Somerset West at a glance
As the story goes……….The piece of land known today as Somerset West was bought from local people and it was turned into a cattle post by the Dutch soldiers in 1672 – it was developed around the Lourens River (originally "Tweederivier", which means "Second River"; "Eersterivier", meaning "First River" passes through Stellenbosch, some 16 km to the north) and the farm of Vergelegen – its Dutch meaning ‘remotely situated’, an 18th-century farmhouse built in the historic Cape Dutch style by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, governor of the Cape and son of Simon van der Stel, who gave his name to the nearby town of Stellenbosch. Willem Adriaan was later sent back to Holland after being charged with corruption and cruelty towards local Dutch farmers. The farm 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. The farm is open to tourists.
Somerset West was founded in 1822 on part of the historic farm, Vergelegen. The town was named Somerset after an English governor of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry Somerset, with the suffix 'West' being added after 1825 to differentiate it from Somerset East, 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.
In the 1960s, the AECI factory between Somerset West and Strand was the second largest dynamite factory in the world.
The Helderberg District lies at the foothills of the Hottentot Holland and Helderberg Mountains.
This majestic landscape is dramatic and enchanting and the residents of Somerset West, Strand and Gordons Bay would not have it any other way. No matter where you may find yourself the vista of land, sea and valley is equally breath taking. A stone’s throw from our Winelands neighbour – the beautiful Stellenbosch; Somerset West finds herself positioned over sloping hills and in low lying valleys. Every road or lane will take you through beautiful suburbs, landscaped sidewalks and solid proud homes sheltered by giant Blue-Gums and then some. A mere 30 minute drive to the Mother City; Somerset West is the perfect investment as it affords you a quality lifestyle surrounded by the spectacular beauty of nature. Her equally charming neighbours Strand and Gordons Bay lie between the Helderberg coastline and the majestic Sir Lowry’s Pass. Equally irresistible must be the endless list of things to do in the Helderberg Region whether you are on your own of spending time with family and friends; time out has never been more rejuvenating. There is something for everyone out here and you could not ask for a better backdrop – so hop on the Bus Gus and start living!!