Somerset West in the Western Cape has grown dramatically over the last decade and continues to attract buyers for various reasons.
With the dramatic Helderberg mountains on one side, glorious views over False Bay on the other and picturesque vineyards in between, Somerset West has all the ingredients of picture postcard appeal. It’s therefore no surprise that the once small town has grown dramatically over the last decade, as newcomers settle here from all over the country attracted by the leafy streets, outdoor lifestyle and convenient proximity to Cape Town and the international airport.
The new secure estates and developments may have expanded its boundaries but Somerset West retains its identity as a small town with a strong sense of community. Families are well catered for with good public primary schools, Beaumont and De Hoop, Parel Vallei High School, and a growing number of excellent private schools. Radloff Park offers a whole range of sports activities from cricket to squash and its green fields on the banks of the Lourens River are a magnet for dog-walkers, kids on bicycles and runners. For wilder mountain nature it’s easy to head up into the Helderberg Nature Reserve for bird-watching, picnics, hiking in the fynbos and summer concerts, and for watersports the beach at Strand is only a 10-minute drive away.
The pleasures of the winelands are another attraction for foodies and wine connoisseurs – historic Vergelegen and Lourensford are practically within the town, Waterkloof is just outside and many more renowned estates lie between the town and Stellenbosch, so that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining and wine tasting right on your doorstep.
On a more practical note residents appreciate the fact that although Cape Town is within easy reach for commuting, the town itself has everything they need in the way of shopping and services – from the 3km length of Somerset Mall to the chic Waterstone Village with its flagship Woolworths food store and the bustling Main Street.
I love the friendly and hospitable community, the fact that it is so close to the winelands and the sea. Whether you are a fitness freak, a shopaholic or just simply laid back, Somerset West really is dynamic and caters for every lifestyle.
Chaz Malan, resident
Best in food:
- Benguela on Main for classic fine dining
- Camphors at Vergelegen for modern cuisine in a beautiful setting
- The Restaurant at Waterkloof for fine dining with a view
- TRE bakery for trendy casual fare with Banting and vegan options
- Giuseppe’s Pizzeria for the best wood-fired pizzas
Things to do:
- Hike in the Helderberg Nature Reserve.
- Picnic at Vergelegen Estate.
- Visit Monkey Town Primate Centre.
- Play golf at Erinvale Golf Club or Somerset West Golf Club.
- Watch a community theatre production at The Playhouse Theatre.
- Somerset College
- Parel Vallei High School
- Curro Caste Sitari
- Reddam House
- Somerset House
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.
Take a journey through the picturesque neighbourhood of Somerset West in this video: