But Darling, let’s be adventurers…
It’s all in the name, Darling.
darling noun [C]
UK /ˈdɑː.lɪŋ/ US /ˈdɑːr-/
:a person who is very much loved or liked:
Darling is a town wrapped up in a laid-back atmosphere with friendly smiles, good-morning-neighbour waves and true West Coast hospitality. The town, just over an hour from Cape Town, is known for its wildflowers, craft beer, wine, festivals and South Africa’s most famous white woman, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout.
But that’s not all.
Darling (and the area) is also home to the Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails. The Cape West Coast Biosphere trails is all about making a positive impact on the local community through job creation, supporting existing and emerging tourism and hospitality services and sustaining the livelihoods of the guides, caterers and drivers. It is also driven to make a positive impact on the environment and through experiencing one (or all) of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails visitors contribute to the sustainability and maintenance of the biosphere’s ecological balance.
The work they do is impressive and when one of the Cape West Coast Biosphere’s slackpacking trails, the Darling Stagger, called my name and I answered, “yes Darling?”.
The Darling Stagger
I waved Cape Town adieu, got on the road, grabbed a coffee and before I was even fully caffeinated Darling stood there with open, welcoming arms at the The Granary Petite Hotel. The Chicory Cheese Café, in the same building as The Granary Petite Hotel, fueled the coffee addiction with breakfast on the side and before I knew it I was off to the starting point of the Darling Stagger at !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre.
Now, if you’ve ever wondered why this slackpacking trail is called the Darling Stagger, wonder no more: there is wine tasting involved and if you want, there is a lot of wine tasting involved. The beauty of the Stagger is that this guided trail can be easily adapted to fit any group, fitness level and/or wine-tasting needs and desires.
In the brochure they say, “South Africans are 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”.
And they were quite right.
I had it all. I was in good company with The Roaming Giraffe, Moving Sushi, The Incidental Tourist and Ryno the guide; we journeyed along the serene side of life, with a touch of culture, a hint of ocean and a lot of nature. The winding road of reptile and candelabra flower discoveries led to the coast of Yzerfontein with windswept waves, a bit of sand in the face and a natural green phenomenon of algal bloom.
The experience of the Darling Stagger was a short adventure; a little darling of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails and it all ended with exploring the quiet streets of the town the next day.
From Darling Stagger to Darling Stroll
The town is best explored on foot (or with a bicycle) and if you want a bit of extra oomph to your stroll you can sign up for the Mystery Trail where clues and riddles will lead you to a treasure.
Other things to do in Darling
Visit Darling Sweet and witness how they make, cut and pack some of the most delicious toffees you’ll ever taste.
Stop by the museum and see interesting yesteryear displays from what houses looked like in the 18th century to the thing that put the town on the map a long time ago, butter.
Evita se Perron
Don’t miss Evita se Perron; the restaurant and theatre of satirist Pieter Dirk Uys, better known as Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout.
Grab a breakfast bite at the Chicory Cheese Café, fuel up at The Flying Pig and The Marmalade Cat for lunch and visit Bistro Seven for dinner.
Learn more about craft beer and the concept of slow beer at Darling Brew, a microbrewery.
The Granary Petite Hotel
Darling is not a town that should be rushed; go slow, spend a night or two and stay over at The Granary Petite Hotel. This petite boutique hotel’s setting of a warm, homey atmosphere is big enough for you, the whole family and even your mother-in-law.
What are you waiting for? Let’s be adventurers, let’s Darling Stagger and stroll.
For more information on the Darling Stagger (normally a 3-Day Trail) and the full itinerary, click here.
Disclaimer: My trip and the Darling Stagger experience was organised and sponsored by West Coast Way, Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails, The Granary Petite Hotel, Chicory Cheese Café, The Flying Pig, Bistro Seven and Darling Brew.