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LOCAL TIME: 03:55 am | Thursday, 13 December
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About Helderberg

The Helderberg

Somerset West, Gordon’s BayStrand, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Macassar

Whether you are a resident of the Helderberg area, or just a visitor, every time you see the False Bay from either Sir Lowry’s Pass or from the R44 approaching from Stellenbosch you will be left breathless. Between the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains and the False Bay coastline on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, lie the five little towns that comprise the Heldeberg. Somerset WestGordon’s Bay, Strand, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and Macassar are all world-renowned destinations, each with their own personality and attractions. Together they capture an interesting mix of everything you will find in a big city as well as a small coastal vacation destination. The Helderberg is a great destination in its own right, with great beaches and a village atmosphere wherever you go, and it is the perfect base from which to explore all of nearby Cape Town’s splendours.

New About the Helderberg copy

Our Heldeberg Villages

Somerset West lies between the foothills of the Helderberg mountain range and the N2.
Strand lies between the N2 and the ocean, about 45km’s from Cape Town.
Gordon’s Bay lies along the R44 route, leading from Strand towards Hermanus.
Sir Lowry’s Pass  is a mountain pass on the N2 national road in the Western Cape.
Macassar is a small town close to Strand and Somerset West.

Climate

The Cape coastal climate in and around Cape Town is very Mediterranean, with maximum temperatures usually peaking at around 30′ Celsius from December to March and dropping to an average of 18′  Celsius from May to September. In the summer months weather it is usually dry, with the occasional windy day. Spring and Autumn are both mild and balmy during the day and evenings.  Winters are mild and often rainy, though temperatures rarely dip below 10′c; there is no shortage of beautiful sunny days during the winter months.

Where to Stay in the Helderberg

Helderberg Accommodation copy There is a huge variety of accommodation in the Helderberg to suit every style and pocket ranging from camping, backpackers lodges and self-catering accommodation to Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and luxury accommodation that will make your toes curl.

Where to Eat in the Helderberg

Helderberg Eat

Visit our Restaurant Guide

Tourist Attractions & Things to do in the Helderberg

Sightseeing

1.  Bikini Beach Books | Gordon’s Bay

Stepping over the threshold is like slipping into another world where your senses are soothed by soft, haunting music and a sea of books piled on tables, shelves, and the floor. Immediately you begin perusing, and before you know it, you find yourself in a narrow passage where book stacks cling precariously to the walls leading you into a labyrinth of literature, poetry, fact, and fiction; the range is impressive. However, it is not a bookshop for the faint-hearted. Categorised and alphabetized to a degree, it does nonetheless take more of an effort to find exactly the book or author you are looking for, which may frighten off some prospective buyers, but for many, the need to linger and delve is precisely what makes this bookshop so compelling. Read more..

2. Bird Watching | Somerset West & Strand

The Helderberg is one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots and is home to a remarkable variety of bird spices. The Helderberg is a fantastic destination for enthusiastic birders. The Helderberg area has a wide diversity of birding habitats including the unique Fynbos, and wetlands. Popular birds include Lesser collared Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Spotted Eagle Owl, Yellow Billed Duck and boasts with 6 unique Bird Watching Spots. Read more…

Bird Watching

3. Country Craft Market | Somerset West

The Country Craft Market at Southey’s Vines has been around since 1983, situated in Somerset West.  After all this time, crafters are still lining up to get a spot at the market to display their wares for everyone to see. There is always a merry and exciting atmosphere around and this, in turn, means a good day out with friends or with the whole family.Entry is free and there is plenty of free, secure parking is available behind Southey’s Vines. We’re pet- & child-friendly! Read more…

Craft market

4: Spa’s | Helderberg

Require a place where beauty, comfort, knowledge, and personalized attention, combine to create a totally memorable and rejuvenating experience? Indulge all of your senses and relax at the many Beauty Spa’s available in Helderberg. Read more...

Spa's

5. Events & Entertainment | Helderberg

Our extensive Events listings cover all events in the Helderberg region, as well as entertainment from bands to festivals, wine tastings, and other wine and dine events on the wine Estates, to workshops, movies, and family entertainment. Enjoy our Guide to What’s On in Gordon’s Bay, Strand, and Somerset West and in the Helderberg region. Read more…

Events & Entertainment

6. Steenbras Lookout point | Gordon’s Bay

The trip to the final viewpoint culminating at the plant is well worthwhile as the view over this section of coastline is truly beautiful with Gordons Bay’s housing hugging the steep slopes and the flatlands of Somerset West beyond. Also clearly seen is the strip mall section of high-rise buildings in the Strand, a section of exquisite flat bathing beaches. This view, over this very large extent of azure blue, deepening to ultramarine, waters of False Bay, has a most calming and tranquil effect on one - a breathtaking experience, all from one vantage point! Read More…

lookout

7. Helderberg Wine Route

The Helderberg Mountains makes their presence felt on all of the wine estates on this route. The scenery and the terroirs are very similar to those found in the Stellenbosch area and some of South Africa’s best known and oldest estates can be found here. The Helderberg Wine Route offers its splendour all year round. In addition to the many fine wines available, a visit to the region may be complemented by a meal in one of the excellent restaurants, a hike or horse-ride in the mountains, a swim at one of the nearby beaches, or a visit to shops and craft market. Read more…

Helderberg wine route 1

8. Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum | Strand

At the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, you can learn more about the migrant labour system that shaped many of the social problems South Africa has today. Walk through an original hostel and see the conditions for yourself. Spend time with members of the community and hear their real stories first-hand. While you’re here, enjoy a walk around Lwandle township and meet some of the locals along the way. The township walk starts from the museum and includes visiting the Hector Pieterson Library, the famous Hostel 33, the Town Square, a tavern, shops, and homes as well as the arts and crafts centre. Read more…

Lwandle Migrant Labout Museum

9. Shopping in the Helderberg | Somerset West

There’s a variety of shopping experiences for you to enjoy at your leisure and pleasure at Somerset Mall, Waterstone Village, The Sanctuary and more… Read more…

 Somerset west mall

10. Take a scenic drive along Clarence Drive to Hermanus | Gordon’s Bay

This is one of the most scenic coastal drives in South Africa and well worth the effort. It is the also the first part of Route 3: The Whale Route and features dramatic coastline and beaches, fynbos biosphere, Jackass Penguin colony, baboons, whale watching, birding, shark cage diving and hiking and then …….we throw in some wine estates, just to round things off. Read more…

Clarence Drive

11. Harold Porter Botanical Gardens | Betty’s Bay

The Harold Porter Botanical Garden is situated on the lower mountain slopes of the dramatic Kogelberg range and is reached by the stunning Clarence Drive, one of the best coastal roads in South Africa. Not only is this a great place to stop for tea or lunch, but the walks are magnificent, set in a backdrop of mountain scenery and fynbos. There are two beautiful hikes in the gardens and maps are available at the reception. Read more…

Harold Porter Botanical Garden

12. Whale Watching | Hermanus

Hermanus is internationally known as the best place in the world to do ‘land-based’ whale-watching, but you can also enjoy boat-based whale-watching in Hermanus – a great family activity and a close-up encounter with whales you will never forget! Read more…

Whale watching 1

13. Brandy Route | Western Cape

Find out what modern day brandy makers have to offer, following the time-honoured traditional techniques with a new twist. Many of these masters can trace their roots in wine and brandy making to the last century. Not only is the Western Cape Brandy Route interesting for the brandy lover, many of the distilleries offer grappa and wine as well. Read more…

Brandy route 1

Family Activities:

 1. Helderberg Nature Reserve | Somerset West

The Helderberg Nature Reserve is situated in Somerset West on the slopes of the beautiful Helderberg Mountain overlooking False Bay. There are picnic spots, a visitor centre, our Guinea gift shop, exhibitions and hiking trails for young and old. Enjoy our abundant birdlife, stroll around and watch the tortoises lazily mowing our lawns. Read more…

Helderberg Nature Reserve

2. Beaches | Gordon’s Bay

The famous Blue Flag beach – Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Baylies tucked against the Gordon’s Bay old harbour wall which shelters this fantastic beach from the southerly winds that often blow during the summer months. When you are on Gordon’s Bay’s Main Beach you can easily imagine yourself being somewhere in the French Riviera as the beach and the water have the same calm quality.  This proves to be a fantastic beach for families and small children, especially during low tide. Read more…

Gordon's bay beach

3. Picnic under the Milkwood trees | Gordon’s Bay

Take a stroll along the shoreline by following our wonderful coastal path which meanders all along the coast and under the shady Milkwood trees. Secluded beaches with great boulders are fabulous for kids to scramble on.

Milkwood Trees

4. Summer Sunset Concert | Somerset West

The #SunsetConcerts series provides great entertainment on Sunday evenings in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The concerts also provide a major source of funding for the conservation work of the Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve. Read more…

Sunset Concerts

5. Monkey Town | Somerset West

Monkey Town, located on the N2 in Somerset West is a Wildlife Centre for monkeys and apes. There are more than 250 animals and 26 different exotic species including Tammy, Ruby, and Sunny, our famous chimp sisters.

Monkey Town is not just a primate centre but also a wildlife centre with over 700 animals in total to admire.
Visitors to the well-designed enclosure at Monkey Town observe the monkeys from caged walkways allowing the monkeys to roam freely on the outside.

Read more…

Monkey Town

6. Cheetah Outreach | Somerset West

When you visit the Cheetah Outreach facility you will experience the excitement of a personal encounter with hand raised ambassador cheetahs. (Don’t forget to bring your camera!) Cheetah Outreach is an education and community-based programme created to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah and to campaign for its survival. Read more…

Cheetah Outreach

7. Waterworld | Strand

Just when you thought that summer couldn’t get any better, Waterworld brings you a day of slippery, slidey family fun!

Waterworld Strand is a Waterslide and Fun Park for the whole family, with various rides and facilities to make a day at the beach a day to remember.  The park provides ample grass and picnic spots and is the perfect venue for a party or even a school outing.  The park is located on Strand Beach by the Life Guard station. Read more…

Waterworld Strand

8. Beach | Strand

Strand Beach is an ideal beach set at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains on the Eastern Edge of False Bay. The Strands beautiful white sand stretches along 5 kilometers and makes this a fantastic place for that romantic stroll or that jog on the beach you have been meaning to go on!

Image result for strand beach

9. Helderberg Farm | Somerset West

Helderberg Farm offers a traditional South African charm as well as a friendly atmosphere. Visitors can expect to encounter indigenous wildlife on the farm. The fish eagle’s cry is regularly heard, blue crane pass overhead on their way to Caledon and the Overberg and Cape clawless otters leave their characteristic prints in the mud. You may even come across the tracks of the cape leopard. Visiting birdwatchers have sighted over 100 different species of bird. The farm is home to one of the biggest Mountain Candlewood trees in South Africa which is easily accessed from the hiking trail.

Helderberg Farm

10. Butterfly World | Klapmuts/Paarl

Walk into the lush tropical gardens at Butterfly World Zoo and be greeted by the sound of running water, birdsong and free-flying butterflies, while taking care not to step on the green tree iguana lying on the path. Visitors soon realise that this is not only a butterfly park but indeed a sanctuary for exotic animals, a bird sanctuary, a place where reptiles get the highly specialised care they should and a whole lot more. This interactive animal attraction is the perfect family outing close to Cape Town. It is also ideal for educational school group outings, homeschooler activities, photography opportunities, an outing during school holidays when we have our daily animal shows, etc. Read more…

Butterfly WOrld

11. Two Oceans Aquarium | V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

You will be able to experience the full spectrum of marine life from sharks to penguins and there are often educational exhibitions which provide visitors with a visually stimulating experience. This remarkable underwater world includes over three thousand living species; birds, reptiles, invertebrates as well as a huge selection of fish. There are many children’s activities which are guaranteed to keep children entertained for hours on end. Read more…

Two Oceans Aquarium

12. Stony Point Penguin Colony | Betty’s Bay

Stony Point Penguin Colony is one of only two mainland colonies of African Penguin and is reached by the most beautiful coastal route called Clarence Drive. The mountains hug the coastline and photographic opportunities abound. Bank Cormorant also breed here, alongside the more common Crowned, Cape and White-breasted Cormorants. Read more…

Stoney point Penguine

Sports / Adrenalin

1. Erinvale Golf Course | Somerset West

Erinvale Golf Course is set against the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountains, with breathtaking views of the surrounding wine estates and glimpses of the sea from the higher areas on the course. Designed by Gary Player, Erinvale’s beautifully manicured par 72 championship course boasts some of the country’s most challenging and spectacular holes. The greens at Erinvale are huge and well-shaped allowing for several different pin placements. Read more…

Erinvale Golf Course

2. Surf at Bikini Beach  or Koeel Bay | Gordon’s Bay

Surfing is an extremely popular water sport along the False Bay coast. Along with the relaxed atmosphere, surfing forms an integral part of the beach culture of this area. Surfers from all walks of life can be seen on a daily basis getting their early morning fix before their day starts. An interesting fact of surfing spots at Strand is that a lot of them are some distance offshore, however, most of these spots are frequently surfed, and despite the probability of sharks, these spots are much easier and safer to surf than other offshore surf spots on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula. Read more…

Surfing in false bay

3. Deep Sea Fishing | Gordon’s Bay

With over 320 common sea fish that occur around the South African coastline, deep sea fishing opportunities abound. ‘The solution to any problem is to go fishing… and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be’

 Deep sea fishing

4. Danie Miller Hiking Trail | Gordon’s Bay

The Danie Miller Hiking Trail in Gordon’s Bay traces the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, offering a fantastic view of the Helderberg and False Bay. The trail offers a fairly easy walk from Aurora Drive to the landmark Gordon’s Bay anchor. Read more…

 Danie Miller Hiking Trail

5. Scuba Diving | Gordon’s Bay

The diving sites in the area are varied and have a lot of surprises to offer. You can experience spectacular sea fans in beautiful bright colours such as, oranges and reds which sway in the surge. You might even run into a  friendly Cape Fur Seal or a  root-mouthed jellyfish. Read more…

 Scuba diving

6. Hike up to Crystal Pools | Gordon’s Bay

Crystal Pools is a very popular and fairly easy hike to a series of mountain pools in a beautiful Valley known as the Steenbras River Gorge, but it officially forms part of the Steenbras Nature Reserve, and the hike follows the Palmiet River up the gorge. Read more…

 Chrystal pools

7. Horse Riding | Gordon’s Bay

Come and enjoy a beautiful horseback ride through the various vineyards of the Helderberg and through a few of the surrounding wine farms. The natural bird-life and beautiful mountains will add to the tranquillity of the ride. Some of the rides go through forests where the trees only slightly allow a glimpse of sky. With the only sound being the horse’s hooves on the earth, you will feel complete peace and relaxation. Read more…

 Horse Riding

8. Hiking at the Helderberg Nature Reserve | Somerset West

There are several trails in the Helderberg Nature Reserve, of which only the Brown Route is non-circular. Many regular walkers buy an Early Riser key which allows them access to the Reserve on foot before opening hours. This is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy a quiet walk. Read more…

 Hiking At the helderberg nature reserve

9. Paragliding | Sir Lowry’s

One of the flying sites of Paraglide South Africa is from the look-out point at the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass on the N2, a mere 30-minute drive from Cape Town and a stone’s throw from Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay and Strand, at the edge of the Hottentots Holland mountain range. This site is flown during the off season when the winds are in a westerly direction, and what makes this site different is that you step out of the car and onto the launch site, no walking required. Read more…

 Paraglide

10. Blue Rock | Sir Lowry’s

If you are looking for fun, sun and adrenaline; then Blue Rock is the ideal place. Blue Rock is a hidden-away paradise … you will feel like you have been on a mini-holiday! Read more…

 Blue Rock

11. Vodacom Golf Driving range | Somerset West

Master that swing or learn to play golf at the Vodacom Golf Village in Somerset West. Being one of the eight pro range golf centres in South Africa, this driving range has everything available to you in order to perfect your performance. Practice chipping or get on the green to better your putting skills. Not only are the facilities outstanding but you will find the staff very welcoming and obliging.

 Vodacom Golf

12. Mountain Biking | Somerset West

The mountain bike trail is on this stage not clearly marked and can be done for free. It is only recommended for a cyclist that is familiar to the farm Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain. Read more…

 Mountain Biking

13. Quad Biking Adventure | Grabouw

Set in the beautiful Winelands with stunning views of Table Mountain, False Bay, and the Helderberg Mountains. They offer guided quad bike tours but not only that, they also offer team building activities. Both beginners and more advanced riders are catered for during this adventure. Read more…

 Quad biking

14. Segway Adventure |  Grabouw/Stellenbosch

Riding on a Segway is a unique experience. Maybe you have already seen these sophisticated “motorised travelling machines” but, if you are in the beautiful region of Grabouw and the Elgin Valley, there is no better place to get some first-hand experience. This thrilling Grabouw Segway Tour is a fantastic way to have some outdoor fun for the whole family and to enjoy the excitement of a Segway. Read more…

 Segway

15. Rent a surfboard | Strand

Son Surf School Strand was established in August 2003 and since then their reputation and experience is unsurpassed in the area – bringing the joy of surfing to countless men and women of all ages. Their premises is inside the Water World on Strand Beach Road, ensuring close proximity to the beach and main surfing area.  It is a safe, enclosed area offering a cafe, toilets and showers. Read more…

 Surf School

16. Go Shark Cage Diving | Gansbaai

Welcome to Shark Diving Unlimited; more than just a professional shark cage diving organisation. This is the base of Mike Rutzen, well-known documenter and conservation advocate for sharks, also known as the Shark Man for his amazing skill of swimming with these animals. Our team are experts in locating and diving with these fantastic creatures while also guaranteeing a full conversation and educational experience to round off your unforgettable trip with us. We pride ourselves on our internationally recognised and exceptional success rate and customer satisfaction. Read more…

 Shark Cage diving

17. Go Sand Boarding | Betty’s Bay

If you are an adrenalin junkie, sandboarding the Blesberg Dune above Silversands Beach in Betty’s Bay is a must. The windswept Blesberg dune is a prime location to experience the down-hill adventure to its max. From the top of the dune, at 210m, one can reach great speeds and enjoy the ultimate adrenaline buzz. Whether natural or goofy, strap the board on securely, take in a deep breath and venture forth. The adrenalin run is a rush like no other. For children and the less adventurous, the small dunes of the Silversands beach will provide much enjoyment. Read more…

 Sandboarding

 

You will simply fall in  love with the village lifestyle in the Helderberg..