a special romantic meal in the garden. Her breakfasts are also to die for – think waffles overflowing with berries and farm-fresh eggs Benedict!
2. The wine
Although Darling is only home to a few wine estates, you could spend the entire day exploring them! The lawns at Groote Post welcome families to spend the day under the sun and on the last Sunday of every month the estate comes alive with music and a market. Darling Cellars on the other hand offers a huge variety of wines to get the taste buds going but perhaps the best of all is Ormonde, located right in town itself. Sipping on a glass of one of their award-winning reds, while enjoying a picnic platter under the trees is the perfect way to wind down any day.
3. The beer
If wine is not your thing, then be sure to head on down to Darling Brew for a glass of some local beer. Sit inside where you can enjoy a plethora of tastings while overlooking the working brewery. I highly recommend a tall cold class of their Radler paired with the beef brisket burger – there just isn’t anything better!
4. Cheese and meat
On Darling’s main street you will find two absolute gems. Udderly Delicious is the local cheese shop which makes “utterly delicious” cheese right on site – its somewhere between a feta and a brie and it’s simply heavenly. If you are a meat lover you will also want to stop in at the Darling Meat Market – they have a range of products to delight at unbelievable prices. I highly recommend the cheesy boerewors and the beef fillet wrapped in bacon!
5. The atmosphere
Perhaps the most famous reason to visit Darling is the flowers, along with Evita se Perron, of course. In spring the area transforms with technicolor natural blankets lining every available space. This also brings with it tourists who come to see the wild spectacle. However to really appreciate Darling’s atmosphere I recommend visiting off season. It is then that you can really enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this dainty town. Just escape, relax and truly get away from it all and I can assure you that you will never want to leave!