Tag Archives: somerset west

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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Walking alongside Dogs at Radloff Park in Somerset West (2019-05-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 OCT 2019

Lying in the Helderberg Basin, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, and squeezed in between the Cape Winelands and False Bay, Somerset West is naturally a beautiful space. A great way to get a taste of its natural splendour is by heading over to the green grass of Radloff Park and indulging in a lazy stroll along the banks of the Lourens River.

A number of sporting codes call this greenbelt home, including the local cricket, croquet, squash, and baseball clubs, and there is even a small skateboarding park for those less interested in playing with balls.

The park with its wide open space, grass fields, tree-shaded paths, and refreshing river water is an especially big hit with dog lovers – so much so that locally the site is pretty much exclusively referred to as the Radloff Dog Park. (Basically, go there expecting to come home with at least one big slobbery wet kiss and a butt sniff under your belt.)

Dogs and sporting code fields aside though, the area is green, tranquil, full of trees, teeming with bird life, and comes with amazing views combined with a lazy river walk to enjoy. In other words, impossible not to recommend!

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Food and Crafts at Lourensford Market in Somerset West (2018-12-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 JUL 2019

I do think that it is impossible not to love the Lourensford Market experience. Situated on the gloriously scenic (and historic) Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, everything about a visit to this well run (and well supported) market screams class, from the well maintained estate, manicured gardens, and exquisite sculptures, all the way through to its excellent vendor space.

The traders themselves are a wonderfully diverse lot, with delicacies from all around the world on offer, some good wine, beer and ciders available, and loads of sweet treats wherever you look, all mixed in with a creative mishmash of art, clothing and craft stalls. (And on this particular visit, even a 3D Printing booth).

The live music and excited vibe completes the experience, and as if all of that isn’t enough, then there is still the rest of experiences of the estate itself on offer – wine tasting, a coffee shop or two, art galleries, clay pigeon shooting, and thanks to the recent(ish) introduction of the MOTOR Studio, even vintage cars on display!

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Hiking and Picnics at the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West (2017-10-21) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 MAR 2019

At the top of Somerset West, situated on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, and overlooking False Bay, you’ll find the Helderberg Nature Reserve, a City of Cape Town owned and managed nature reserve.

Pushed by the Rotary Club of Somerset West, the Helderberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed as a wildflower garden (and to protect water resources in Somerset West) in 1960, but over time 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 lawns, popular with families 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.

Then there are of course all the walking and hiking paths scattered around the reserve, catering to nature lovers of all fitness levels. So as you would expect, there are plenty of beautiful examples of fynbos flowers to admire and even more superb views to take in – unless of course your children have pinned you down to the lawns and you’ve been forced to nap in the shade of one of the many massive trees overlooking the picnic space.

A terrible proposition, I know… ;)

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