The Helderberg Basin
The Helderberg area consist out of three main suburbs or “towns”, namely, Somerset-west, Strand and Gordon’s Bay. We normally call it the “Helderberg basin”. Helderberg literally translates to bright or clear and mountain. On sunny days, the Helderberg, a specific section of the mountain, stands out clearly and beautifully.
(These two images are from the front of the Helderberg mountain or from Strand and Somerset-west.)
(This is from the back of the Helderberg mountain, or from Stellenbosch.)
In fact, most of the mountain ranges are clear and beautiful here. From Somerset-west, you can see three mountain ranges. The first one is the Hottentots mountains, the second one is Table mountain range, and the third one is the Stellenbosch mountains.
(This is the Stellenbosch mountains.)
(This is the Hottentots mountains.)
(This is the Table mountain from the backside. From this side, the Table mountain is not flat.)
There are not many images online of how the Helderberg basin looked like. I have an old book that I do not have with me now with some old photographs in, but I also rely on stories of people who lived here 50 years ago. The area only became so populated with property in the last 30 odd years. Previously, this area was used for agriculture and vineyards. And that is why most people visit this area.
Vineyards of Old and Nature Reserves: A Detour I Am Not Taking
There are various vineyards that have a popular name for most wine connoisseurs and lovers. There are also various olive groves that make world class olive oils. However, most people do these trips. There are also various nature reserves, as this area also has beautiful fynbos flowers and plants. These are the trips you will see on “What to do in Somerset-west” style blogs. And this is sadly almost all you can do in this area. I do not know if it is a necessary evil, but a lot of these suburbs have become very commercialised. Various beautiful vineyards and natural areas have been bought over by property conglomerates that build standard housing for the inflow of people from Gauteng. I digress. Back to the beauty! Here is a vineyard close to my home. There is a calm beauty in this.
Beer Brewery: A Little Gem Tucked Away
Because a lot of property have been bought up by these companies, rent has skyrocketed. Various little gems buy property or rent on the outskirts of town. Some of these places have become a standard go to for me. I am not sure if people really know about these places, especially this brewery. Recently their popularity has risen, and this is good as they get more money to make more awesome beer! I visit here often, as this is my favourite place to drink beer. On the more expensive side, but truly the money worth. They are nestled away from all the corporate developments and there are still some beautiful nature elements. You can see the mountains very clearly from here. Herewith some images of how this little gem looks like, and the beers (and chips!) we had.
(There is the brewery, all tucked away.)
Art (in the brewery and on the way)
Various artists have exhibited their art at the wine farms. But some have started to exhibit outside in the open air. There are various artists who do this, and the world-renowned artist Dylan Lewis has a sculpture garden close to here. But another world-renowned artist has been exhibiting close to the ocean from Hermanus to Cape Town. Lionel Smit has various artworks in Somerset-west and Strand. On the beach, sand artists have been sculpting their masterpieces as well. Herewith one we spotted on our way to the brewery, and some modern artwork from the brewery itself as well.
(The iconic Lionel Smit sculptures.)
(I am not sure who made this sculpture, but apparently, this thing was working and actually drove around!)
Ending With Ice Cream on the Beach
The sunsets from Strand beach or Melk Baai beach are legendary amongst our family and friends. It is so beautiful. The beach was calm, and we enjoyed some of the best ice creams. These ice creams are not necessarily that familiar amongst people from outside the Helderberg basin, but the shop (N’Ice) has opened three other ones as well! So, they are doing very well. But their ice creams are really good, and whilst walking and seeing the sun set cannot be beaten. Herewith a couple of images of the ice creams and the beautiful sunset. The sun sets over Cape Town, and we have some beautiful scenery throughout the year.
Have you been here before? Please let me know in the comments! I hope I showed you a side of my town that not many people see.
(All photographs have been taken by me, either with an iPhone, or my Nikon D300.)