Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Darling Wind Farm
On the hills just outside Darling, roughly 70 kilometres from Cape Town, stand four wind-generated mills. It's known as an Eskom demonstrator site, which means it's something of a learning platform for the development of the wind energy industry in South Africa.
Where? Just outside Darling on the Cape West Coast, Western Cape
How? Call +27 (0)22 492-3095
The Darling Wind Farm is one of two demonstration wind farm sites. The other is at Klipheuwel, on the other side of Cape Town.
The initial four turbines are but phase one. Phase two is supposed to introduce a further six 1.3 MW turbines. The electricity is bought by the City of Cape Town who now sell green certificates to residents. The local Darling community is a shareholder in the wind farm, with plans to begin benefitting from phase two. And unlike power generated by fossil fuels, such as coal or gas, wind energy is freely available energy throughout the year.
You can drive fairly close to the wind turbines, if you're after some photographs. Against the blue of the Cape Town sky, they appear particularly photogenic. The turbines rise some 50 metres above the ground, which is like staring up at a 17 storey building when you're at ground level.
Interestingly, the turbines begin producing power at a wind speed of only 8 kilometres an hour and reach their full potential at 54 kilometres. The apparently lazy rotation is their measured way of rotating – at a constant speed of 32 revolutions per minute, regardless of wind speed. They are obviously not like the steel wind pumps that grace our drier areas, like the Karoo. And once wind speeds reach more than 97 kilometres an hour, the computer control system closes them down, braking the blades.
Find Darling Accommodation (with preview images and description) or consider Darling Hotels (ranging from 3-5 star). If you prefer to do it the self catering way, you will find our comprehensive list of Darling Self Catering options useful. Also see Cape West Coast Accommodation and Cape West Coast Hotels for overnight options in surrounding towns.