Somerset West is a town politically part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality and lies in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is situated in the Helderberg area (formerly called Hottentots Holland), about 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of Cape Town and 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Strand.
The town is overlooked by the imposing Helderberg (meaning "clear mountain"), a part of the Hottentots-Holland range of mountains. The vehicle registration code for Somerset West is CFM and the post code is 7130 for street addresses, and 7129 for post office boxes.
Somerset West has a fairly decorative display of Christmas lights erected atop the street lights of the Main Road.The Helderberg Lights Festival (aka the Strawberry Festival), a flea market and parade, normally complements these lights.The area also has its own community radio station, Radio Helderberg, broadcasting community notices and playing adult orientated pop music.
The Helderberg Nature Reserve, a 363 hectare natural wildlife preserve opened in 1964, contains a wide variety of smaller fauna (buck, tortoises and other reptiles) and outstanding specimens of indigenous flora such as protea and Fynbos.The Vergelegen Wine Estate lies just outside the town itself. The buildings on the estate constitute fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture.
Somerset West contains a number of sporting facilities including several golf courses.The historic town of Stellenbosch is reachable via the R44 motorway (approx 18 km/11 mi away).The area between Somerset West and Stellenbosch also encompasses many vineyards and wineries (e.g. Rust-en-Vrede, Alto, J.P. Bredell) where visitors can sample and purchase wine. The oldest remaining vineyard in South Africa, Vergelegen, is situated on the outskirts of Somerset West.
In recent years many guest houses and B&Bs have opened up in Somerset West, since it is conveniently located for Cape Town (40 kilometres (25 mi) away on the N2 motorway), the beaches at the Strand and Gordon's Bay, as well as the Western Cape's numerous wine farms.