Somerset West Travel Information:
West is a town in the Western Cape province in the
Republic of South Africa. It is situated in the Hottentots
Holland area, about 50km to the southeast of Cape Town,
the area's capital. It was named after an English governor
of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry
Somerset, with the suffix 'West' being added to differentiate
it from Somerset East, another South African town in the
In the 1960s, the AECI factory between Somerset West
and Strand was the second largest dynamite factory in
the world. Today the town boasts the largest concentration
of millionaire residents in the country.
The town also boasts the wine farm of Vergelegen, a beautiful
18th century farmhouse built in the historic Cape Dutch
style and which now produces some of South Africa's best
Somerset West lies within easy reach of several beautiful
beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean and lying within
False Bay. The Strand beach being the nearest, approximately
6 kms from the centre of the town, is popular with those
having young children, as is Gordon's Bay, a quaint village
complete with harbour and other innocent attractions.
The village (now a town) is overlooked by the imposing
Helderberg Mountain, a part of the Hottentots Holland
range of mountains but clearly distinct from the continuous
aspect of its contemporaries.
Located between Somerset West and Strand is Somerset
Mall, a large shopping Mall with a large variety of high
quality shops, restaurants and various retails outlets.
The old town of Stellenbosch, founded by the Dutch in
the 17th century is reached from Somerset West by the
R44 road that takes the traveller through the magnificent
scenery of this part of the world. Wine farms dot the
route as well as vegetable and fruit growing fields and
mountains drowse in the background.