Somerset West, about 50 kilometres east of Cape Town, has always been popular as a residential area. Life is quieter here at the foot of the Helderberg, away from the bustle of the city, bordering on the beautiful winelands and close to the warm Indian Ocean.
A few kilometres north of Somerset West lies one of the most beautiful wine estates of the Cape. The Vergelegen Wine Estate was founded in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel. The Cape Dutch manor houses are surrounded by expansive English gardens. The Chinese camphor trees at the front gate are over 300 years old. Their stems measure some metres in diameter and being the oldest trees in South Africa, they were declared National Monuments.
Also worth a visit is the Helderberg Nature Reserve in close proximity. It renders a comprehensive insight into the fascinating Cape Fynbos flora, and invites you to go on wonderful walks.
More information and accommodation on the blue INFO page.
The seaside town "Die Strand" with its endless wide and fine sandy beach is only 10 kilometres away from Somerset West. As early as 1800 there had been a settlement of Malay slaves here who had escaped from Cape Town. They were Muslims and built a mosque that still stands today. Their subsistence was fishing. In 1970, during the Apartheid, this neighbourhood was destroyed and the people were forcefully resettled to make space for a white seaside resort. Some years later huge apartment buildings were raised, particularly high in demand with pensioners from the Johannesburg area.
Photo left: Die Strand. Top right: The R44 from Somerset West to Strand. Bottom right: Vergelegen Wine Estate.