- Eastern Cape
- Somerset East
Heart of the Blue Crane Route
Lying on the fringes of the South African Karoo, Somerset East is a picturesque and convenient stop-over on the route between Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. Those who do stop here will not be disappointed. The town lies very close to the Bosberg Nature Reserve, which offers a number of hiking trails – this is birdwatching country and the natural beauty here is relatively undiscovered!
Somerset East also offers some great fishing, mountain bike trails and 4X4 Trails, plus is only an hours’ drive from the Addo Elephant Park which also offers a variety of outdoor activities for a day outing.
If its history and culture you are more interested in, this little historic town has some noteworthy buildings and history and art museums. Many of Somerset East’s houses date from the early 1800’s and a walk down Paulet Street is a trip into the past. Cradock, also within driving distance, offers a few more interesting museums and historic sites to explore.
Restaurants and coffee shops can be found in Nojoli Street, the main street through town and Somerset East has a fine variety of accommodation from luxury to value for money. A caravan park and camping site, with picnic spots, is available along the Little Fish River.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Somerset East Museum
- Walter Battiss Art Museum
- Dutch Reformed Church
- The Little Mill
- Delville Wood Memorial
- Fishing & Hiking at Glen Avon Farm
- Glen Avon Falls
- MTB & 4X4 Trails
- Bosberg Nature Reserve
- Bruinjieshoogte Pass
Somerset East receives approximately 358 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during Autumn and Winter.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 29˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 3˚C and 17˚C.
Lord Charles Somerset, governor of the Cape, in 1815 founded a farm below the handsome range of the Bosberg ('bushy mountains'). The purpose was principally to produce horse fodder for the cavalry garrisoning the frontier areas. The site had deep soil, plenty of water from a tributary of the Great Fish River and so many streams flowing down from the mountains, that 16 waterfalls could be seen from the town.
A village was laid out on the site of the farm in 1825 and today has grown into a pleasant little town, well laid out, with fine gardens where Roses do particularly well. The original farmhouse is a museum of local history.
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