10 Places to Visit in Somerset West

Posted on 4 December 2023

Why not spend an afternoon in the picturesque town of Somerset West, nestled just outside Cape Town? Uncover a tapestry of activities and attractions that cater to diverse interests, ranging from invigorating nature trails and thrilling outdoor pursuits to indulging in the rich flavours of local wines and exploring historical landmarks.

In this captivating destination, there truly is something for every discerning traveller. To enhance your visit, we present a curated selection of the top 10 places in Somerset West. Prepare to immerse yourself in the unparalleled allure of this destination and create lasting memories.

1. Vergelegen Estate

Places to Visit in Somerset West

Source: Facebook / @ Wines

Vergelegen Estate, founded on February 1, 1700, stands as a beacon of historical splendour amidst its ancient vineyards. Known for being under the stewardship of world-renowned explorers and visionaries, Vergelegen has evolved into a world-class estate. It captivates visitors with its blend of rich history, architectural beauty, and breathtaking views of False Bay and Table Mountain. Each element of the estate contributes to an enchanting experience for wine enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The estate’s charm extends beyond its scenic vineyards. Visitors can indulge in an exceptional dining experience at the Stables restaurant, where the service is as commendable as the delectable wines and meticulously prepared meals. The well-maintained gardens, with their intoxicating fragrances, add to the allure. The Vergelegen Wine Estate also offers an Environmental Tour, an insightful journey showcasing the local wildlife, including quaggas, eland, and bontebok. The day culminates with a visit to the Stables restaurant, a highly recommended dining experience thanks to its attentive staff and delightful ambience.

Vergelegen is more than just a wine estate; it’s a comprehensive experience. From its picturesque gardens perfect for leisurely walks and photography to the historical buildings that echo its past, the estate offers a variety of activities. Guests are encouraged to spend a day exploring its beauty, perhaps even enjoying a catered picnic on its lush grounds. The Vergelegen Wine Estate, with its combination of natural beauty, gastronomic excellence, and historical richness, stands as a must-visit destination in Cape Town.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Address: Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town

Contact: 021 847 2100

2. Morgenster Wine Farm and Olive Estate

Places to Visit in Somerset West

Source: Facebook / @Morgenster

Morgenster Wine Farm and Olive Estate, nestled in the lush landscapes of Somerset West near Helderberg Mountain, is a picturesque testament to the art of winemaking and olive cultivation. With a history stretching back over 300 years, the estate has evolved under the careful stewardship of various owners, including its purchase in 1711 by French Huguenot Jacques Malan. The estate, once part of the renowned Vergelegen, is marked by its storied past and the iconic morning star emblem from its Cape Dutch gables, now featured on its wine and olive oil labels.

The transformation of Morgenster began in 1991 when Giulio Bertrand acquired the farm. His vision led to the meticulous renovation of the estate with architect Revel Fox, the planting of Italian olive varieties, and vineyards of red Bordeaux and Italian grapes. Bertrand’s approach to releasing wines in stages allows visitors to experience a unique vertical tasting, showcasing the evolution of the estate’s wines. The modern cellar, set against the scenic backdrop of the Helderberg, offers guests a chance to delve into the rich legacy of Morgenster’s wine production.

Morgenster’s commitment to excellence extends to its olive oils, consistently ranked among the world’s finest for over a decade. Visitors to the estate can indulge in a unique tasting experience, exploring the complexity of these acclaimed oils. The estate’s Italian platter experience, pairing various olive oils with a generous selection of cheese, ham, and fruit, culminates in a memorable finale of vanilla ice cream drizzled with olive oil. Morgenster Wine Farm and Olive Estate stands as a must-visit destination for those seeking a remarkable journey through history, taste, and scenic beauty.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Sunday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Address: Vergelegen Avenue, Off Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town

Contact: 021 852 1738

3. Lourensford Market

Lourensford Market

Source: Facebook / @Lourensford Market

Nestled in the breathtaking Lourensford Wine Estate, the Lourensford Market is a vibrant weekend destination, renowned for its stunning scenery and rich history. With over 60 permanent stalls housed in a robust structure, this market is a bustling hub of activity and discovery. As you wander through the market, you’re not just shopping; you’re immersing yourself in the beauty of sprawling lawns, meticulously landscaped gardens, and towering oak trees that have stood the test of time. The Lourensford Market, set against the backdrop of one of the most picturesque wine estates in the Helderberg region, offers an experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

The market has become a trendy weekend hangout, drawing in both locals and tourists. Its relaxed atmosphere allows visitors to soak up the sun, enjoy the serene surroundings, and engage in the community spirit. The Lourensford Market is more than just a market; it’s a celebration of the local culture and a showcase of the creativity and culinary prowess of the region. Each visit promises a delightful experience, filled with discoveries and enjoyable moments.

Opening hours: Friday: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm; Saturday: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Address: Lourensford Wine Estate, Lourensford Estate, Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130

Contact: 072 284 1654

4. Country Craft Market

Source: Facebook / @ Craft Market

The Country Craft Market, a cornerstone in the Western Cape since 1983, stands as a testament to the talents of local crafters, artists, and artisans. Established with the noble intention of promoting local talent, it soon evolved into a bi-monthly event celebrated for its exceptional quality handcrafts. Strict adherence to quality has been its hallmark, distinguishing it from other markets by its exclusivity of handcrafted, non-mass-produced items. This market isn’t just a shopping destination; it’s a showcase of craftsmanship and dedication.

Nestled in the serene Southey’s Vines in Somerset West, the Country Craft Market offers a tranquil shopping experience. Meandering through the shaded paths, visitors can immerse themselves in a peaceful ambience, making the market much more than just a place to shop. It’s an escape into tranquillity, where the beauty of the crafts is matched only by the serene surroundings.

What sets this market apart is the personal touch – each stall is manned by the very individuals who lovingly crafted each item. These seasoned crafters are not just sellers; they’re storytellers, eager to share their knowledge with anyone who stops for a chat. The market is also pet-friendly, complete with a Doggy Watering-Hole. The food area is a hub of relaxation, offering craft beer, coffee, and delicious eats, including treats from the local Scout troop. Live music in this area provides a soothing backdrop, making the Country Craft Market a place of community, craftsmanship, and relaxation.

Opening hours: Saturday, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm; Monday – Friday and Sunday, Closed

Address: Southey’s Vines. 186 Main Road, Somerset West.

Contact: 083 590 9197

5. Helderberg Nature Reserve

Helderberg Nature Reserve

Source: Facebook / @Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve

Nestled in the scenic embrace of Somerset West, the Helderberg Nature Reserve, established in 1960, spans 398 hectares on the southern slopes of the Helderberg mountains. Overlooking the vast expanse of False Bay and a mere 45-minute drive from Cape Town, this reserve is a sanctuary of natural beauty. Managed by the City of Cape Town, it’s a haven for lone hikers, though walking in pairs or groups is recommended. The reserve is a mosaic of diverse ecosystems, comprising Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, Boland Granite Fynbos, and Southern Afrotemperate Forest, offering visitors a glimpse into South Africa’s rich biodiversity.

The Helderberg Nature Reserve boasts a variety of trails, each offering a unique perspective of the region’s natural splendour. Trails like Leopard Loop, Woodies Walk, West Peak, The Dome, Caracal Trail, Helderberg Protea Trail, and the Leopard and Protea Loop cater to different levels of hiking enthusiasts. With well-marked paths and varying degrees of difficulty, these trails make the reserve accessible to beginners and seasoned hikers alike. The reserve, while welcoming to solitary wanderers, truly comes to life as a gathering spot for families and friends, embodying a spirit of community and shared appreciation for nature.

Visitors to the reserve can enjoy more than just hiking; it’s a place for tranquil picnics and leisurely walks, where every path leads to a discovery. The reserve’s beauty is enhanced by its warm, inviting atmosphere, where greetings are exchanged among strangers and friends alike. Approximately a 30-minute drive from Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, it’s a convenient escape into nature. Whether you’re aiming for the summit or simply seeking a peaceful nature retreat, the Helderberg Nature Reserve offers a refreshing respite from the hustle of city life, making it an essential experience for anyone visiting the Cape Town area.

Opening hours: Weekly, 7:30 am – 7:00 pm

Address: Verster Ave, Helderberg Nature Reserve, Cape Town, 7135

Contact: 021 444 9744

6. Cheetah Outreach Tour Somerset West

Source: Facebook / @Cheetah Outreach

The Cheetah Outreach Trust stands as a beacon of hope in the conservation of the free-ranging South African cheetah. In a world where cheetah populations have dwindled from an estimated 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century to just 6,700 today, the Trust’s work is more crucial than ever. Concentrating on the 500 free-ranging cheetahs in South Africa’s northern farmlands, the Trust addresses the challenges of shrinking habitats, the decline of natural prey, and conflicts with human activities. Their 20-year-long commitment to preserving the South African cheetah is a testament to their dedication and expertise in wildlife conservation.

At the core of the Cheetah Outreach Trust’s mission is the development of initiatives that reduce human-wildlife conflict. By working closely with the communities in these areas, they create sustainable solutions that benefit both the cheetahs and the local populations. Furthermore, the Trust’s educational program in the Cape Town area plays a vital role in raising public awareness. Their efforts extend beyond conservation to include enlightening future generations about the importance of preserving these magnificent creatures.

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: De Beers Ave, Firgrove, Cape Town

Contact: 082 872 4007

7. Somerset Mall

Places to Visit in Somerset West

Source: Facebook / @Somerset Mall

Somerset Mall’s recently expanded and upgraded space offers single-level access to all 204 shops, ensuring effortless browsing. Dive into the adventure arena with a double climbing wall and breathtaking views of the Helderberg mountains.

If you want to grab a bite, treat your taste buds at the international food court. Up for a film: catch a flick at the 8-screen movie complex, or embrace your competitive side at the 10-pin bowling alley and games arcade.

Just 30 minutes from Cape Town City Bowl and close to the Cape Winelands region, Somerset Mall offers a sophisticated, relaxed shopping experience. Somerset Mall is worth a relaxing day out, from major retailers to exclusive boutiques.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sunday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: Centenary Drive, Intersection of N2 & R44 Somerset West, Centenary Dr, Somerset West

Contact: 021 852 7114

8. Monkey Town Primate Centre

Monkey Town Primate Centre, situated along the N2 in Somerset West, is more than just a sanctuary for monkeys and apes; it’s a comprehensive wildlife centre. Home to over 250 primates, including 21 different exotic species such as the famous chimp sisters Tammy, Ruby, and Sunny, the centre is a haven for these fascinating creatures. Beyond primates, Monkey Town hosts a total of over 600 animals, offering visitors a diverse and enriching experience with wildlife. This centre serves as a crucial educational platform, raising awareness about the myriad species that share our planet.

The unique design of Monkey Town allows for an immersive experience. Visitors traverse caged walkways, providing an unobstructed view while the monkeys and apes roam freely outside. This design ensures a safe and respectful interaction between humans and animals, allowing for natural observation. It’s an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts, with countless opportunities to capture memorable moments. Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences and photos on the centre’s Facebook page, further fostering a community of wildlife lovers and advocates.

Opening hours: Weekly, 08:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: Mondeor Rd (Off N2 highway towards Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130

Contact: 021 858 1060

9. Helderberg Farm: Strawberry Picking Up

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Helderberg Farm, a renowned name since the early 1960s in the world of strawberry cultivation, offers a delightful strawberry-picking experience. Known for its sweet and delicious strawberries, the farm employs mainly organic fertilizers and biological pest control methods, minimizing chemical use to safeguard the quality and natural flavour of its produce. This commitment to organic farming has enabled Helderberg Farm to produce fresh, sweet, and juicy strawberries throughout most of the year. Additionally, they offer second-grade strawberries, perfect for jam-making, baking, and other culinary uses, available seasonally.

The strawberry picking season at Helderberg Farm, typically from October to November, is a much-anticipated event each year, subject to weather conditions. To ensure a personalized and enjoyable experience, booking is essential for all visitors. It’s important to note that strawberry picking is closed on Sundays, and no eating is allowed in the picking fields. The farm offers two-time slots for picking – 10 am and 3 pm, allowing visitors to choose a time that best suits their schedule. Each picker pays an entrance fee, and an additional cost is charged for a punnet of strawberries, promising a rewarding experience of harvesting your fruit.

Besides the picking experience, Helderberg Farm also sells fresh strawberries at their Tea Garden, allowing visitors to take home the taste of their farm-fresh produce. For those unable to partake in the picking, this is a great opportunity to enjoy the farm’s strawberries. Contacting the farm is easy, with details available for those who wish to inquire further or make reservations. Whether it’s for picking, purchasing fresh strawberries, or enjoying their delicious strawberry jam, Helderberg Farm in Somerset West is a destination for all strawberry lovers.

Opening hours: Weekly, 08:00 am – 05:00 pm

Address: Klein Helderberg Road off, R44, Somerset West, Raithby, 7130

Contact: 021 855 4308

10. The Playhouse Theatre

The Playhouse Theatre, nestled in the heart of Somerset West, serves as the proud home of the Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society. Renowned as one of the oldest community theatre organizations in the Western Cape, and arguably the largest arts platform in the Helderberg basin, it stands as a beacon of cultural vibrancy.

This non-profit establishment, fueled by a deep passion for community engagement and the arts, has garnered acclaim for producing a wide array of quality shows across various genres. Situated at the corner of Lourensford and Swalle Streets, the theatre, constructed by the HHDS members, is a symbol of the community’s dedication to preserving and promoting the performing arts.

Opening hours: Weekly, 08:00 am – 5:00 pm

Address: Mondeor Rd (Off N2 highway towards Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130

Contact: 021 858 1060

Also read: 7 Places on Earth to Visit That Don’t Feel Real

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