heaven in the helderberg
Surrounded by orchards, farmlands and vineyards, the scenic suburb of Somerset West lies at the foot of the Helderberg mountains.
Located approximately 45km (28mi) to the south-east of Cape Town, Somerset West was established in 1822 and named after the then-governor, Lord Charles Somerset.
wildlife in the helderberg
The beautiful Helderberg Nature Reserve, +27 (0)21 851 4060, is one of the attractions of the area. While the reserve is famous for its wild proteas and superb bird life, it is also home to small mammals such as bontebok and duiker. There are numerous walks that showcase the beauty of the reserve, including proteas, birds, fynbos and medicinal plants. No visit to Somerset West would be complete without a visit to the Cheetah Outreach, where you can get to view these elegant animals and learn about African wildlife.
To the north-west of Somerset West you’ll find Paardevlei – a small vlei (lake) that attracts a wide variety of birds, particularly rare waterbirds.
eat & drink your way around
A highlight of any trip to Somerset West is visiting Vergelegen Wine Estate. Vergelegen, +27 (0)21 847 1334, has regularly been voted the best winery in the country by Wine magazine.
The estate is a wonderful example of Cape Dutch architecture, and the beautiful grounds are perfect for a picnic – which can easily be organised on your behalf from November to April, +27 (0)21 847 1346. You’ll also find the stunning Lady Phillips Restaurant, +27 (0)21 847 1346/2125, on the estate, but make sure to book in advance.
Another notable estate in Somerset West is Morgenster, +27 (0)21 852 1738, renowned for its fine Bordeaux-style wines and award-winning olive oil. For nature lovers, a visit to Morgenster’s olive tree nursery is an absolute must.
Founded in 1700, the Lourensford Estate, +27 (0)21 847 2333, combines unique technology, global expertise and optimal terroir to produce a range of sophisticated wines. Pop into the The Restaurant @ Lourensford, +27 (0)21 847 2328, for an early-bird breakfast or try a scrumptious picnic under shady old oaks.
For beer lovers, there's Triggerfish Brewery, +27 (21) 851-5861 or +27 (82) 887 6888 a micro brewey with a passionate owner who is not afraid to experiment. Try the Champ's Breakfast coffee beer, or the beer wine.
For those who have a need to shop until they drop, the Somerset Mall, +27 (0)21 852 7114, has everything you need under one roof, including shops, restaurants, movie theatres and 10-pin bowling.
On the way to Sir Lowry’s Pass you’ll find the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, +27 (0)21 845 6119, which is definitely worth stopping at to find out about the history of forced migration in South Africa.
an interesting read: discover the helderberg
For more suggestions on things to do in the Helderberg, check out these blog posts by Cape Town local Natalie Roos:
- Phone: +27 (21)840 1400
29km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, lies the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo - the Cango Caves. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well-known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.
The Southern Suburbs are a tourist’s delight. The area, which stretches from the slopes of the Table Mountain range to the False Bay coast, offers natural attractions and a vibrant nightlife.
Just a little further on from Cape Town’s well-known Muizenberg beach is St James. Home to a cluster of well-known and oft-photographed bathing boxes on the beach, St James is a picturesque area that offers beachgoers respite from the westerly wind.
Only 18km from the Cape Town city centre, an arc of fine white sand gives away the secluded location of one of Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches, Llandudno.
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