in and around Somerset West
Somerset West and the surrounding areas offer plenty of things to do, places to see and fantastic food and wine experiences to appreciate. For popular activities such as biking or paintball, be sure to book your spot. Don’t forget your water and sunscreen when hiking in the Helderberg Nature Reserve or braving the slides at the Blue Rock Adventure Park!
Mighty fine wine and dine
Vergelegen Estate offers wine tasting, amazing lunches at the restaurant and plenty of space for children to explore all day. It is a historically important estate, with an interesting museum, library and perfectly kept gardens.
Waterkloof Wines is about enjoying the wine as well as the stunning views of the mountain, vineyard and Gordon’s Bay all together. The interesting architecture of the building adds to the pleasant experience of keeping warm around the fire pit in the tasting area or soaking in the sun out on the deck.
Flagstone Winery offers well-priced wines in a natural setting of flamingos and other water-birds gliding on the nearby lake. Why not give it a try?
Lourensford Wine Estate overlooks the Helderberg Mountains. Excellent customer service, a cosy fireplace, comfortable chairs and an outdoor area for warmer days make this spot a local favourite. Take a hike, browse the markets, grab a lunch at the restaurant or just have a refreshing drink at the coffee house for more fun.
The Root 44 market between Stellenbosch and Somerset West is worth a visit and some cash, set in a picturesque area overlooking the vineyards. Relish the friendly atmosphere with live music, amazing coffee and a delicious variety of food. Whether you crave brownies, homemade ice-cream, sushi or South African traditional meals, you will find it all here. Take the kids along for a park run while you’re at it!
Oom Samie se Winkel (Uncle Sammy’s Shop) is a general dealer in Stellenbosch’s historic Dorp Street. Walking in the door will take you back in time with the aroma of dried fish, spices, tobacco and leather. Old school sticky toffees, boiled sweets, collectible books and vintage clothing fill the shelves, along with antiques. Don’t leave without some fine wine, biltong and bokkoms, or at least have a slice of South African milk tart at the Koffiehuis, the shop’s adjoining restaurant.
Swing that club!
The Erinvale Golf Club has 18 holes, all kept in immaculate condition with lush green fairways. The course is challenging enough for both the average and more serious golfer. When you’ve finished your game, try the superb catering at the halfway house.
Get your hiking shoes
Helderberg Nature Reserve is a popular place to relax in nature with a rewarding hike up the mountain. Well-marked trails vary from easy to more challenging. There are plenty of benches in place to catch your breath, take pictures of the view and observe the interesting birdlife. Noticeboards describe the flora and there are also wheelchair-friendly boardwalks. Take your children along and let them explore the spacious play area. Finish off your day with refreshments and a light meal at the tea room.
The Cheetah Outreach makes it possible to see these animals that are difficult to glimpse in the wild. Their sound ecological and engaging approach makes it a fascinating experience for the whole family. You can even have a staff-facilitated cheetah encounter up close!
Strawberry picking is just the thing for the summer season at Mooiberge. Browse through the farmstall, have a cup of coffee and a good laugh at their funny scarecrows. Best of all, be sure you have some whipped cream for your strawberry dessert when you get home.
Visit the Strand beach for a swim in the warmer water, uncrowded space and a rock pool for the little ones. Gordon’s Bay is also close by and just as beautiful.
Monkey Town Primate Centre is a winner with kids every time, offering educational facts mixed with conservation and hands-on monkey and reptile encounters.
Blue Rock Adventure Park is set in an old, water-filled quarry used as a cable ski resort. Rock jumping, mini paintball, zip sliding and a small swimming section can keep the kids busy for hours. Watch from a spot on the large lawns, try out the restaurant, occasionally complemented by live music. Make sure you phone first to check the wind and weather conditions.
Helderberg Farm is also known as Helderberg Kleinplasie, the perfect place to go if you are looking for a sanctuary of serenity in nature. Go hiking and be rewarded with an impressive view from the top, overlooking the Helderberg area. The venue is child-friendly, with a colourful play area and animals to look at.
Pass hopping with UpSouth Adventures is a memorable way to explore the breath-taking passes of the Cape Winelands, Boland and Overberg on motorcycle. A full day’s ride can start with breakfast in Franschhoek, then a ride over Franschhoek Pass, Bainskloof Pass, Du Toitskloof Pass, Mitchell’s Pass and finish over Gydo Pass. Book a guided day tour or go solo with the help of a routed GPS.
X Paintball takes large groups for an exciting all-out battle in scenario-based sessions, set in three available fields – bush, urban or tire environments. Combinations can be done to create a larger area. Winners can cook the meat in the braai area. Book for a private group session, or join the social open sessions on the first Sunday of the month.