Helderberg is the most beautiful place to grow up in. It makes all other places seem rather ordinary. It’s the perfect place for families. Let me start by describing Helderberg area firstly it consist out of four basic area’s, Somerset west the largest part Strand, Gordons bay and Van der Stel. I can remember as a child the four areas were reasonably separated from each other, now they just run into each other.
We are tucked in between the beautiful helderberg mountains and the false bay seas with its wonderful long white beaches. My favorite beach is bikini beach it’s right next to the old harbour in gordons bay. It’s a tiny beach probably why it appeals so much to me it’s more the scene of the young adults rather than small families.
I have two small children so now i have started going to the strand beach it’s much more family friendly because of how the reef runs. At bikini you walk in the water and you are almost immediately waist high in the sea with rough waves most of the time, where strand you have to walk a couple of meters in the sea getting slowly deeper and deeper and the waves are quite big at the back but shallow area is always nice especially for kiddies.
There are some rocky spots at the strand beach as well were little children love to play. There is all kinds of sea life so they have allot to keep them busy with shell collecting and exploring. There is 2 harbours and a jetty, the old harbour is next to bikini beach, the new harbour called harbour island is more of boats and restaurants with a big hotel called the harbour island hotel, which is very beautiful. They are both in gordonsbay.
The jetty in the strand is recently closed due to safety reasons. Well if you are tired of the beaches there is our beautiful mountain. The nature reserve is the best place to go for a hike or a picnic there is a entrance fee though but i believe it’s well worth it. There is lovely trails snaking up the foot of helderberg not going completely to the top.
They have reintroduced some wild life my personal favorite is the really large tortoise who wanders the picnic area like a gentle giant. There is a small museum dedicated to the nature reserve as well a small restaurant with home made food with some traditional south African meals. Then there is radlof park were people can take they’re dogs, its probably the only dog friendly public place in somerset west it runs along the lourens river.
Then there are plenty of places to to get a better view. There are 2 that I’m particularly fond of. One is at the top of van der stel road before it goes over the mountain to grabouw there is a turn off were people can park their cars and take in the view and what a view! It’s probably the best place to see helderberg in its full glory you can see the whole bay area even to Cape Town.
On a nice day everything so crisp and clear. You can also go at night time what a sight to see all the city lights its just breathtaking. Some people like to paraglyde from that point i do not know if you need permition to do it but i have seen people do it i even took pictures once while i was there. The other place also has the same vantage point but is much higher and you see much more of the ocean, we even saw a whale from there. It’s by Steenbras dam, there is a road that leads all the way up the mountain (gordon’s bay’s side) which is really steep.
Then there is a parking lot just outside the gate were people can park and have a look around. There are some hiking trails. I personally have never tried them though so i do not know were they lead or how they are. But the view, that view people pay millions for to watch everyday, and i don’t blame them. If you ever are in this area you have to see it especially on sunset because you can see table mountain and the sun descending on it and the ocean in between with helderberg on the right standing proud.