May 28, 2013
Discover wine and good times in the Helderberg
Stuart Buchanan is a journalist, blogger, and online writer for Flow Communications.
He grew up in Durban and has lived in various parts of South Africa and the UK, before finally settling on Cape Town. He often wonders why anyone would want to live anywhere else.
A visit to Cape Town is not complete without a drive out to the Helderberg region of the Cape – the areas around Somerset West, Gordon's Bay and the Strand, that lie under the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains (Afrikaans for "clear mountain").
Apart from the prestigious wine estates in this area (there are some 40 estates to be found in the Helderberg), it's also a great location for cultural and outdoor activities, as well as fine dining.
Check out our list of recommended things to see and do in the Helderberg:
How to get there
The Helderberg is less than an hour's drive out of Cape Town, and to fully explore the area, you'll need some wheels. For affordable and flexible car hire rates for a large variety of vehicles, we recommend Cars 4 Afrika. If you're planning on enjoying the wine, call Cape County Charter Service and let them do the driving. And if you really want to travel in style, The League of Gentlemen offer a chauffeur-driven luxury vehicle service for this area.
Where to stay
There's no shortage of accommodation in the Helderberg – with options ranging from five-star hotels to affordable backpackers, there's something to suit your pocket, and your vibe. If you're looking for a seaside feel, check out our list of places to stay in the Strand, and our list of places to stay in Gordon's Bay. For somewhere greener with great mountain views, see our list of places to stay in Somerset West.
Where to eat
Eat for a good cause! Imibala Restaurant in Somerset West is part of the Imibala Trust, a programme that helps provide education to underprivileged children in the area. Profits from the restaurant help cover admin costs.
Sometimes, all you need is a good steak. If that's what you're after, head to the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch in Somerset West – you won't be disappointed.
What to do
For adrenaline junkies, Blue Rock Cable Waterski is a must-do! Bring your own equipment or hire theirs, and try your hand (or rather, knees) at kneeboarding, waterskiing and wakeboarding.
If you're after something a little gentler, try the Schapenberg Walks for Biodiversity & Wine. Here you get to explore the region's rich biodiversity areas, and sample some local wines while you do it.
For the golf aficionados, there's always Erinvale Golf Course, designed by arguably the most famous South African golfer – Gary Player.
The Helderberg has a fascinating history, and the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum sheds light on some it, while also being the starting point of the Lwandle township walking tour.
Kids will love Monkey Town Primate Centre, a place that over 230 animals call home. This wildlife centre for apes and monkeys is both educational and entertaining, and well worth a visit.
Experiencing a Taste of Helderberg
Time your visit to catch this year's Taste of Helderberg Wine Show, a one-night only treat for your inner foodie or wine connoisseur. You'll get to enjoy signature dishes from some of the region's best restaurants, sample cheeses, olives, and of course, the top estates in the region will have their finest wines on offer here too.
Since 1999, Vergelegen Estate and its wines have earned more than 200 awards. Look out for them at this year's show.
Morgenster Wine Estate is a thriving olive and wine farm, producing Bordeaux-style wines and award-winning extra virgin olive oil and olive products. Try some of their olives at the festival and decide for yourself!
The festival is being held at The NH Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, the perfect setting for a great evening of delicious treats. While you're there, play a giant game of chess or explore their expansive grounds. And if all the good food, wine and scenery make you want to stay the night, you can! The hotel is offering an accommodation special on the evening.
The doors will be open from 17h00 to 21h00 and tickets cost R70 per person, which include an elegantly branded wine glass.
To book tickets, call +27 (0) 21 981 0216 or email email@example.com.
During and after the wine tastings, guests can relax in cosy chill areas or make use of the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. Pre-bookings for the restaurant are recommended to avoid disappointment. Call 021 855 1040 to make a reservation.