Spring wildflowers © Judith Duk
Darling is one of South Africa's fastest-growing tourist destinations, and from the second you pull into this dusty, delightful town, you'll understand exactly why. Located in the wheat- and wine-rich Swartland region of South Africa's West Coast, Darling is a thoroughly charming little place, situated in a valley of rolling, golden hills and well-established vineyards. Although Darling offers high-quality dining options, a local brewery, and wine and olive tasting opportunities that compare with South Africa's finest, the town's main claim to fame is it's most famous resident, satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys (perhaps better known by his alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout). Pieter-Dirk Uys has invested heavily of his time and energies in Darling, creating not only a popular cabaret venue (Evita se Perron), but also founding the Darling Trust, an organisation that promotes social upliftment through the arts. Don't miss the small museum and craft market, which - in addition to housing several hilarious satirical paintings - also displays some priceless correspondence between 'Evita' and notable figures from South Africa's history, including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and PW Botha.
An agriculturally prosperous region, blessed with plenty of sun, Darling is a must-see destination, a magical place where horse-carriages still canter past quaint Victorian cottages, and where the most stressful decision to make each day is which restaurant or which wine farm to try next. Darling is also home to an annual Wildflower Show (August to September), where the famous Namaqualand Daisies can be viewed in all their glory.