Holiday Accommodation in Darling

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Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve DarlingSelf-catering
Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve is a private Game and Nature Reserve situated an hour's drive from Cape Town in the heart of the West Coast, a Malaria free zone. Come and enjoy what we have to offer, from magnificent wildlife to superb South African scenery. We at Buffelsfontein believe in ma...

Arum Inn Carling DarlingBed & Breakfast
Darling Guest House DarlingGuest House
Kaijaiki Guesthouse & Restaurant      DarlingGuest House
Langfontein Country Cottage DarlingSelf-catering
Maison Amnesia DarlingSelf-catering
Sonquasfontein Cottages DarlingBed & Breakfast
Trinity Guest Lodge DarlingHotel / Lodge
Villa Pescatori DarlingSelf-catering
Waylands Farm Guest House DarlingBed & Breakfast

DARLING  -  a breath of country air .....
Darling is the heartbeat of the West Coast region.  The little village lies tucked away between hills of vineyards and golden wheatfields.

Named after  Charles Henry Darling who came to the Cape as Lt Governor, the town is strategically well positioned only 75 km from Cape Town along the West Coast road.  The sea is but 23 km away at the coastal town of Yzerfontein.

Darling is the perfect weekend getaway destination.  Experience warm hospitality in intimate guesthouses or self-catering cottages where you will awaken refreshed and rejuvenated with spirits restored.  Here you can still expect to see a horseman cantering through the streets on a Saturday afternoon.  A gaggle of geese might waddle across the street to forage in the neighbours garden.  A funeral procession is accompanied by the consolatory gospel sounds of a traditional brass band, the Bethlehem Crusaders.

Lovingly restored Victorian homes and ancient trees make an idyllic setting.  Keeping vigil over the village is the homestead of Langfontein, the original farm on which Darling was founded in 1853.

Although traditionally known for its spectacular wildflowers, Darling has so much more to offer visitors

Darling is known as the flower of the West Coast, and the abundance of flora and natural flowers is undoubtedly its biggest asset.

Whilst standing in a carpet of wildflowers Mr Frederick Duckitt of Waylands and Mrs Suzanne Malan of the Pastorie in Darling decided that this wonderful heritage should be shared with others.  The outcome was the founding of the Darling Wildflower Society in 1915 - with the first flower show being held two years later.

The Darling Wildflower Society has held a show virtually every year since that first show in 1917.  The ideals expressed by the founders still hold true today.  They wanted to display Darling's God-given wealth for the world to see.  At the same time they promoted the conservation of flowers amongst the farmers of the district, who have since maintained the botanical diversity of the region over several generations.

The West Coast flower region, an integral part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom, boasts more than 1200 species of flowering plants.  About 80 of these are endemic to the West Coast and known nowhere else.  The rich flora of the West Coast occurs on mainly three different soil types,  culminating in three distinctive vegetation types, namely, Strandveld, Renosterveld and Sandveld.

Darling lies within the Cape West Coast Biosphere reserve in the centre of the threatened lowland sandplain and renosterveld fynbos. Darling's veld is unique in that it consists of an intermingling of various veld types.  It is not unusual to find a single patch which can be classified as Sandveld, Strandveld, Renosterveld and Rietveld.  This mix-up has led to the veld in Darling producing flowers, especially Geophytes (bulbous plants), which are spectacular in their diversity, size and colour.  This situation is found nowhere else in the world.  The Cape Floral Kingdom, with more than 12 000 species, is also the richest in species diversity.  It is astounding that Darling contains more than 10% of the species count of the Cape Floral Kingdom in less than 1% of the area.  If there was ever a "Golden Mile" of the plant kingdom anywhere in the world, it must surely exist in Darling.  If there was ever a "Most Threatened" area in the world, likewise.  Rapidly expanding development along the West Coast will swallow large tracts of the internationally unique flora.

The Darling Wildflower Show takes place over the third weekend in September, 2003 at the Darling Sport Club.  Since the early shows, the wildflower show has grown from a hall with floral arrangements to include natural displays which reflect the geographical diversity of the veld surrounding Darling.  All flowers and plants on show grow wild in the Darling district and are picked under strict supervision of the Darling Wildflower Society.  The displays include the botanical and common names of all flowers exhibited as well as interesting information on conservation.  The detail can vary substantially, being dependent on the rainy season, but one can always expect to see variety, especially at the specimen tables.

Some threatened plant species from the Darling-Hopefield area:
Romulea exima (Darling Froetang);  Gheissorhiza darlingensis (geel kelkiewyn); 
Gheissorhiza eurystigma (kelkiewyn);  Ixia curta (bruinoog kalossie);  Ixia framesii (rooi kalossie);  Sparaxis parviflora (klein kappie);  Spiloxene canaliculata (geel poublom);
Oncosiphon glabratum (pienk kalkoentjie);  Babiana rubrocyanea (kelkiewyn bobbejaantjie);  Nemesia strumosa (bont leeubekkie/weeskindertjies)

Besides the variety of floral wealth on display, visitors can browse through a feast of fleamarket stalls and enjoy delicious country meals.  The tractor ride into the adjacent Oudepost vlei is a trip of some 30 - 40 minutes into floral paradise and not to be missed.

Several local farmers have over the years put aside land for flower reserves and these are opened to the public during flower season (August/Sept./Oct - dependant on nature and the weather) The rainfall and the absence of warm berg winds determine the duration of the flower season.  Nature does not take orders from anyone!  Maps and directions are available from the local info office during season.

Do's and don'ts of flower watching!!

 Best time for viewing is during the warmest period of the day   (11:00 am -  15h00 pm)
 Travel with the sun behind you, as the flowers turn their faces to the sun
 Certain flowers will not open if it is overcast or cloudy
 Do not trample plants unnecessarily
 Do not disturb nature in any way, especially dune area
 Leave all gates as you find them
 Use only ablution facilities provided
 Absolutely no picking of flowers/bulbs/plants.  It is illegal
 Take adequate protection not only from the spring sun, but also from the zealous  insects. 
 It is thus sensible to wear light , but long-sleeved and legged clothing.


The Darling flora is all about the extravagant diversity and fragrance.  While the big picture displays such as the fields of daisies are magnificent, it is the small detail that will fascinate, as will the wondrous scent of the veld.

Please help us to preserve this beautiful area to pass on to our future generations
The famous Evita Bezuidenhout entertains 'volk en vaderland' at her Evita se Perron theatre complex, situated in the old Darling station.  On Friday and Saturday evenings the Perron is lit up by colourful lights, while local, national and international visitors enjoy traditional 'boerekos' and entertainment.

Many talented artists and crafters have found inspiration in Darling and can be visited at their studios.West Coast arts and crafts are for sale at Evita's A en C. 

Darling is becoming a new discovery area of modern Cape wines and already some of the region's wines have achieved the highest critical acclaim.  Lovers of good wines are invited to visit award-winning Cloof, Groote Post, and Darling Cellars as well as Darling Wijnhuis for tastings and sales.

DARLING TOURIST ROUTE

Travelling up the R27 (West Coast Road)  enjoy a late breakfast at the Vyge Valley Farm Stall before continuing to Darling along the R315 .   In season (Aug/Sept)  stop at the Tienie Versfeld reserve and take a walk through the wildflowers.  Take a step back in time at  the Darling museum to explore the history of the town.  The Tourist Info Office is housed in the museum, so take the opportunity to find out what there is to see and do in and around Darling.  Lunch at one of our local restaurants or coffee shops or enjoy a picnic basket prepared for you at Groote Post Wine Cellars on th Darling Hills Road.  Spend an hour or two visiting various artists and crafters studios in the town ending up at Evita se Perron in the old Darling station.   Spend the night in comfort, enjoying the traditional hospitality of a guest house or bed & breakfast in the village.    Continue on to Malmesbury along  the R315  stopping on the way at the Darling Cellars and Cloof Cellars for tastings and sales.


DARLING ART & CRAFT  Route ( KUNS & HANDWERK Roete)

*Come and see what the artists and crafters of Darling are up to ...................

*Kom kyk waarmee Darling se Kunstenaars en handwerkers doenig is .......

Elmie Smit  - Paintings/Skilderye   Jean Beeton - Paintings/Skilderye
44 High Street     30 Long street
*Tel:  022 492 3305    *Tel 022 492 3505

Milene Rust - Paintings & African   Jenni Jewels  - Pastels & Botanical
Collectables/Skilderye & Afrika    Art/Pastelle & Botaniese Kuns
Versamelstukke     at Nostalgia 
27A  Pastorie street    Main Road
*Tel 022 492 3293     Tel 022 492 3584

Sandy Esau  - Paintings/ Skilderye   Nina van der Westhuizen - Paintings
735 Amandelboomsingel    Skilderye
*Tel 022 492 3704     46 High Street. *Tel:  022 492 3369

Nicolaas Maritz-  Paintings & Prints/   Lauren Broekhuizen - Paintings/
Skilderye & Afdrukke    Skilderye
5 Nemesia Street     Petunia street
*Tel 022 492 3343     *Cell  082 718 9373

Saar Maritz -  Silversmith/Silwersmid   Brian Erasmus - Benches/Banke
5 Nemesia street     44 High Street
*Tel 022 492 3343     *Cell 083 774 6572

Raymond Soga - Paintings/Skilderye   Leon Lewis - Pottery/Pottebakkery
*Tel  022 492 3088     Earthcraft Pottery
      13 Station street
Evita's a en c - Arts & Crafts/    *Tel 022 492 2427
Kuns en Handwerk     
Darling Station, Arcadia street   Sarah Mackie  - Paintings/Skilderye
Tel:  022 492 2831/51    13 Station road
      *Tel 022 492 2427
Eco Rustic Country Crafts   
Arts & Crafts/Kuns & Handwerk   Karen Korte  - Paintings/Skilderye
19 Main Road     6 Garden street
Cell  083 360 4286     *Tel 022 492 2374

Mieke Bovenkerk - Folk Art/Volkskuns   Darling Museum & Art Gallery
Poezenheimer Studio    Pastorie street
1 Queen Victoria Street    Tel 022 492-3361
*Tel 022 492 2259
      Darling Focus/-Fokus - Crafts/
Margee Gough  - Beadwork/Kralewerk   Handwerk
32 Mount Pleasant street    *Tel 022 492 3822
*Tel 022 492 3529
      Andre van Zyl  - Paintings/Skilderye
Dawn Dowdles -Arts & Crafts/   41 Fontein street
Kuns & Handwerk     *Tel 022 492 3264
22 Pastorie Street
*Tel 022 492 3062     Pam O'Reilly  - Oils & Pastels/
      Olie & Pastelle
Green Chameleon - Crafts/Handwerk   42 Pastorie street
9 Station Street     *Tel  022 492 3215
*Tel 492 3632
      Peter Haslam - Framing & Paintings
Bessie Visser - Mohair/Sybokhaar   Rame & Skilderye
*Cell 083 321 2221     2C Mount Pleasant street
      *Tel 022 492 3844 & 021 556 1622
Neville Wall  Pottery - Pottebakkery
32A Mount Pleasant street    *By appointment only
*Tel 022 492 3327     * Slegs per afspraak 

 

Darling Wildflowers

Darling lies within the Cape West Coast Biosphere, in the centre of the
threatened lowland sandplain and renosterveld fynbos.  Darling Wildflower
Society and  conservation-minded farmers have for over 80 years presented
an annual Spring WIldflower Show  (19 - 22 September 2002)   to create an awareness of the need to preserve our great floral wealth.

Various reserves are open throughout the wildflower season (August/September/Oct - dependent on nature) namely  Contreberg, Oudepost, Tienie Versfeld, Waylands and the newly declared Darling Renosterveld Reserve. 

Maps and directions are available at the local  Tourism Info Office  (022) 492-3361 Rondeberg Private Nature reserve offers year round guided flower walks and is a birder's paradise.  Meals are available if pre-arranged (022) 492-3309 Buffelsfontein Game Nature Reserve offers game and flower drives, 4X 4 route, shooting range, restaurant and accommodation.  (022) 492-2405

Art and culture
Evita se Perron, a theatre situated on the Old Darling Railway Station, has two cabaret venues, a restaurant, fully-stocked bar, arts and craft market (featuring mainly West Coast and Swartland crafts) and a conference venue.  Here Evita Bezuidenhout (aka Pieter Dirk Uys), the most famous white woman in South Africa, entertains in her own inimitable style.

The festivities around the "Hello Darling Arts and Culture festival" starts on 14 September 2002 and the fun continues with a feast of comedy, drama and cabaret until 22 September.
 For more info Tel 022 492-2831/51  or email evita@iafrica.com

Interesting development initiatives

Darling Focus is a local community project focussing on development and
empowerment.  The aim is to empower people by developing their skills  through
means of various programmes and projects, to develop self-confidence  and
encourage people to become independent so that he/she can help themselves instead of relying on others to help them.

A Darling Focus Centre was built in 1999 and current projects include: 
Needlework, woodwork, leatherwork, computor classes, literacy classes, a soup kitchen, ballroom dancing, arts and crafts, drivers licences, a youth group and a
pensioners club.
Contact Shereline Herman (Administrative Clerk) at (022) 492-3822 for further information.