History & Culture

Groenekloof, the name of the area in which Darling is situated, dates back to 1682 when standard bearer Oloff Bergh, pioneer explorer, undertook a journey to the north through the heavy sands of the West Coast.

Darling, named after Charles Henry Darling who came to the Cape as Lieutenant Governor, was founded on the farm Langfontein in 1853.

Click on any of the links on the right for pictures and more information.

History of the area

By the beginning of the 18th century some 29 farmers occupied farms in the Groenkloof area. Langfontein was one of these farms. The Darling Village trustees board succeeded in buying the farm for a village and church on 12 February 1853 (for 50.000 Guilder or 1.250 Pounds). Of which 10 belonged to the Government’s contracted butchers.

From the earliest years travelers through the Groenekloof were overwhelmed by the rich tapestry of flowers which cover the fields surrounding Darling during spring each year. James Backhouse wrote in 1840, “There are no Wild Flowers like those at Darling”. In 1915 Mrs Suzanne Malan, the Predikant’s wife, and Mr Frederick Duckitt of Waylands founded the Darling Wildflower Society and the renowned annual Darling Wildflower show has been held virtually every year since its inception in 1917.

Darling was not only known for its Wildflowers, but also for its game, salt and butter. In 1899 two Swedes, Nils Georg Moller and G. Threnstrom settled in Darling and started their own creamery here. By 1906 the business had become too big for the Swedes and it was taken over by the farmers who formed a corporation. A bigger factory was built in 1914 which served the creamery until a modern factory was built in Paarden Eiland 1950.

The Darling museum was established to preserve the history of the butter-making industry in Darling. A reflection of village and farm life from the 19th century, the museum contains a unique collection of artifacts depicting the beginning of butter making and the history of Darling creamery. Fortunately we again have our own creamery in Darling, so we are once more able to purchase our own Darling milk.


!Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre

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The San-guided Experience

This fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge and modern-day life of the San of southern Africa can be explored when accompanying a group of qualified San guides, who will lead you through a truly exceptional experience. During a three-hour tour the San will demonstrate their skills, share their ancient knowledge about oral history, tracking animals, identifying edible and medicinal plants with you. They will also teach you words in some of their languages and enlighten you about recent achievements in obtaining their rights to land and intellectual property. The tour includes both a ride on an open vehicle and a walks through !Khwa ttu’s breathtaking landscape, a visit to the replica traditional San village, a session about San languages at the boma, a cultural display at the photo gallery and the screening of an ethnographic film at the audio-visual theatre. The San-guided experience provides a unique opportunity for you to listen to accurate accounts of the past and present lives of the San.

The tour lasts three hours and starts at 10h00 and 14h00. It includes drinks. Try our restaurant for an eating experience before or after the tour.

contact: The General Manager to book
tel: 022 492 2998
fax: 022 492 3566
email: info@khwattu.org
web: www.khwattu.org
GPS: 33º 22’11.00″ S / 18º 15’52.00″ E

 


Darling Museum

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A visit to Darling is not complete without a trip to the Darling Museum.

Founded in 1978 by the Darling Women’s Agricultural Association as a Butter Museum, one section contains a unique collection of artifacts depicting the beginnings of the buttermaking industry in Darling which was famous for its creamery.

In 1989 the Museum was moved to its present home in the old Town Hall (1899) in Pastorie Street and expanded to reflect the lifestyle and growth of the village over the century and a half since its beginnings in 1853.

The Museum recreates life in a bygone era with fascinating displays of Victorian clothing, china and household furniture. A traditional kitchen complete with hearth contains many ingenious gadgets intended to make the life of a Victorian housewife easier.

The Agricultural hall portrays the history of farming in the area which gained impetus in 1800 when William Duckitt and his family were brought out from Surrey, England to improve local farming methods. His granddaughter, Hildegonda Duckitt was a cook and hostess of renown who wrote various cookery books and “The Diary of a Cape Housekeeper” in which she describes the activities on the farm for each month of the year.

address: Pastorie Street, Darling, 7345
tel: 022 492 3361
email: info@darlingtourism.co.za
GPS: 33° 22’ 46.56” S / 18° 22’ 41.42”E
hours: Information CentreMon-Thurs: 9h00-13h00 & 14h00-16h00

Friday: 9h00-13h00 & 14h00-15h30

Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 10h00-15h00

(Closed Easter, Christmas and New Year)

 


Hildebrand Monument

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The Memorial to Field Cornet C.P. Hildebrand of the Boer Forces’ Martiz Commando – Darling was the most southerly village to which a Boer commando penetrated during the Anglo-Boer war (1899 – 1902).

The white marble gravestone has been incorporated in the memorial needle (1939).

tel: 022 492 3361

 


Nostalgia

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Carefully selected collectable yellowwood, oak, basswood and oregon furniture, oil and electric lamps, porcelain, linen, kitchenware, jewellery, writing instruments, hardware and other interesting bits and pieces. On display are some of the latest works of well known artist, Jenni Jewels.

address: 19 Main Road, Darling, 7345
tel: 022 492 3584
GPS: 33° 22’31.80 S / 18° 22’46.84 E
hours: Mon – Fri: 10:00 – 15:00Saturdays: 10:00 – 12:30

Available all other times by appointment. Call 022 492 3319