The best of small town living

The West Coast village of Darling is preparing to throw open its arms to visitors as it hosts the “Footloose in Darling” festival on 25 May.

The event invites visitors to walk the streets and enjoy the warm hospitality for which the village is famous, exploring its beautiful surroundings, restored Victorian homes, quaint art galleries and cosy restaurants. Darling is located about an hour’s drive from Cape Town along Route 27, and lies tucked away between hills of vineyards and rolling wheat fields. Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that the festival provides an ideal opportunity to view property in the village and get a feel for its peaceful, laid-back atmosphere.

PGP agents John and Sheena Nutter say Darling offers some of the most affordable country living opportunities in the Cape West Coast region. “Vacant land can still be obtained for as little as R285 000 to R695 000, for plots ranging in size from 600-1950sqm,” they say, “while small lock-up-and-go homes are priced between R700 000 and R995 000. A more substantial family home with three or four bedrooms can be purchased for between R1.1 million and R2.5 million. Even the top end village properties – usually well-preserved Victorian homes– are seldom priced over R2.5 million. And one can still purchase a small-holding from R3.2 million – extremely competitive pricing when one considers the rich soil and burgeoning wine and wildlife industries in this area.”

The village has seen an increasing number of lifestyle buyers in recent years, with about 95 percent of its population now being full-time residents, many of them commuting to Cape Town for work. It’s also a popular home for European “swallows” who spend their summers in the Cape – most notably those from the UK and the Netherlands. Holiday homes and retirement homes are also popular, with interested buyers coming from as far afield as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in recent months. PGP reports particular demand at present for smaller two- or three-bedroomed homes in the price range from R800 000 to R1.2 million.

“The slow pace of life, clean air, pleasant climate and relatively crime-free environment are a big draw-card for families who want their children to enjoy a simpler and more carefree way of life,” says Sheena Nutter. “There are not many places where you can still see children riding their horses in the streets, but Darling is one of them. The magnificent setting also inspires a large artistic community, from painters, potters and cheese makers to crafters who have set up studios here and showcase their wares via the local galleries or at the Darling market, which is held on the first Saturday of every month. The well-stocked Spar has also made life much easier for residents, who no longer have to travel to travel to nearby towns for their shopping.”

Darling’s other attractions include the Evita se Perron theatre complex, any number of restaurants and coffee shops, a brewery and a wine shop which sells the vintages of famous local farms including Groote Post and Cloof. The area is also a paradise for nature-lovers, offering a wide variety of hikes, game drives, wildflower trails and bird-watching opportunities. 

PGP currently has the exclusive mandate to market one of the largest and most magnificent homesteads in the village – a spacious home set in park-like gardens on an erf of close to 2700sqm. The property offers four bedrooms plus a library/study which could be used as a fifth bedroom.  Spacious entertainment areas flow easily from indoors to outdoors, with a  deep covered veranda overlooking the garden and a solar-heated swimming pool. A spacious outbuilding could easily be converted into a work-from-home suite or guest accommodation. Other features of the home include a sauna, small gym and triple garage, plus a strong borehole, computerised irrigation and security sensors. The property is on the market at R2.4 million.

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