Tag Archives: somerset west

A Jump4Joy Emily Birthday Party in Somerset West (2020-02-29) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 30 APR 2020

As a lot of parents with young kids will know, having a child whose birthday falls within the school holidays inevitably means never throwing the big birthday party on their actual birthday – case in point our dear Emily, who turned six on January 13 but who had to wait all the way to the end of February to enjoy her big birthday bash!

To be fair, our reasoning was rock solid with this one. Seeing as Emily was starting out fresh with Grade R at Gordon’s Bay Primary School this year, Chantelle wanted to give her a little time to first make some friends so that we could invite kids from her class to the party. This approach paid off handsomely, resulting in a very successful llama themed party populated by a host of her new friends!

As for the venue, we picked the Somerset West branch of Jump4Joy, an indoor trampoline park tucked away in Somerset West’s industrial area which, although lacking the polish of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs’ offerings like Rush and be.UP, had everything we needed in terms of space and entertainment for the young ones.

Chantelle donned her Helderberg Cake Company cap and went all out in making a host of llama themed delights (we’re talking a smorgasbord of delightfully decorated cake, cookies, doughnuts and cake pops here), and the kids had an absolute blast bouncing around and getting rid of all their energy. In other words, total success! :)

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2019-12-31) Photo Gallery 25 APR 2020

So with the 2016, 2017 and 2018 image dump posts of all the photos which aren’t linked to a blog post now sitting all safe and sound with my web host, I guess that I need to add the 2019 batch as well, seeing as we are now well and truly into 2020. (Also, sorry for not doing one of my annual Goodbye Hello posts at the start of this year – honestly they’ve become a little too routine to continue for now).

This particular selection features first days, sport, concerts and voting at Gordon’s Bay Primary School, Mark Haze at Die Boer in Durbanville, a turn at Home Affairs in Somerset West, the view from my office in Westlake, Ocean Basket’s Harbour Island View in Gordon’s Bay, the solar panel parking and delicious green curry from Wang Thai at The Sanctuary in Somerset West, wine and cheese tasting at Steenberg Vineyards, planes at the Stellenbosch Flying Club airstrip, views from Somerset Mall and the Helderberg Shopping Centre of all places, a Somerset West night time Christmas market, walks along the Lourens River, strolls along the Strand beach promenade, and of course scenes from our home here in beautiful little Gordon’s Bay.

Plus Belgian waffles – because those things are of course delightful.

Hunting for Proteas at the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West (2019-07-27) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 08 APR 2020

Sometimes it just doesn’t work. I can’t convince, bribe or coerce my wife or either of my girls to head out for a walk with me. Mind you, not that it bothers me in the slightest – it is their loss after all and in any event, it just gives me an even greater opportunity to randomly stop and take a picture or three!

Residents of Somerset West are really fortunate to have a very nice, accessible and well run City of Cape Town managed and operated (with support from the local Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve NPO) nature reserve right on their doorstep in the form of the Helderberg Nature Reserve.

Situated on the southern slopes of the Helderberg mountains (the peaks of which remain under the protection of Cape Nature), the Helderberg Nature Reserve originally came to be as a wildflower garden (and to protect the water resources in Somerset West) in 1960, following a period of lobbying by the local Rotary Club of Somerset West. Since then the area has morphed into a proper nature reserve with the now 402-hectare reserve protecting a swathe of Swartland shale renosterveld, Kogelberg sandstone fynbos, Cape Winelands shale fynbos and Southern afro-temperate forest pockets.

The lower reaches of the park is home to large tree shaded lawns, popular with families and perfect for the hosting of picnics, birthday parties and the occasional music concert, as well a small coffee shop and the Maskew Miller Educational/Visitors Centre. As you would expect, there are walking and hiking paths scattered around the reserve, catering to nature lovers of all fitness levels (and particularly popular with those who like jogging up mountains for exercise).

Surrounded by all manner protea species and birds galore, there is tranquility, majestic mountain landscapes and a sweeping view over False Bay below – what more could one looking for a break from suburban living possibly still need?

Walking the Girls at Radloff Park in Somerset West (2019-07-21) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 31 MAR 2020

Somerset West is scenically a beautiful space. Lying in the Helderberg Basin, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, and squeezed in between the Cape Winelands and False Bay, Somerset West is somewhat our local answer to Cape Town’s leafy suburb of Constantia. A good way to experience a bit of this suburban green space is with a walk out in Radloff Park.

The park, with its wide open space, grass fields, tree-shaded paths, and refreshing river water (it lies on the banks of the Lourens River), is an especially big hit with dog lovers – so much so that locally the site is pretty much known as the Radloff Dog Park. In other words, expect a LOT of dogs on your visit!

A number of sporting codes also call this greenbelt home, including the local cricket, croquet, squash, and baseball clubs, with even a small skateboarding park (for those less interested in playing with balls) tacked on as well.

Dogs and sporting code fields aside though, the area is green, tranquil, full of trees, teeming with bird life, and comes with amazing views and a lazy river walk to boot. The perfect spot for a family picnic outing then, or in my case, something to do with the girls!

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2018-12-31) Photo Gallery 29 MAR 2020

With 2016 and 2017’s photo dumps already up, I now continue making a dent into the large “Unposted Photos” folder on my desktop with 2018’s batch. These are all (well mostly) photos snapped as we go about life in the Helderberg basin (Somerset West, Strand and our home town Gordon’s Bay) which simply didn’t have enough of a set to collect into (or warrant) a blog post of their own.

That said, these random life event photos are all important to me and a keepsake of a life well lived (and enjoyed), and as such posting them here is a way to safeguard their existence – after all, my laptop and its hard drive is now very old, and my ADSL isn’t nearly good enough to upload the full sized files to the cloud.

Anyway, as you can see for yourself, the Helderberg (and for that part the Western Cape itself) really isn’t a bad place to be able to call home:

Jessica Jamming Art for her Birthday in Somerset West (2019-11-16) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 20 DEC 2019

Jessica turned 9 this year and we decided to celebrate this birthday by allowing her to invite some of her school friends over for a bit of a tropical themed birthday cake bash, followed by a paint session at the newly opened Artjamming Somerset West.

As always the incredible Helderberg Cake Company (i.e. Chantelle) went all out with the tropical themed biscuit and cake decadence, and after a flurry of excitement from a gaggle of girls in Lei garlands at Country Mews, we piled everyone into our cars and headed off to Bright Street in order to get all the girls jamming some art.

Chantelle had pre-selected the painting for the day (a tropical themed toucan naturally), and with a bubbly young instructor heading things up, Emily and I then left the group (to go do some LEGO shopping) so that the tweenagers could get their paint on (hopefully mostly on the canvas).

Great, colourful fun was had by everyone, with pretty much all particularly proud of their toucan productions. Definitely a great birthday outing idea!

Following that Saturday of fun, we next hosted a big birthday pizza day at Monty and Cheryl’s house for the family, complete with jumping castle and of course even more cake!

Lunch and a Stroll at The Lake House Restaurant in Somerset West (2019-06-02 ) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 25 NOV 2019

There is quite a number of housing estates rising up in and around the Helderberg area, with a lot them sitting quite squarely on the VERY nice side of things. One of our favourites is Somerset Lakes, built on a beautiful piece of elevated land that gives a great view of both the Hottentots Holland mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, with a birdlife-rich lake serving as the estate’s sparkling centrepiece.

As luck would have it, the estate happens to contain a wonderful restaurant known simply as the Lake House Restaurant which is housed in Somerset Lakes’ club house area. The restaurant feels light and airy, offers a fantastic view over the lake, and is home to some particularly delicious dishes – from divine thin based pizzas to freshly prepared steaks and even a lamb bunny chow.

Although no longer really encouraged, the estate does make for a great place to wander about, and if after a stroll around the lake you duck into the grove of pine trees just across the road from the restaurant, you will be delighted to find some rather unexpected child friendly entertainment.

The restaurant is certainly one of those hidden delights and well worth a visit if you ever find yourself looking for somewhere spacious to spend a relaxed afternoon with glass in the hand and without having to first drive out all the way to the winelands.

Craft Beer at Triggerfish Brewing in Paardevlei, Somerset West (2019-04-09) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 21 OCT 2019

The guys at Triggerfish Brewing started brewing commercially in 2010, making them the second oldest craft brewery still brewing in the greater Cape Town area. That said, they are also so tucked away that unless you know about it, you’ll probably never stumble into them either!

Situated in an old factory building deep at the back of Paardevlei (an old forgotten industrial area which is currently undergoing a massive revitalization with a hospital, houses, apartment blocks, and office space all popping up at a rapid pace (the sculptures and vlei are my favourite bits), the brewing operation is also home to a tap room, restaurant, and small live-music/event space. (Plus a small pottery studio of all things).

Popular with locals in search of a removed from the city bustle Friday night beer, Triggerfish also makes for a quirky lunch spot, with the particularly nice bonus of being able to phone in your order beforehand (if your lunch hour is say a bit on the short side), allowing you to stroll in and sit down to food that has just been made – which then is exactly what Chantelle and I took advantage of one afternoon in April.

Surprisingly, the food is actually really good, well presented, and much better than what the scribbled walls, dimly lit, and slightly falling apart building would indicate! So very much like another favourite of ours Im Eimer, where first impressions really do mask a particularly nice food experience!

Also, the craft beer is fantastic.

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Nature Walk around Paardevlei in Somerset West (2019-04-06) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 17 OCT 2019

All the newly developed houses, apartment blocks and office spaces are now quickly springing up all around Paardevlei, but pleasingly the nature walk that takes you around the vlei is still open to the public – and if you know about it, then you have another great stretch your legs kind of place to add to the local list.

Seeing as this particularly shallow vlei relies almost entirely on rain and ground water for its supply, this year’s decently wet winter means that the vlei is again sparkling blue, and is once more brought back to life by the cacophony of bird life that has returned to its wetland charms.

With neither Chantelle nor the girls keen on joining me for a healthy walk on this particular day, I had the excuse to leisurely walk as far as what I wanted (for those who keep track of things like that, it is more or less 3 km of path if you go right around), to go as slow as what I wanted, and to stop and take as many photos as what I wanted.

Which I then did.

I also strolled about the business area a bit, taking in all the beautiful sculpture work on display. As one does in such pretty surroundings of course!

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