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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Somerset West

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At the base of the Hottentots Holland Mountain and forming part of the Winelands, local and international homeowners treasure this Mediterranean Cape lifestyle

Warm seas and a Mediterranean climate which produces exceptional cultivars within the lush wine-growing valleys of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, sees neighbouring Somerset West well-positioned on the residential map for local and international homeowners wanting to enjoy the Cape lifestyle. 

Forming part of the Cape Winelands, and set at the foot of the majestic Hottentots Holland Mountain range, Somerset West is adjacent to Cape Town International Airport and Blue Flag beaches.
Knight Frank South Africa chairperson Anne Porter says: “Somerset West offers a pristine Cape lifestyle in a country setting with homes to suit everyone’s budget.”

“We are seeing price points begin at an affordable entry level for first-time buyers, but still catering to luxury lifestyles. At the top end of the market, properties are selling for around R35 million. Somerset West is a huge attraction across the board for buyers preferring to live outside the city and happy with the accessibility of the Kuilsriver corridor. The whole region offers a well-developed road system and access advantages across the region.”
Techno Park, situated halfway between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, offers easy entry to A-grade office space and a growing technology hub in beautiful surroundings. It also links easily to Stellenbosch’s new industrial area and the R300 thoroughfare to Bellville and Durbanville, not impacted by city congestion.
Families who enjoy living a suburban community lifestyle are well catered to with 26 schools. These include the prestigious Somerset College (offering boarding facilities), Somerset House, the private Curo Sitari Independent School, two Reddam schools, the Newberry House Montessori Primary and several excellent state schools.
Somerset West is a huge attraction across the board for buyers preferring to live outside
the city and happy with the accessibility of the Kuilsriver corridor. – Knight Frank South Africa Chairperson Annie Porter
Picture: Supplied

It is close enough for students to commute to Stellenbosch University. Older members of the nuclear family can still maintain independence with comfortable and secure retirement living opportunities at facilities such as Helderberg Village and security estates such as De Zalze and Erinvale with its Gary Player-designed golf course.
The Waterstone Village and Somerset Mall are popular with shoppers who enjoy upmarket brands and entertainment along with a variety of trendy restaurants, including the 2018 Eat Out Restaurant Award winner, The Restaurant at Waterkloof Wines.
The entrance to Sanctuary Mall in Somerset West, which offers a unique shopping experience. Picture: David Harrison

Long-time resident and new mother Berné van Zyl, group accountant for Airports Company SA, believes Somerset West offers a unique package.
“Its proximity to Cape Town provides easy access if you’re looking for the bright lights, but it’s the family ambience and scope of activities on offer on our doorstep which makes it such a delightful place in which to live. You’ve got a Blue Flag beach on your doorstep, the most magnificent mountains a short ride or walk away, and food and drink offerings are excellent.” 

Berne van Zyl’s favourite places and things to do
I have travelled around South Africa and I honestly feel Somerset West has the best offering possible: easy access to the Mother City, beautiful beaches close by, a variety of outstanding eating establishments and bountiful recreational opportunities for a family growing up. – Berne van Zyl, resident Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors
One of the most family-friendly recreational areas in the region is the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Situated on the southern slopes of the Helderberg mountains, the 398ha reserve offers numerous walking trails and idyllic picnic sites – no open flames allowed – consisting mainly of Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos.
There is an early riser key which friends of the reserve can buy for access in the cool of the early mornings. 021851 4060. Bikini Beach, named after university students who throng to this sheltered enclave, enjoys Blue Flag status, meaning it is certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education, meeting stringent standards. The beaches are child-friendly and ideal for long walks.

2 Eat

A top-10 finisher for three years in a row, The Restaurant at Waterkloof was selected as South Africa’s Best Restaurant in the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes Benz Restaurant Awards.

In 2019 executive chef Gregory Czarnecki was named South Africa’s Best Chef. The biodynamic ethos of the farm permeates the food and the wines. This is one of the most spectacular restaurant settings in the entire region. 021 858 1491.

Chocolate and wine at Lourensford, where a blind pairing is a challenge. Picture: Supplied

3 Drink

Thirsty Scarecrow offers 55 local craft and international beers on tap, 30-plus gins, and the largest selection of non-alcoholic spirits in Africa. You can sip a strawberry-based cocktail while enjoying a beer base pizza. 021 881 3444.

On the wine front there are many estates, but those on the Schapenberg Wine Route benefit from the cool Atlantic sea breeze suitable for certain cultivars. A must-visit is Lourensford. Nestled in the basin of the Helderberg Mountains, its scenic splendour is matched by world-class wines. The winery offers tastings, including a Belgian chocolate and wine pairing and blind tasting challenge. 021 847 2300.

4 Shop

Arguably one of the most scenic shopping centres in the region, The Sanctuary is fast becoming a favourite in the greater Somerset West precinct. There is a range of shops offering beauty, fitness, convenience and great selection of restaurants. Visitors get 250mb free wi-fi daily and 90 minutes free undercover parking. 021 492 3877.

If you’re looking for something unique, Chelsea Village is for you. Located in the heart of Somerset West, on bustling Bright Street, it offers a tranquil garden environment in which to meander and be inspired. There are also eateries in which to relax after a retail therapy session. 021 852 5738.

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