Somerset West

Hottentots Holland mountains with winter snow

Somerset West is a city in the Cape Winelands of South Africa. It is a suburb of the metropole of greater Cape Town, and is administrated by the City Council of Cape Town. Somerset West is mostly a relatively up-market residential district, but the commercial and industrial ereas of the city and surrounds have grown in recent years in proportion to the number of inhabitants. An economically significant number of the home-owners of Somerset West are the so-called "swallows", commonly citizens of a European country who keep a second (or third) home in South Africa and migrate with the seasons. As a result, a number of businesses cater for the shopping requirements of these occasional inhabitants, and house prices in some areas are relatively high.

Get in

By car

From Cape Town, follow the N2 east and take exit 43 (R44 Somerset West/Strand/Stellenbosch).

From Stellenbosch, follow the R44 south.

By train

Metro-rail from Cape Town to Strand stops at Somerset West station.

By air

Commercial flights to Cape Town International airport, about 30 minutes from somerset west by car. There is no scheduled public surface transport on this route, but there are taxi shuttle services at about R300.00

By light aircraft to Stellenbosch airfield, about 20 minutes from Somerset West, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch.

Get around

There is no public transport to speak of other than minibus taxis. Most of the town is amenable to cycling, but you need your own bicycle, and there isn't really anywhere to go in the urban area.


Go wild


Scuba diving

There are a large number of dive sites within day-tripping distance on the Cape Peninsula and False Bay coasts. Dive shops and charter boat operators in the Strand and Gordon's Bay on the east side of False Bay are the nearest, and operate mostly from Gordon's Bay to Rooi-els.

Wine related

The Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West.


Somerset Mall is the biggest shopping area of the district. Most classes of consumer goods are available within easy walking distance of the large parking area, at the cost of probably higher prices than in the older commercial area of Somerset West, where parking is more of a problem. Large covered mall with restaurants, supermarkets and the full catastrophe of boutiques for fashionware, sports equipment, computer and communications hardware, etc.

In the central commercial part of Somerset west there are also an adequate range of similar outlets, but spread over a larger area.

One of the more convenient, with its own parking area and a small cluster of shops, is Lion's Square. The anchor tenant is the Lion's Square Spar supermarket, which is a relatively small, but upmarket supermarket with in-house bakery, delicatessen and coffee shop. The same building houses a restaurant, IT shop, laundry, pharmacy, and a few clothing boutiques.






The urban areas of Somerset West and Strand are contiguous, and there is often confusion as to where the boundary lies. For most practical purposes this is only important when using the telephone directory, as some subscribers are listed in the wrong area. If in doubt, try both.

Go next

There is not a great deal for the visitor to do in Somerset West except eat, sleep and generally reside. Social activities tend to centre on a few sports and home-based entertainment. For other activities the inhabitants generally go somewhere else.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, August 28, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.