The great town of Somerset West

Somerset West History

The great town of Somerset West

By Swest | Images by Infinite Focus - Photography

A town encircled by exquisite mountains and hills covered in vineyards, with views of the nearby ocean, sandy beaches, this is Swest, (Somerset West for purists). It is a veritable paradise for all who appreciate scenic beauty, wine and fruit, decadent cuisine, hospitality, good taste and sense of history.


Somerset West was named after the British Governor, Lord Charles Somerset, in 1819. In 1817, four farmers who owned different parts of Vergelegen (meaning roughly "remote") in Somerset West, asked the governor's permission to build a church around which a village would be established. Permission was granted and the Somerset village was born. It later became Somerset West (1850), to prevent confusion with another town South African town Somerset East.


Somerset West has expanded greatly over the past decade, yet its splendour remains intact. The town is more industrious than ever and has become the commercial and residential capital of the Helderberg Basin.

Quaint buildings in side streets are delightful features of our historic town filled with delightful boutiques offering wine, flowers, chocolates, books, fabrics, jewellery, antiques - anything you find essential and everything you require for afternoon's diversion. There are historic buildings and monuments (the first church built is still in use and so does its now "pastorie" or parsonage.


Somerset West enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate. Winter can be unpredictable since its rainy periods are often interjected with many sunny days. Somerset West summers are dry and hot tempered by soothing sea breezes. Spring and Autumn are idyllic, with mild days and warm evenings.


Somerset West offers excellent educational institutions from pre-school to tertiary level. As a holiday destination it is superb: close to all the famous attractions that make the Cape one of the top 3 holiday destinations in the World. Somerset West caters for sport lovers with golf courses, sport clubs (soccer, croquet, bowls, squash, tennis, cricket, hockey, pistol shooting, golf driving range) as well as establishments offering horse rides, cycling, running, mountain biking, hiking. Then there is ballroom dancing, modern dancing, ballet, yoga, pilates, martial arts, painting, drawing and even acting. Or perhaps a quiet walk in Helderberg nature Reserve is exactly what you need? The list of activities grow daily!

Find out more about the Demographic Profile, Employment Profile, Housing Profile and Service Profile of Somerset West compiled by the City of Cape Town in the 2001 Census. Click here for more information.

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Whether you have lived in Somerset West for years, have just moved here, are visiting or just passing by: take time to explore this town!

With a mountain and nature reserve on our doorstop we have reason to be both grateful and proud - and that we are!

Spoilt for choice! Spend your day exploring the numerous wine farms, tasting award winning wines and indulging in dining excellence.

The choice is yours for an enjoyable day on the fairways and greens of Somerset West.

The Playhouse theatre plays host to top class productions including national and local shows of both drama and dance.

Enjoy a day of family fun amongst monkeys, birds and other farmyard animals.


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