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Darling

Darling is a small town in a tranquil, green valley where you can enjoy a rustic atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. It is best known for its extravagant wealth of flowers during spring … and as the town where Pieter-Dirk Uys/Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout lives.

 

Darling Painting y Rosemary Moore
Painting by Rosemary Moore

The town was proclaimed on the farm Langefontein during 1853. At the same time the Dutch Reformed Church was founded. The town is named after Charles Henry Darling, who was the Lieutenant Governor of the Cape.

Darling is situated in a good rainfall area with moderate temperatures. It is mainly a farming

  community in a region which produces a lot of wheat and is ideal for sheep farming; potatoes are grown here and there are some large wine producers in the area.

What to do …

Darling’s wild flowers

The town’s extravagant wealth of flowers during spring is its largest tourist attraction. What sets Darling apart from other towns, however, is the fact that most of the wild flowers found here don’t grow from seed, but are bulbaceous plants. During spring more than a 1000 species come to life in the fields and marshes, displaying an incredible variety of colour and growth habits not found anywhere else.

The wild flower show is held annually during the third weekend of September. There are 10 private wild flower reserves in the region of Darling, e.g. Tienie Versveld Reserve on R315 to Yzerfontein, Contreberg Farm on R307 Darling-Mamre road, Oudepost at R307 T-junction to Malmesbury and Waylands Farm on R315 to Yzerfontein.

Oudepost also has the largest orchid nursery in South Africa. Here millions of these exotic flowers are cultivated for local and export markets. The nursery, however, is only open to the public certain times of the year.

Pieter-Dirk Uys / Evita se Perron

Pieter-Dirk Uys, South Africa’s most famous satirist and cabaret star, and his alter ego, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, live in Darling. He transformed the station buildings into a small theatre and restaurant, and often performs here on “Evita se Perron” over weekends. There are also various arts and crafts shops.

Once a year, usually during the first week of September, Darling hosts the “Voorkamerfest” (front room festival). You buy a ticket for three stops, each stop at a house situated in the brown community. A show is held in each of the houses, be it song or dance or comedy. Often celebrities like Mimi Coertze or Sandra Prinsloo perform at these shows.

The Museum

The museum is housed in the old city hall in Pastorie street. The building is more than a hundred years old. The region was once one of the three biggest dairy producers in the Western Cape. The history of Darling’s dairy industry forms an important part of the museum’s exhibits, together with the development of the town, its school and people.
Darling’s tourism office is also housed in this building.

The Signal Cannon

The cannon in front of the museum has an interesting history. During 1734 it was mounted on Klipberg. Shots were fired to announce the arrival of ships in the Cape to the farmers in the region, who then could travel to the harbour to sell their products.

The Hildebrand Memorial

About 6km north of Darling, on the farm Kraalbosdam, a memorial needle is found. It marks the most southerly skirmish of the Anglo Boer war on 12 November 1901, during which field-cornet C.P. Hildebrand died.

Other

There are several restaurants in town where you can enjoy a relaxing lunch, and four wine cellars in the region, which produce excellent wines, and is well worth a visit.

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