Somerset East, Greater Addo

Apart from its beautifully preserved buildings that are worth a visit in their own right, Somerset East is perhaps best known because it is on the Blue Crane Route in the Eastern Cape. This picturesque and quaint town is at the foot of the Boschberg Mountains that provide both a forested and mountainous backdrop to what is a rather dramatic setting - there are no less than 16 waterfalls within sight of the town. The Blue Crane Route meanders along the R63 from Pearston, via Somerset East, to Cookhouse and was created as part of an alliance of farms on the route to save the Blue Crane from extinction.

As South Africa’s national bird and part of the country’s heritage, collisions with power lines and fences, agrochemicals, getting caught in baling twine and being stolen for the pet trade are still reason for concern with regards to the bird’s conservation. Somerset East is very close to the Boschberg Nature Reserve, which has a number of very popular hiking trails. This is bird-watching country and the natural beauty of this haven is yet a relatively undiscovered treasure.

In the town itself are a number of noteworthy buildings: The Old Wesleyan Chapel, which is now the Somerset East Museum, is a gorgeous example of Georgian architecture and unique because it forms part of the Boschberg Nature Reserve. Walter Battiss bequeathed his collection of works to the people of this Karoo Town in September 1981 and his former family home, run as an hotel, is now a gallery featuring his works.

Other activities in the area include trout fishing in two of the local dams; a highly rated 9-hole golf course, said to be one of the most beautiful in the country and local game farms provide malaria-free safaris. Events include the Spring Rose and Flower show for which Somerset East produces some of the finest roses in the country.

Travellers' Reviews

1 Review from travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewvery good

We found Somerset East to be pretty, but there really isn't much to do there. The buildings look historical and give it a nice atmosphere.

D Lewis (Cape Town, Western Cape)

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