A Walk Through Somerset East

This month we’re celebrating twelve months of small town living, so it’s only fitting that I should launch my Wanderlust Wednesday blog series with a post about our new(ish) hometown, Somerset East.

I have often waxed lyrical about the town’s forested, mountainous backdrop, known as Boschberg mountain, which creates a delightfully dramatic setting for Somerset East. It is by far the most beautiful thing about Somerset East, but once you’ve lived here for a while, you start appreciating the smaller, quirky, and often unnoticeable features of this lovely little town.

I love going for walks through Somerset East. It’s the kind of place where you can still go for walks, armed with nothing but a camera, at all hours of the day. We often hear couples strolling past our living room window late at night, chatting about their day, or the friends they just visited. It gives you a sense of peace, a sense that all is still right with the world.

My Andre and I went for an early morning walk through town the other day, taking random snaps of everyday things that caught our eye. I went through the photos a couple of days later, and noticed a recurring theme – the photos showcased everything I love about Somerset East: beautiful old churches; colourful, historic houses (some dating back to the 1820’s); cows grazing in the street (my personal favourite); and an abundance of bougainvillea.

There are currently ten churches in this little town. Ten! The Dutch Reformed church, pictured below, is my favourite. It’s a beautiful, big, and imposing building in the centre of town, only outdone in size by Boschberg mountain.

Somerset East is by no means a big town – you can walk from one end of town to the other in roughly 20min, but I’m guaranteed to spot something new every time I go for a stroll, such as this darling window placard, titled, ‘misverstand‘, which we spotted for the first time during our walk.

Pictured below is one of my favourite houses in town. Most of the houses in the original part of town are built in this style. Notice how there is hardly any space between the two houses – this is no mistake, it’s how houses were planned and built back in the day! After End Street (where the town originally ended), the houses bear a noticeably different architectural style, leaning more to a seventy’s aesthetic, which makes for an interesting, eclectic architectural mix.

This cutie lives in an open plot near Andre’s work. Due to the lack of rain in this part of the world there hasn’t been much greenery for her to graze on, so we go armed with carrots every time we visit to help fatten her up.

There are pink pops of bougainvillea all over town. There’s just something about these vibrantly colourful flowers that makes my heart skip a beat!

Ah, my ever-grazing friends… These majestic beasts are often spotted around town, much to the dismay of the locals (they have been known to wander into, and ruin gardens with their appetite for anything green!). Cows aren’t the only animals roaming these streets – we’ve spotted families of donkeys, pigs, and one BAIE groot skilpad! A strange yet refreshing change from taxi-lined city streets 😉

If, like me, you consider yourself a history geek, take a wander over to this post I wrote last year, which will tell you more about the rich history of Somerset East.

My February Wanderlust Wednesday post will feature the hauntingly beautiful Valley of Desolation in Graaff-Reinet – keep an eye out!

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  • Reply
    Liesl Brown
    February 9, 2017 at 08:25

    What a lovely read and thank you for sharing your sightings of beauty which I drive past every day and take for granted 🙂
    Somerset East really is a special little town which I love love love to call our home town even though we are on a gorgeous farm just outside.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 09:50

      Thank you for the lovely comment, Liesl! This is such a beautiful part of the world, I’m proud to call Somerset East home – a lovely town, with even lovelier residents x

  • Reply
    February 9, 2017 at 09:17

    Oh wow – I have now discovered a blog that truly resonates with me.

    My born and bred town – I am so going to enjoy reading your blog posts!!

    Christine Ulyate (nee Rohrbeck)

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 09:55

      I’m so glad to hear that, Christine! It’s been such a joy living in, and writing about this special place you call home, and I look forward to discovering more of its beauty!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2017 at 10:20

    Dear Asta,
    I am sitting on the other side of the world and I am thinking about my months in Somerset every day!
    I still concider that town as one of the most beautiful once in this world. I miss being there and keep on saving money to come back…..
    Thank you so much for the lovely pictures and please keep up posting!

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 13:30

      Thank you for the words of encouragement, Wienke! Any time spent in Somerset East is time well spent 🙂 Whereabouts in the world are you now? I hope you make it back here soon!

  • Reply
    Ros Turner
    February 9, 2017 at 11:49

    Thank you, Asta, for helping us to see our beautiful town with new eyes, (although we love it already!)

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 13:35

      Good to hear from you again, Ros! 🙂 It is a beautiful town, with so much to offer – in kindness, and beauty! We must catch up over coffee – would love to learn more about the history of this part of the world!

  • Reply
    Annie Carter
    February 9, 2017 at 13:13

    Lovely blog and so reminiscent of the Eastern Cape. I now live in a totally different area of great beauty … The High Peak of Derbyshire. Also mountainous, but very green and very damp. Presently quite cold too, with snow threatened. However spring making an appearance with snowdrops, daffodils and lots more promised.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 13:40

      Thank you, Annie! Gosh, your new home sounds lovely! I travelled to Leicester and Nottingham while I was living in the UK – such a beautiful part of England.

  • Reply
    Alex Nicolay
    February 9, 2017 at 14:50

    What a lovely post ….. was brought up in Somerset East but left in 1965 . Been back twice since so maybe it is time to visit again ! Maybe the “Biltong Festival” if it is still going ?

    • Reply
      February 9, 2017 at 15:00

      Definitely time for a visit! I believe the Biltong Festival will continue this year – we didn’t make it to the 2016 festival, but wouldn’t want to miss the festivities this year 🙂

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