Fleeting and fabulous. Darling’s wildflowers are blooming gorgeous. They signal the delightful promise of spring. You definitely don’t want to miss this spectacle, just a short drive from Cape Town.
Why Darling’s wildflowers
The wanderlust itch is especially alive and well after the last 18 months. We typically visit the Postberg Reserve within the West Coast National Park, it never disappoints. But it was time for a little change.
Although within the overall West Coast biosphere, Darling’s secret sauce is the incredibly rich diversity of wildflowers and multiple veld types versus the vast flower carpets of the West Coast National Park. I’ll admit our day had a few curveballs so the pics may not quite depict quite the plethora on offer but that’s no reflection on the fab fun or quality of experience we enjoyed.
Where is Darling
This laidback Swartland town is an hour from Cape Town, roughly 75km. So it’s an ideal day trip or weekend getaway destination. Take either the N7 and R315 or head up the R27 and R307.
Small town, big heart and its name say it all really. Darling is home to creative and arty souls including South Africa’s best-loved aunty, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout. Evita se Perron is a whole complex with a museum, restaurant and theatre which has not been operational during lockdown. The town and surrounding area offer lots in the way of artisanal treats including toffees (Darling Sweets), wineries, olives and craft beer.
Our family is feline obsessed, so getting a caffeine fix on arrival into town at The Marmalade Cat prior to veld trawling was an absolute must. They offer brekkie and lunch. Having met the wooden imposter at the entrance, we were thrilled to meet and stroke the real Marmalade in all her mellow senior glory. The gift and clothing nooks are fun to potter around.
On our next visit to Darling, we’ll definitely do lunch and a beer tasting visit to Darling Brew. Other popular grazing spots include 1910 The Old Forge Bar & Restaurant, Evita se Perron, Café Mosaic and Red Box Café. Be sure to check opening times and days.
Where to find Darling’s wildflowers
The reserves in Darling seemingly all offer complimentary access which is always a bonus right? We managed to visit two out of the 3 main ones where wildflower viewing is possible.
Oudepost Nature Reserve
This is a private farm owned by the Duckitt family and is opened annually to visitors. It’s located on the R307 by the Duckitt Nursery, famous for its orchids. Walking off the vehicle track in the veld is permitted but tread mindfully to avoid unnecessarily trampling of flowers. The veld is fairly marshy in places.
Darling Renosterveld Reserve
Close to Oudepost and perched on a granite koppie, you’ll find magnificent sweeping views of Darling and the surrounding farmland here. The canola is in full golden bloom currently too. Renosterveld is one of the most critically endangered vegetation types in the world.
Tienie Versfeld Reserve
Although on our radar we didn’t make it to this popular reserve. It’s located on the R315. Follow the footpaths to soak in the sprawling blooms and keep an eye out for the Speckled Cape tortoise and additionally the terrapins that inhabit the seasonal pans.
For more info. on all the reserves and farms visit DARLING WILDFLOWERS.
INFO & TIPS
- Flower viewing is best between 11:00 and 15:00 when it’s warmest.
- Many flowers don’t open if there’s no sun.
- Preferably wear longs and closed walking shoes. It’s marshy in areas.
- Take sun and bug protection.
- Picking of anything is illegal.
- See Hello Darling for more info and tips.
Check out a West Coast National Park flower experience and other family-friendly outings.
One Stop Wanderlust showcases family travel and family-friendly outings in South Africa. Grab a coffee and stay on the blog to find more exciting wanderlust worthy ideas and tips.