South African Hotels

Somerset West Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Somerset West

  • The town of Somerset West is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa
  • Set in the Helderberg area which is formerly called Hottentots Holland, Somerset West is about 50 km east of Cape Town and 10 km from the oceanside suburb of Strand
  • Somerset West is overlooked by the imposing Helderberg which forms a part of the Hottentots-Holland mountain range
  • The world Helderberg means 'clear mountain'
  • The town of Somerset West was named Somerset after an English governor of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry Somerset
  • The suffix 'West' was added after 1825 to differentiate it from Somerset East which is another South African town in the Eastern Cape
  • Helderberg Nature Reserve
  • Golf Courses
  • The area between Somerset West and Stellenbosch encompasses many vineyards and wineries: Rust-en-Vrede, Alto, J.P. Bredell and the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate
  • Vergelegen Wine Estate
  • Erinvale Hotel & Golf Estate
  • Parel Vallei (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Spanish Farm (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Jacques Hill (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Land en Zeezicht (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Heldervue (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Erinvale (suburb of Somerset West)
  • Boskloof Eco Estate (suburb of Somerset West)

Distance to Airport: 32 km

Distance to City: 45 km

Introducing Somerset West

The town of Somerset West is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa.  Set in the Helderberg area which is formerly called Hottentots Holland, Somerset West is about 50 km east of Cape Town and 10 km from the oceanside suburb of Strand.  Somerset West is overlooked by the imposing Helderberg which forms a part of the Hottentots-Holland mountain range.  The world Helderberg means 'clear mountain'.

History of Somerset West, Western Province (South Africa)

The land was initially bought from local people and a cattle post was established in this region of South Africa by Dutch soldiers in 1672.  A town was set up around the Lourens River and the farm of Vergelegen.  The beauitful farm of Vergelegen consists of a large estate and an 18th century farmhouse which was built in the historic Cape Dutch style by Willem Adriaan van der Stel. 

Willem Adriaan van der Stel was the governor of the Cape and son of Simon van der Stel, who gave his name to the nearby town of Stellenbosch. Today, the Vergelegen Estate is a prestigious wine estate which offers magnificent rose gardens, wine tasting tours as well as gourmet restaurants.  The Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West is now owned by a subsidiary of the large mining company Anglo American, who have restored the farmhouse to its original magnificence and continue to produce some of South Africa's best wines there.

Origin of the name: Somerset West, South Africa

The town of Somerset West was named Somerset after an English governor of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry Somerset.  The suffix 'West' was added after 1825 to differentiate it from Somerset East which is another South African town in the Eastern Cape. In the 1830s, Sir Lowry's Pass, named after later governor Sir Lowry Cole, was constructed to link the town with outposts further east over the Hottentots-Holland mountains.

Local Attractions in and near Somerset West, Western Province (South Africa)

Helderberg Nature Reserve

The Helderberg Nature Reserve is a 363 hectare natural wildlife preserve which opened in 1964.  The Helderberg Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of smaller fauna as well as buck, tortoises and other reptiles and features an outstanding specimens of indigenous flora such as protea and fynbos.

Vergelegen Wine Estate, Somerset West

The Vergelegen Wine Estate is located on the outskirts of Somerset West near the Erinvale Hotel and Golf Estate.  The buildings on the estate constitute fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture.

Golf Courses

Somerset West contains a number of sporting facilities including several golf courses.

Wine Estates near Somerset West

The historic town of Stellenbosch is reachable via the R44 motorway which is about 18 km inlands from Somerset West.  The area between Somerset West and Stellenbosch also encompasses many vineyards and wineries such as Rust-en-Vrede, Alto, J.P. Bredell and the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate where visitors can sample and purchase wine. The oldest remaining vineyard in South Africa, Vergelegen, is situated on the outskirts of Somerset West.

Accommodation

In recent years many guest houses and B&Bs have opened up in Somerset West, since it is conveniently located to Cape Town, the beaches at the Strand and Gordon's Bay, as well as the Western Cape's numerous wine farms.  The Cape Town Airport lies in close proximity to Somerset West.

Suburbs of Somerset West, Western Cape Province (South Africa)

The town of Somerset West consists of several suburbs including:

  • Parel Vallei
  • Spanish Farm
  • Jacques Hill
  • Land en Zeezicht
  • Heldervue
  • Erinvale
  • Boskloof Eco Estate
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