T H E S OM E R S E T W E S T
J O U R N A L T H E O F F I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F S O M E R S E T L A K E S A D V E N T U R E L I F E S T Y L E E S TAT E
Explore the winding trails of the Helderberg Mountain Reserve with our handy hiking guide
Entrepreneur Stephanie Bentum does wonders with wool at Krafthaus
Summer is here!
Somerset West gets its own song from the award-winning Afrikaans band, Spoegwolf
The Paardevlei Farmers’ Market has bountiful offerings that are perfect for the culinary inclined
LIVE THE ADVENTURE LIFESTYLE IN SOMERSET WEST
All about Somerset West’s dramatic beginnings at the picturesque Vergelegen Estate
Where slick meets rustic, a living space designed and decorated with a modern touch
Investing in education pays off when purchasing a home near a school
Somerset West offers easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Cape
Adventure / Dining / Lifestyle / Business / Culture / Education / Exploring
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At Reddam House Somerset with the purchase of property at Somerset Lakes*
from R1.67-R6.6m NO TRANSFER DUTY and VAT INCLUDED Contact our sales office today on 021 202 2200
*The following T&Cs apply: 1. The commencement date for the promotion is 1 October 2016. 2. The developer reserves the right to vary or cancel the offer at any time. 3. The offer only applies to the school. 4. The offer is subject to the availability of positions for learners at the school. 5. The offer only applies to purchasers who purchase a new property from the developer after the commencement date of the promotion in Somerset Lakes and not to any second hand sale or sales by any other seller entity as the developer. 6. The offer/opportunity available to an owner/purchaser to take up a scholarship will only become valid upon the fulfilment of all the suspensive conditions contained in the agreement of sale of the property and the registration of transfer of the property from the developer to the purchaser. 7. The aforesaid offer/opportunity will expire on a date determined by the developer and has to be taken up by the purchaser/owner within one calendar year following the date of registration of transfer of the property in favour of the purchaser/owner. 8. The offer is subject to the standard conditions for admission of learners applied by the school when considering applications by prospective pupils to attend the school. 9. The offer is not transferable or exchangeable for cash. 10. The offer may be varied by the developer to accommodate a combination of one or more pupils of different ages up to a monetary ceiling determined by the developer. 10. The offer is limited to an amount that will not exceed a single yearâ€™s tuition fees.
Issue 01 2016
04 CRAFT Inspiring entrepreneur Stephanie Bentum brings innovation to wool with her textile brand Krafthaus. 05 MARKETS We talk to Elsje Schoeman, the founder of Somerset West’s Paardevlei Farmers’ Market, to find out her winning recipe.
06 EATING OUT Somerset West’s restaurant culture is booming; here we focus on a few of our favourites.
Art in all its forms thrives in Somerset West: from music to film, fine arts to photography, creativity is everywhere.
20 EVENTS CALENDAR Our guide to what’s happening in the Winelands region.
to The Somerset West Journal, a new lifestyle publication for Somerset West and surrounds Somerset West often doesn’t get the credit it is due. Because of its distance from Cape Town, the town might seem remote. But today, Somerset West is a vibrant part of the Cape Winelands, and remains at the heart of what makes the Western Cape an appealing destination.
This publication was inspired by a new development on the edge of this scenic town, Somerset Lakes, an estate that embodies the easy-going, outdoorsy and adventurous soul of the city. To explore this, we have devoted several sections to the outdoors and the region’s many activities.
From fine arts to refined dining, Somerset West offers myriad pleasant distractions for visitors. This scenic community was also key to the beginnings of the Western Cape, a history we recount in our main feature.
We hope that this first issue of The Somerset West Journal inspires locals and visitors alike to explore the hidden charms of the Somerset West region. Enjoy!
Features 08 WINELANDS
10 OUTDOORS Exploring the Helderberg offers plentiful natural rewards. A helpful guide to hiking in the area.
Lifestyle 12 SOMERSET LAKES This serene estate in Somerset West is perfect for secure family living. See what the lifestyle here is all about.
14 DÉCOR Transform your kitchen and living area into tranquil havens with these essential items.
16 ADVENTURE Discover the best places and the most exciting ways to get your adrenaline fix in the Helderberg region.
18 EDUCATION Why you should consider investing in you and your children’s future in Somerset West.
The Somerset West Journal was conceptualised, written and designed by creative communications agency PURE.
EDITOR Jessica Gliddon firstname.lastname@example.org
ILLUSTRATOR Eva Faerch
A highlight of the seaside wonders of False Bay’s beaches.
Eeden la Grange
Somerset West was the western outpost of the Cape settlement’s insatiable ambitions. We dig into the history of the town’s beginnings.
www.somersetlakes.co.za Jan Minnie
SALES MANAGER email@example.com 082 444 3433
SALES AGENT firstname.lastname@example.org 082 923 7107
SOMERSET LAKES SALES OFFICE email@example.com 021 202 2200
For business enquiries or article contributions, please visit www.purepublishing.co.za, call (021) 424 6918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The Somerset West Journal is distributed quarterly and is available on request (reception@somersetlakes. co.za) or online at www.somersetlakes.co.za. All information was correct at the time of going to press, but subject to change. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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I have always preferred to work with mostly natural fibres and wool is probably the best choice interpretation into contemporary design. I also find strong African colours and motifs inspiring.
Why are you located in Somerset West? How has the area influenced your creativity? [My husband] Pieter and I designed and built our home here in 2000 to be near his office. We created a home studio for me to work from. We love living here. It’s only half-an-hour’s drive from Cape Town, yet we are surrounded by mountains, beautiful flowers and abundant birdlife.
Where do you see Krafthaus going in the next couple of years?
Q&A with Stephanie Bentum from
in a 200-litre pot, washed and again rolled by hand. We also use natural dyes to colour some of it. After a design concept has been developed and tested, the handfelting process starts.
What techniques do you use at Krafthaus? What is special about South African merino lambswool?
A child of the Karoo, Stephanie Bentum was influenced by her creative mother, who taught her how to knit, sew, crochet and paint on textiles, how to do macramé and batik, and how to spin and weave. Today, she is the founder of Krafthaus in Somerset West, where she produces unique hand-felted items, made from a diverse range of textiles, namely merino wool, mohair and alpaca. Could you tell us a bit about your journey into the textile industry? Wool has always been a huge part of my life. My father received his doctorate degree in the Netherlands in the early 1960s, specialising in quality wool breeds, and I used to accompany him on research visits to various sheep farms. After matriculation, I trained as a ballerina at the UCT School of Dance, but opted
instead to pursue my passion for theatrical costumes and fashion. I started off working at different clothing factories, which led me to interior design. With the passing of both my parents in 2006, I believe it was a genetic recall that pulled me back into the ‘sheep kraal’ as I started experimenting with wool and felting in particular. I launched Krafthaus at the 2009 Design Indaba Conference.
I have always preferred to work with mostly natural fibres and wool is probably the best choice in a country like South Africa. Not only is wool a completely natural fibre and locally available, but our merino wool is famous for its excellent quality. We use different types of wool, but the majority of our homeware products are made from merino lambswool due to its softness and beautiful finish.
Could you give us some insight into how you make your creations? We use clean processed or unprocessed wool, bought directly from local farmers. To start production, we arrange the wool fibres by hand. Using a custom-designed rolling machine, the wool is then rolled; boiled
We use an ancient handfelting technique. The Krafthaus name is really a play on the word, ‘Bauhaus’, which literally means ‘building house’. We import our dyes from Germany, simply because they are of excellent quality and thus ensure vibrant colour results. I often experiment with natural dyes. Goldenrods, lichen, cochineal, indigenous berries and lemon verbena all produce spectacular natural colours. Some of these I grow in my garden and others I source from my neighbourhood.
I envision Krafthaus continuing to produce unique hand-felted items and expanding on the current Veld range that is so close to my heart. We export some of our products and it would be amazing to increase our exports to Africa and the rest of the world. At the same time, I don’t want to extend the business too much as I enjoy our current pace and always want to preserve the integrity and character of the company.
From where do you draw your inspiration? I am still fascinated by the Karoo. Once an ocean and now semi-desert, this region offers a wealth of geological rock formations with endless colour and texture variations. I constantly draw inspiration from the rich beauty of this landscape while attempting to convey my
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
One year ago, Elsje Schoeman’s vision of a farmers’ market in Somerset West became a reality. Her aim: to enrich the lives of those in and around its boundaries in the Paardevlei area
Paardevlei Farmers’ Market is located in a former industrial precinct, featuring typical Sir Herbert Baker-style architecture. Some buildings date back as far as 1901, and many have been declared Provincial Heritage Sites of the Western Cape. These buildings’ character adds to the romance of the market environment, enhancing the country-fare ambiance. Prior to becoming the founder of the Paardevlei Farmers’ Market, Elsje Schoeman was ascending the corporate ladder. After
travelling the world and visiting a diverse compendium of markets, Elsje found herself drawn to its energy, the familial generosity, the feeling of homecoming and the undefinable charming atmosphere. She knew what she had to do. Her vision for a market in Somerset West was realised in an astounding space. The market is set in a convenient location, where people gather to enjoy food for its inherent nourishment and taste. It is a space for buying the best local produce and for having a marvellous day out. This Saturday morning fixture is synonymous with quality goods. Vendors like The Biltong Man; Die Biervrou from Darling Breweries; Native, with its mouth-watering chocolates; well-known coffee barista Lorenzo Marx; and Daniel, with his divine oysters,
bring a familiar feel to the market every weekend. Elsje has been fortunate in having the opportunity to truly understand a market’s DNA. “To become sustainable in the long run, you need to differentiate,” she says. “I love New York-style
continues. “Your local cheese maker or artisan bread baker speaks from the heart. You have conversations, you stay in their houses and they open their farms for you to smell the coffee early morning. It’s the same, but yet a different experience.”
I love New York-style markets. They engage, present highquality goods; there is a buzz markets. They engage, present high-quality goods; there is a buzz that you cannot describe. You keep on going back.” “In places like Tuscany, there is a totally different dynamic,” she
The Banting market stand, featuring carb-free treats. The friendly ladies of Korean Street Food. Cupcakes on offer from the market’s patisserie.
also aims to establish a close relationship with the nearby Macassar township, part of greater Paardevlei. Macassar Pottery has already successfully established a partnership here.
here is nothing quite like filling a shopping basket with mouthwatering organic produce, homemade baked goods and artisanal craft beer, while inhaling seducing aromas and humming to live music. Welcome to the farmers’ market experience.
Food trucks parked at the market.
The market’s mission is to create a communal space. Here, adults and younger people are working together to establish a small-scale food provider in the area. The market
The market has also taken hands with #unfenceSA to document the life stories of community members, young and old. Until today, Macassar has been tremendously isolated from Somerset West, being surrounded by the N2 national road, wetlands, a sand mine and a dynamite factory. By creating spaces where locals can own their history and start curating their own stories, the market is slowly building bridges of friendship across these physical fences that are keeping the people of the Helderberg basin apart. Aiming to enhance Somerset West’s under-utilised, public green spaces, Elsje hopes to create demonstration gardens for hands-on community-wide food gardening education, which will, in turn, increase access to fresh vegetables. This initiative’s ultimate goal is to serve as an educational resource for small scale organic food produce for the Somerset West/Helderberg residents, and to provide a recreational space for everyone. Essentially, Paardevlei Farmers’ Market is more than just a market. It educates and stands as a weekly must-visit space, to stock up on local foods and produce, and to enrich your life by soaking up the truly dynamic and inspiring space. about.me/FarmersMarketPaardevlei
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EATING OUT in Somerset West
interior is tastefully decorated with slick, contemporary furnishings. High ceilings are complemented by chandeliers dripping with crystals, which frame a bar featuring a giant, blue wall lined with wines.
Benguela on Main
The food is plated with similar artistry. Ribbons of vegetables, dots of sauce and sprinklings of salt adorn each plate. The cuisine offers a modern take on European fine dining with a South African flare, using seasonal local ingredients. Executive chef Jean Delport creates culinary masterpieces, bringing the full fine dining experience with multiple courses, featuring creations such as seasons of broccoli, sticky shiitake, ponzu almonds, and fromage blanc. After a meal, guests can head upstairs to the cosy wine lounge and sample the region’s finest vintages while enjoying the view.
This Somerset West branch of the Benguela Cove Lagoon and Wine Estate in Walker Bay, Hermanus, brings both the finest wines in the region and the epitome of modern fine dining to what is one of the town’s most exclusive culinary destinations. The restaurant’s modern, lavish
The Imibala Trust is one of Somerset West’s most prominent nonprofit organisations. Their primary purpose is to help disadvantaged school children, and the trust carries this out with donations, life skills classes and more. Imibala is also a brick and mortar fixture of Somerset West life, with its extensive complex on Bright Street including a restaurant, cooking school, and a retail centre with artisan shops. The Imibala Gallery provides a visual platform for contemporary South
Fred & Max Eatery
Like all good trendy eateries, Fred & Max hides away in an inconspicuous corner of town. Although it nestles in a sombre concrete structure, this fun space feels like it belongs in the Cape Town CBD, with its chic black, gold and natural wood look. This atmospheric spot is not just a café and restaurant – it’s a meeting place for creatives and an ideal space for idea-generating. Whatever your reason for visiting, you can enjoy amazing coffee from the KwaZuluNatal brand, Terbodore, and thoughtful, interesting food. For example, The Player is a marvellous mix of Mexican and European flair, combining roasted pulled-pork shoulder with apples in a tortilla, for a kind of giant taco. There is ample use of local elements, like Elgin apples, and an international fusion of flavours, from Thai beef salad to Arabic kebabs. It may be trendy, but it also has a history – uniquely, the café was named after the grandfathers of its two young founders. The eatery also has a branch in Elgin, just over Sir Lowry’s Pass.
African artists and the occasional international artist to showcase their work. “Art is for everyone,” explains curator Diane Harper. “It’s a powerful communicator, a mediator that can enhance personal growth and enable informed social engagement. At Imibala, we believe the arts can have a significant transformative impact on our lives.” The gallery is of great benefit to the community, and gives children participating in the trust’s programmes the opportunity to view established fine art. Profits from the sales of artworks are used to support the trust. Currently, the gallery is hosting an exhibition entitled ‘A Sense of Place’. It shows the work of different artists, examining our perceptions of our surroundings, and how this can have both a cultural and personal importance. The exhibition runs until 29 October. A solo exhibition featuring
Stellenbosch landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe will open 5 November 2016. www.imibala.com
di Giovanni Cucina di Giovanni is an unassuming restaurant, lying in a quiet corner of the Waterstone Village Centre, with a terrace opening up to a view of bluetinged mountains. Although located in a shopping centre, the interior has a New York vibe, with high, industrial ceilings, bare brick walls and portraits of Marilyn Monroe. This popular eatery serves a variety of Italian fare, but their pizza is truly something marvellous, with a thin, crispy crust, soft cheese and a medley of Mediterranean toppings. With a welcoming atmosphere and friendly service, it’s understandable that Giovanni’s is often rated the best place to eat in Somerset West, so expect a convivial, busy atmosphere.
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
under the stars The Galileo Open Air Cinema offers a magical experience that bonds perfectly with the Capetonian vibe, and has become synonymous with the Mother City’s summer nightlife. Owner Huenu Solsona created the event when she was inspired by a Canadian outdoor cinema in 2005. The rest is history. The romantic atmosphere, great setting and good food creates an unconventional combination, one that has had tremendous success, and the Galileo is now preparing for its fifth season. In Somerset West, Lourensford winery is often
Songs of a venue, but there is a wide variety of locations where films are screened. New venues are on the cards, as well as different food trucks and trending movies. The Galileo team is also preparing to have live music on Fridays and is launching ‘Family Sundays’ over the holidays. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
Spoegwolf The 2016/2017 Galileo summer season kicks off on 5 November at Lourensford Estate. Listings are available on the website www.thegalileo.co.za. Doors open at 17h00 on Saturdays and 16h00 on Sundays. Movies start at sunset. Tickets start from R79.
It was on a road trip to the Transkei in 2012 when lead vocalist Danie du Toit and vocalist-guitarist Chris von Wielligh came up with the idea of starting a band. Danie asked his brother Moskou to join, as well as their best friend Albert. With the help of Huisgenoot (particularly Willem Breytenbach), Spoegwolf launched in March 2012.
Why did you choose the name Spoegwolf? ‘urban degeneration’ take place. Somerset West is changing before our eyes, similar to many other towns in the Cape. I thought it interesting to start taking photos of the town, over a period of two to three years, in order to capture a specific timeline frozen in time forever. The idea of nostalgia came to mind, as this is my hometown.
Where is your favourite spot to shoot in Somerset West?
capture a moment in time that will never be repeated the same way twice intrigued me. I also enjoy the creative/technical combination of photography. It isn’t purely a creative industry, but also extremely hands-on and technical.
Main Road has various types of architecture dating from the early 1900s until now. My absolute favourite spot is Paardevlei at night. It’s an old industrial area, bordering on Somerset West and Strand. This is where I started taking most of my night photos. To a degree, this motivated me to start capturing Somerset West’s town.
Mark Grandcourt is a self-taught photographer from Somerset West. He shoots a wide variety of subjects but is particularly passionate about photographing his hometown, capturing the beauty of decaying industrial remnants and old buildings, through his uncompromising, poetic viewpoint.
How did you train to become a photographer?
What inspires you to shoot landscape shots?
I did a sabbatical year in Ireland where I shot various street scenes, mostly in Dublin, using an old-school 35mm film camera. I learnt how the camera works, so was self-taught. It was only recently that I went to college to study photography.
How long have you been doing photography, and what attracted you to it?
What draws you to photograph Somerset West’s scenery specifically?
Landscape photography, especially long exposure night photography, is a form of relaxation and meditation for me. I clear my head of all the daily humdrum activities and get time to focus on what I enjoy doing most. Getting those unseen images and bringing them to the public gives me immense satisfaction.
I would say about 16 years. The element of being able to
I was born here and with each passing season, I would notice
We chose the name for its meaninglessness. It’s an abstract word – designed to not detract from the music by adding unwanted connotations. We thought that such a name would have audiences listen to us without too much expectation. Naturally, we were mistaken.
As musicians, we must work hard to make sure that quality of music in South Africa remains something to be proud of.
How hard was it to make your second album? It was a long process, but certainly not as difficult as the first album. We have grown closer to each other as a group. Recording has become more than an occupation; it has become our obsession. It’s what we do every morning, afternoon and evening. That’s how we spend time together as friends. You can hear that some of the tracks were very obviously recorded under the influence of wine – ‘Bittermaan’ being one in particular.
What made you decide on the title of the song ‘Somerset West’? My (Danie’s) girlfriend at the time lived in Somerset West. It was a failed attempt at a love song. I was hoping to visit her on the day I wrote the song. My brother had told me that the weather in Somerset West would be good. I used it as a starting point. I never got to visit her, as we immediately recorded it.
Spoegwolf won a Ghoema Award recently. What is next for you? We are working very hard on our third album. Chris is doing brilliant work in the preproduction stage.
What do you think of today’s Afrikaans music scene? Are you proud to be part of it? We prefer not to look at Afrikaans music as a scene on its own. South African music, however, has a bright future.
The Somerset West Journal
Winelands of the West
1672 A VOC outpost is established near todayâ€™s town centre.
Willem Adriaan van der Stel builds Vergelegen.
1707 The Vergelegen property is split up.
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he Vergelegen homestead is one of the grandest structures in the Western Cape. Wandering its regal hallways, which are adorned much as they would have been in the 19th century, and marvelling at its collection of classical paintings, feels like stepping back in time. Despite its serene exterior, Vergelegen obscures a history filled with intrigue. The resplendent buildings were built in 1700 as the residence of Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the Cape’s second governor. He was not a popular leader, and had a reputation for being tyrannical and corrupt. He kept a significant number of slaves from across the Dutch East Indies, whose records are immortalised inside the building’s slave museum today. Although Van der Stel was meant to divide his time between this outpost and his duties in Cape Town, Vergelegen became his retreat, much to the annoyance of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Surprisingly, the governor was also a keen horticulturist, and extended these ambitions to the estate’s grounds. He established an unusually extensive homestead, encompassing a tannery, workshop, wine and grains stores, cattle station and grain-grinding waterwheel. His vineyards, which today make Vergelegen the oldest winery in South Africa, contained 500,000 stalks. He even planted an orchard of exotic camphor trees, of which a row of five still exist; these wide, bushy trees are now South African national monuments. The governor also used Vergelegen for personal gain, usurping the region’s farmers by secretly loading visiting ships with spoils from the Cape. In 1707, Van der Stel’s ungenerous policies led to an uprising by the local farmers, and he was sent back to the Netherlands. The unscrupulous nature of the estate’s founder must have left some residue, as Vergelegen
Issue 01 2016
continued to be a source of controversy for centuries. In 1722, a ship ran aground near Cape Agulhas called the Schonenburg, as part of a conspiracy to steal its cargo. The bounty was buried at Vergelegen in a bid to hide it, never to be recovered. Further, during the 1780s, owner David Malan caused a scandal by running off with a slave girl.
Despite its serene exterior, Vergelegen obscures a history filled with intrigue But the estate’s fortunes changed when its ownership was taken up by Sir Lionel Phillips, a British financier and politician. Phillips’ wife, Florence, was an art connoisseur and undertook Vergelegen as a personal project, refurbishing, restoring and redecorating the homestead. The grounds were manicured with fine English gardens, and the house was hung with fine art. Florence Phillips went on to become responsible for many of South Africa’s art institutions, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery. She also persuaded Sir Max Michaelis to donate his collection to the city of Cape Town and helped establish the faculty of architecture at the University of Witwatersrand. The Vergelegen homestead still boasts many artworks owned by Florence, as well as the extensive library that the couple shipped from England. The area known as Somerset West today, including Vergelegen, was established as an outpost in 1672, after it was purchased by the VOC, but the town was only formally established in 1822, when it was named after an English
1822 Somerset West is
1898 The Magistrate’s
Court is completed.
Wining and dining in Somerset West governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset. As the town grew, Vergelegen and the wineries surrounding it flourished. The estate had been split after Van der Stel’s departure, and the area that was part of the original homestead now hosts the Lourensford and Morgenster wineries. In the 1920s and ‘30s, many of Somerset West’s most notable buildings were erected, including the Town Hall and the Magistrate’s Court. Besides being a centre for a thriving farming community and the gateway to the rest of South Africa at the base of Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West became a major industrial success as the home of the second-largest dynamite factory in the world in the 1960s, the AECI factory. Vergelegen was purchased in 1987 by Anglo American Farms. Architect John Rennie
was commissioned to return the farm to its original state. The estate continued to be of great significance; the first ANC meeting after Nelson Mandela’s release was held at Vergelegen, and the homestead was also visited by the Queen of England and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Vergelegen remains one of the most luxurious and intriguing wineries in South Africa, and a proud cornerstone to the creation of Somerset West, a town that remains one of the most storied in the Western Cape.
Florence was an art connoisseur and undertook Vergelegen as a personal project
The handful of wineries that nudge up against the Helderberg mountains offer some of the region’s best culinary adventures, in addition to fine wines. Two of the most beloved are former satellites of Vergelegen: Morgenster and Lourensford. Morgenster was given to Jacques Malan of Piedmont, Italy in the 18th century. Almost 300 years later, another Piedmontese immigrant, Giulio Bertrand, bought the estate. Today, Morgenster is famous for its olive oils, its award-winning Bordeaux blends and is home to 95 at Morgenster, one of the region’s premier fine dining destinations. The restaurant is headed up by Italian chef Giorgio Nava, famous for Cape Town’s 95 on Keerom and Carne eateries. Just down the road, Lourensford offers a cornucopia of foods and produce. The estate grows its own fruit, raises trout, has beehives and even an on-site coffee roastery. In addition, Chef Bjorn Guido, who trained at The Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenort under Peter Tempelhoff, creates casual European fare at the Millhouse Kitchen, a comfortable modern structure in the centre of the estate’s extensive grounds. Vergelegen also boasts fine dining at its Camphors and Stables restaurants, rounding off a trilogy of wineries that do justice to the fertile and abundant produce of the historic area.
Clockwise from left: The Vergelegen homestead as seen from the gardens; a view over the Helderberg; the Vergelegen cellar roof; Lady Florence Phillips and Sir Lionel Phillips.
1917 The Phillips’ take
ownership of Vergelegen.
1930s The Town Hall is built.
1960s The AECI dynamite factory opens.
The Somerset West Journal
To the Dome Helderberg West Peak
HELDERBERG West Peak & The Dome
Somerset West is the fortunate location of the Helderberg Nature Reserve, a protected area in which pristine hiking trails lead up, down and around the magnificent mountainscape
escending Sir Lowry’s Pass, the magnificent False Bay comes into sight. As the pass turns, the deep green of the town of Somerset West rises into view, framed by the stunning backdrop of the mountains of the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Founded in the early 1960s by the Rotary Club of Somerset West, the Helderberg Nature Reserve was created as a benefit to the community. In 1964, the farmland was opened as a reserve by the administrator of the Cape. More than 50 years later, the reserve is the playground of the region’s nature-lovers, hikers and fauna and flora scholars. Located in the heart of the Winelands and surrounded by plentiful wine
A variety of protea species gives the fynbos fields splashes of colour
TRAILS Sugarbird Walk Caracal Trail
farms, the nature reserve offers spectacular views. All of the main walking trails start at the cosy Oak Café. The eatery offers delicious light meals and refreshments throughout the day to keep hikers fuelled and ready to take on a scenic adventure. Several picnic areas can be found within the lower parts of the reserve, offering plenty of space for
Watsonia Trail Leopard Loop Woodie’s Walk West Peak & the Dome
Start of Walking Trails
family and group picnics. A quaint gift shop offers souvenirs and lots of information, including helpful reserve guides.
403-hectare reserve excludes the peaks protected by Cape Nature, but these can be accessed from within the park.
The Helderberg Nature Reserve includes seven hiking trails. Six of these are circular routes, and two extend beyond the reserve’s borders. At the reserve’s entrance, manicured lawns shaded by leafy trees give way to the fynboscovered slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. The
All seven hikes boast a wide variety of fauna and flora. Cape Winelands shale fynbos dominates the largest surface area of the reserve. An astounding variety of protea species, including sugar bushes, pincushions and cone bushes, give the fynbos fields some
Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints
The Somerset West Journal
colour. An array of geophytes, like watsonias and orchids attract abundant birdlife; over 170 species live here. The Cape sugarbird and the lesser doublecollared sunbird can often be spotted. Various reptile species roam the grounds, and if you are lucky, you might spot an exotic-looking angulate tortoise. The reserve has several duikers, but they tend to mind their own business. Snakes and lizards also make an
Issue 01 2016
appearance from time to time. Small grey mongooses are quick to run across the footpaths, so keep an eye out. All in all, the Helderberg Nature Reserve is a treat for the soul and a feast for the eyes. It is irrefutably the hidden gem of Somerset West. Don’t neglect this gift from Mother Nature. In the wise words of the Friends of the Reserve: “Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.”
Trailblazing through Somerset West 01
Sugarbird Walk is a
quick, scenic walk around the base of the reserve that is only 2.2km in distance. The elevation is minimal, yet the views are spectacular.
Caracal Trail ventures a
little bit further onto the base of the mountain. The footpath passes countless picnic spots and lookout points, and crosses a stream a couple of times. The trail is about 4.4km in total.
Protea Trail is more
advanced, and is about 6.2km. It is still an easy trail, featuring astounding flora and abundant birdlife.
Watsonia Trail is a
non-circular route. This breathtaking trail involves quite a bit of climbing. It ventures into one of the valleys, studded with indigenous trees. This trail is about 4km, sporting picturesque views over False Bay and its surrounds.
Leopard Loop runs
along the rocky part of the mountain and leads all the way to Disa Gorge where there are remnants of Yellowwood and Rooiels forests. The circular hike will take about three hours to complete.
Woodie’s Walk is
the green route, and appropriately so. The lush trail is a five-hour hike which circulates via the top of Disa’s gorge.
West Peak and the Dome
is the most intensive trail. It will take you approximately seven hours to complete and it offers spectacular panoramic views of False Bay, the Stellenbosch Winelands and Table Mountain. To reach the Helderberg Dome, you will need to be an experienced hiker.
Remember to wear suitable footwear and to take sufficient water. Wear a hat and sunblock and take some warm clothing as it is often possible that weather changes at high altitudes.
021 480 7700
The Somerset West Journal
Somerset Lakes Advertorial
SOMERSET WEST’S best-kept secret At the north-eastern edge of the Somerset West wine region, overlooking the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range and the grandiose False Bay, sits the secure lifestyle estate Somerset Lakes, a playground for the active home owner
Somerset Lakes estate is all about adventure. The estate’s lake is its standout feature, a unique addition that brings numerous activities such as open-water swimming, kayaking, kitesurfing, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing to the daily life of its residents.
Depending on where in the Somerset Lakes development you live, you can view your neighbours enjoying abundant outdoor activities from your front porch while absorbing the last rays of the setting sun.
A boardwalk runs around the waterside, perfect for scenic sunset strolls and afternoon runs. An outdoor gym facilitates fitness regimes, making it easier for estate residents to stay healthy and in shape. Overlooking the lake, the luxurious fivestar clubhouse conveniently occupies its banks and doubles as an activities centre, where summertime volleyball friendlies and other events are enjoyed.
Somerset Lakes currently has five nodes, three of which have been sold out. Brookdale was the estate’s first development phase. These modern apartments have an astounding view of the surrounding mountains. The majority of these face north and enjoy natural light all day long. Waterford Green borders the water’s edge. It is a leafy green area, consisting of 46 freestanding, double-storey townhouses. Designed by
Life around the Lake Living the adventure lifestyle has never been easier.
• Adventure • Exploration
Somerset Lakes is a safe and secure haven in the heart of the Helderberg
• Secure lifestyle • Birdwatching • Indigenous nursery • Five-star clubhouse • Outdoor gym • Forest playpark • Reddam House • Dog walking • Running routes • Mountain-bike trails
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
Adventure. Exploration. Lifestyle.
SELLING NOW Kingfisher Terrace
• • • •
51 luxury garden cottages Two & three bedrooms 145 to 175 square metres R1.67 to R3.15 million
SELLING NOW The Lakes
Schabort Associates Architects, these two and three bedroom townhouses offer spacious, sunny interiors, captivating views of the Helderberg mountains, private garden areas and on-site parking.
A stylish collection of modern two or three bedroom sectional title duplex garden cottages is located ideally close to the banks of the pristine six-hectare lake.
Named after one of our resident birds, Heron’s Rest consists of 42 freestanding, three-bedroom homes. It is perfectly nestled between a forest of stone pines and the banks of the tranquil six-hectare lake. These spacious single and double-storey houses are designed in a contemporary Cape rural idiom.
The Kingfisher Terrace garden cottages offer well-lit interiors, unspoiled views of Helderberg mountains, private garden areas and secure parking.
All homes feature double garages, spacious balconies, covered patios and built-in braais. Owners select their ideal home from a range of 14 different house plans, several of which are optimised for each plot.
Somerset Lakes’ flagship product, The Lakes, is one of the estate’s most pristine developments, where you will find three and fourbedroom family sized luxury lakeside homes. The elevated properties offer spectacular mountain and ocean views and are perfect homes to raise families.
EDUCATION • • • •
Somerset Lakes’ location makes it the ideal place to raise children. Situated on the estate’s premises, the prestigious Reddam House Somerset is one of the country’s best private schools.
trails in the Helderberg, plus the endless beach at Strand, situated just 11 minutes away. Lifestyle and medical centres are located around the corner nearby.
Countless family-centred activities can be found in close proximity to Somerset Lakes. There are animal centres such as Monkey Land and Cheetah Outreach. Outdoors activities abound, from the water sports at Blue Rock Resort to hiking
Surrounded by vineyard-strung mountains and the sparkling sea, Somerset Lakes is a safe and secure haven in the heart of the Helderberg, and is ready to share its family and adventureoriented lifestyle.
58 prime spot luxury homes Three & four bedrooms 202 to 305 square metres R3 to R5.9 million
CALL OUR SALES OFFICE Jan or Erika Minnie +27 (0)21 202 2200 email@example.com
The Somerset West Journal
Trends by Marianne Burke
NATUREâ€™S image Nature should feel right at home in a contemporary interior. Mix high-shine metals with natural woods for a stunning look
Shades that imitate the outside world invoke a sense of space and light. Living in the stunning surrounds of Somerset West, where mountains hug the azure ocean and leafy green streets stretch as far as the eye can see, it makes sense to go for an interior that embraces this warm, natural aesthetic. For example, in the Somerset Lakes development, finishes that incorporate tawny woods and pale blues embody the lake lifestyle. Embracing a dreamy colour palate, pops of pale yellow beautifully accentuate natural hues. Soft textural fabrics also enhance the comfortable, natural feel, truly making home feel homey.
A kitchen should be a tranquil space, a space of ease, cleverly designed to facilitate the cooking experience. Combine sleek stainless steel with natural woods and pale colours for an inspiring and calming atmosphere.
As spring turns to summer, embracing the trend for a dreamy colour palate seems perfect for the warmer months. Surround your space with positivity, with airy pastels that conjure breezy days, adding hues inspired by nature. These shades pair well with unfinished woods, glass and stainless steel appliances.
01 Reclaimed oak dining table, from www.weylandts.co.za
02 Pendant light, from www.robert-thomson.com
03 Bosch Serie 4 built-in electric oven, from www.bosch-home.com/za
04 LIGHT GREY ALUMINIUM 44
TINY PINK R1-A2-3
SPACE BOX B6-B2-2
Cheese board, from www.weylandts.co.za
Interior photos: Greg Cox / www.bureaux.co.za
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
A statement space Modern interior design leans towards clean lines, open spaces and neutral tones. These pale yellow and blue furnishings are perfectly suited to airy architectural spaces.
Clockwise: Gonsenhausers Sky Blue rug, from www.finerugs.co.za; Designers Guild Essentials plain fabric, from www.homefabrics.co.za; Indigi Designs yellow segment bowl, from www.indigidesigns.co.za.
Interior photos: Warren Heath / www.bureaux.co.za
Scandinavian-style chair with upholstered cushions on oak frame, from www.lim.co.za.
Conrad three-seater in Stella Moonlight Blue, from sofacompany.com
â€˜Aroundâ€™ table by Thomas Bentzen for Muuto, from www.cremadesign.co.za
Vera three-seater in Vendy Denim, from sofacompany.com
03 Weft cushion cover in Petrol, from www.skinnylaminx.co.za
The Somerset West Journal
verride your busy day-today schedule and mix things up. Pull yourself out of a mundane routine and be thrown into the deep end, literally.
Somerset West has countless activities for those with an adventurous spirit.
Get going Take the leap
Our comprehensive guide to getting your adrenaline kick in Somerset West. Blue Rock Resort Blue Rock Resort is a popular hobby and sports destination situated against the slopes of Sir Lowry’s Pass. This recreational space has been around for eight years and offers activities such as cable skiing, a fufi slide, diving and paintball. Reaching 65 metres at its deepest point, Blue
Rock used to be a quarry in the 1950s. Its gravel was used to build most of the highways in the Western Cape in the 1980s. This seven-hectare former industrial site is now a marvellous lake, reaching temperatures of up to 26 degrees Celsius in summer. The resort’s facilities are open to the public and can be enjoyed at different rates. www.bluerock.co.za
Surf your heart out Go explore the waves of the Cape Peninsula. With False Bay only a couple of minutes away, water sport is one of the first things on our to-do list. The Strand Pipe is an exposed beach and reef break that offers reliable surf and consistent waves. Experts say that this surf spot can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the surf works well with offshore winds from the east. A super clean groundswell prevails and the most ideal angle for the swell is from the southwest. Although often crowded, this beach is definitely worth it for the surf crowd.
Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve’s Crystal Pools The mesmerising mountain pools known as Crystal Pools are very popular among the Cape residents. Situated within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, these pools are quite easy to get to. After a quick walk down into the valley, follow the well-marked
path along the Steenbras River. At regular intervals, there are short red pegs in the ground that lead to the pools. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the scenic surroundings. For the brave, there are imposing cliffs to jump from. Remember to take plenty of water, hiking shoes, your camera and something warm. www.kbrc.org.za
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
Golf at Erinvale
Horseback outrides near Sir Lowry’s Pass The exquisite wine farm Journey’s End offers horseback outrides that meander through vast vineyards and the surrounding wine farms. Enjoy the abundant birdlife and enthralling views of False Bay as well as the imposing Helderberg mountains. Longer rides lead to a viewpoint where the vistas of Cape Point can be enjoyed. Journey’s End’s horses and ponies cater for riders of all levels and ages. www.horsebackrides.co.za
Designed by Gary Player, Erinvale Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course that competes shoulder to shoulder with some of the world’s best courses. Erinvale hosted the 1996 World Cup of Golf which is renowned as a challenging course and for its stunning views. In 2005, the SAA Open was held at Erinvale exhibiting South Africa’s golfing talent. Enjoy the impressive clubhouse or book in at the Erinvale Estate Spa while your partner is playing a round of golf. www.erinvalegolfclub.com
Mountain biking in the Helderberg Trail builders and cycling enthusiasts, Jan van Schalkwyk and Andrew Neethling are the proud owners of Helderberg Trail Co. There are four exciting trails that are must-rides if you are an avid mountain biker. The 4km Green loop ascends 70m and is aimed at beginners. The 6km Blue loop ascends 150m and is suited for the intermediate mountain biker. The 14km Red loop is for more experienced riders and ascends 500m. For the truly committed mountain biker there is a 17km loop with a total amount of climbing of 700m. All of these trails run along and on the slopes of the spectacular Helderberg mountain, offering breath-taking views. www.helderbergtrails.com
Stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing at Somerset Lakes The mid-suburban private lake of Somerset Lakes is a definite gem. It isn’t often that you can drive two minutes and have an entire lake to yourself. Not to mention the spectacular mountain views, Somerset Lakes lifestyle estate has a winning recipe. With its focus on secure adventure living, the estate caters for family activities. These activities are
mostly aimed at the estate’s residents, but day permits can be bought to make use of this pristine lake. Bring your stand-up paddle board and exercise those arms and core muscles while catching a healthy tan.
The Somerset West Journal
EDUCATION Just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic, the Helderberg basin is a perfect place to raise a family, making it an ideal property investment for your children’s future, and yours
he most important, and often, most difficult thing to do when buying property is to get a foot in the door. An even bigger challenge is maximising your return on investment (ROI). Buying property in close proximity to schools is a great way to do this. If you think about the academic belt stretching through the southern suburbs of Cape Town, including areas such as Bishopscourt, Claremont, Constantia, Kenilworth, Newlands and Rondebosch, more than 160 schools are located here. Surely, this isn’t coincidental.
Research conducted in 2015 by Urban Econ Development Economists indicates that residential property in close proximity to elementary (junior primary) schools has an 18% higher price than those further away. Middle schools (senior primary) increase property prices by 16% and high schools, by 12%. The study also showed that properties in close proximity to good quality schools
return of residential property that is now above 8% per annum.
investment case for Somerset Lakes properties,” Minnie says.
Jan Minnie, sales manager of Somerset Lakes lifestyle estate in Somerset West, explains: “We commissioned an independent study on the demand and growth impact of including a school in a lifestyle development, and we noticed very similar trends throughout South Africa. The research shows that estates
Towns outside of Cape Town like Somerset West have become increasingly trendy over the last couple of years. As Gautengers increasingly move to the Southern Cape, the term ‘semigration’ has become a popular way to describe this movement. According to the Rawson Property Group, this is no sudden episode, but rather an ongoing phenomenon, and it has given Cape property a massive boost. Forty-six percent of homes sold by the Rawson franchise have upcountry buyers. The Somerset West area and the greater Helderberg basin have now also opened doors to buy-to-let investors.
The research shows that estates developed in conjunction with a school resulted in 10% to 15% higher property price growth
It then follows that these suburbs with good schools boast ascending property prices. Schools are normally found near blue chip shopping malls, atmospheric cafés, outstanding medical care and thriving bespoke boutiques, which also support the rising property price.
(irrespective of the school level) sold for 31% more than properties located close to lower quality schools. This is indicative of the positive effect quality schools have on property prices. According to Schalk van der Merwe of Rawson Properties, investors are increasingly motivated by an increased initial
developed in conjunction with a school resulted in 10% to 15% higher property price growth compared to private schools developed in pre-existing residential areas.” The Somerset Lakes development includes a Reddam House private school. “We are confident that our partnership with Reddam House schools will result in a positive
Besides the fact that Somerset West is an incredible destination to call home, living in a town that is growing exponentially does wonders for your investment. Whether it is a lifestyle estate like Somerset Lakes, situated next to the private school Reddam House, or perhaps a residential property in the area, just remember, the property market waits for no one.
Reddam House Somerset, located in the Somerset Lakes lifestyle estate, offers many unique perks for learners. Chief among them is the school’s global connections. Reddam House has branches in the UK and Australia, and its international reputation is further bolstered by its inclusion of Independent Examinations Board (IEB) testing. IEB gives scholars a chance to get an education on an international level, opening them up to opportunities to extend their education abroad. These courses have smaller class sizes, and prepares students for higher education with tutorials and one-on-one lessons. According to the Mail & Guardian, in 2015, 10,212 full-time and 563 part-time candidates from 200 schools across Southern Africa wrote the IEB National Senior Certificate examinations, achieving a 98.3% pass rate. This illustrates how beneficial the programme can be as an invaluable part of South African learners’ futures.
INVEST WITH REDDAM HOUSE AND SOMERSET LAKES Buy a house at Somerset Lakes and get a year’s free education at Reddam House. Ts&Cs apply.
The Somerset West Journal
Issue 01 2016
While Somerset West isn’t a beach town, it might as well be; four of the Western Cape’s finest beaches are only a stone’s throw away. The beaches surrounding Somerset West offer some of the most exquisite coastlines in the world, each with its own unique set of characteristics
01 02 03 04 Strand Beach Gordon’s Bay Kogel Bay
Strand Beach is known for its extensive sandy coastline. Simply called ‘the beach’, there is no need to explain this simple but superb sandy stretch that borders the Strand town. The waves that roll onto the beachfront are barrelled and shaped like cylinders, which make them surfer-friendly, but there is plenty for families to do as well. Ice cream vendors pepper the beach in summer as countless visitors soak up the toasty sun after a dip in turquoise waters.
Some say the seaside town of Pringle Bay is False Bay’s best kept secret. No wonder then that the quiet beach feels remote, but it is in fact situated only an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Nature Reserve, the majestic Hangklip mountain peak towers over the bay. It serves as a gracious backdrop to the calm coastline. The neighbouring fynbos-covered mountain makes for a walker’s paradise.
Bikini Beach in Gordon’s Bay is a perfect hangout for a younger crowd. This is a scenic spot, with the imposing cliffs of the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range overlooking the beachfront as False Bay stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean. This is a tranquil nook, where calmer waters lure those who wish to spend a leisurely day at the beach, away from the busy main strip. Surfers treasure Gordon’s Bay’s slope section that drops down sharply, resulting in formidable waves.
Just around the corner from Gordon’s Bay lies the beach break called Kogel Bay. This beach is intimate and reminiscent of Italy’s Cinque Terre. An unpredictable sandbar appears during summer’s low tide which creates classic wedging three to five foot barrels, perfect for advanced surfers. Kogel Bay is also home to a laidback resort where you can camp. You can enjoy the almost untouched coastline while braaiing a freshly caught fish and watching the sunset.
Although reaching most of these beaches requires a short drive, they are always worth the journey. They are picturesque and absolutely breathtaking.
The Somerset West Journal
Events calendar be on-hand with their renowned, artisan charcuterie and breads, with many other craft and fine food producers taking initiative offering cheeses, pastries, chocolates and so much more. There is plenty of live musical entertainment to enjoy; bring the whole family, there’s something for everyone. Time: 11h00-17h00 Cost: R180 www.moreson.co.za
19 November 2016
SOMERSET WEST PARK RUN AT PAARDEVLEI
SUNSET SUPPER WALK IN THE HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE
Come rain or shine, the Somerset West Park Run takes place at Paardevlei every Saturday. Join for a timed 5km run/walk, starting from Broadlands Farm behind the Shell on the N2. Time: 8h00 Cost: Free www.parkrun.co.za/somersetwest
LOURENSFORD SUNDAY MARKET Open every Sunday and every alternate Friday evening, the esteemed Lourensford Market offers the best food and handmade goodies in the Helderberg basin. This market has become a favourite, no doubt in part due to the estate’s gorgeous mountain views that offers something off the beaten track in the Cape Winelands area. Time: Sunday: 10h00-15h00 Friday: 16h00-21h00 Cost: Free www.lourensford.co.za
29 October 2016
SOUL CIRCLE PRESENTS SUZELLE DIY Join Suzelle and Soul Circle for an afternoon of comedy and kindness. All proceeds will go to Masikhule, a non-profit organisation supporting adult education, empowering women and assisting early childhood
development in the Helderberg area. The performance will be at Somerset College Boonzaier Hall. Tickets range from R110 for grandstand tickets and R220 for a table seat, where a Suzellestyled high tea will be served. There are fantastic prizes to be won; in addition to a Suzelle lookalike competition and an American auction all in aid of charity. Time: 15h00-17h00 Cost: R110-R220 www.quicket.co.za
5 November 2016
FRANSCHHOEK CRAFT FESTIVAL Môreson will be hosting the inaugural Franschhoek Craft Festival this summer. Expect to be in great hands with countless local wines, Cap Classique, craft breweries and small batch spirits. Môreson’s farm restaurant, Bread and Wine, will
Bring a snack, comfortable shoes and a moderate fitness level and come enjoy the majesty of the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range. The hike, led by Andreas Groenewald, explores the mountainous reserve. Those who are not members of the Friends pay the normal entry fee to the reserve when booking. Contact the Helderberg Nature Reserve Visitor Centre on 021 851 4060 for details. Time: 17h30-21h00 Cost: R20 per adult, R10 per scholar. www.helderbergnaturereserve.co.za
19 November 2016
IMPI CHALLENGE The challenge is a muddy trail run for athletic enthusiasts. The event offers exhilarating obstacles, mud, music and an amazing festival area. Gather a group of friends and join the fun at Lievland Wine Estate on Route 44, Stellenbosch. Time: 7h30-10h15 Cost: R100-R500 entries.impichallenge.co.za
4 December 2016
STELLENBOSCH CYCLE TOUR The Stellenbosch Cycle Tour is an annual road cycling event that starts in Stellenbosch, passes through Pniel, Paarl, Wellington and then back via the R44 through Klapmuts to the finish line in Stellenbosch. It is a lovely 96km-route, consisting of two steep climbs (Helshoogte Pass and Lievland climb on the R44) and vast open roads. This tour is definitely for those who have endurance and a passion for beautiful scenery. Time: TBC Cost: TBC www.stellenboschcycletour.co.za
24-26 February 2017
STELLENBOSCH WINE FESTIVAL Savour the Stellenbosch lifestyle during the 2017 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay, taking place at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds. Sample some of the best wines in the country, indulge in gourmet food offerings by top restaurants, enjoy live music and take part in fun outdoor activities in picturesque surroundings. The three-day lifestyle festival will showcase hundreds of Stellenbosch wines, from awardwinning producers to small boutique wineries. Time: TBC Cost: TBC