Wild peak on our doorstep


Helderberg mountain is iconic to anyone who has lived in the basin for some time. The peaks are crests rather than domes so the view of the mountain changes quickly as you traverse the base. Some far thinking person had the foresight to establish a nature reserve on the slopes of Helderberg mountain. Therefore we have access to a memory of the way this land was long ago.

I have been walking in the Helderberg Reserve for as long as we have lived in Somerset West and recently have been sitting often to paint there.

There is a small dam behind the coffee shop in the Helderberg Reserve, with a boardwalk all the way around. Sitting on a bench, feet on the boardwalk and looking at the mountain, I feel my stress drain away. And it is a great place to paint watercolours of the view. Here are some of the views of Helderberg from this place:

Here are some paintings of the boardwalk:

An easy stroll from the car-park onto the ridge behind the information centre in the Helderberg Reserve provides a view of False Bay from the Kogelberg to Cape Point:

EPSON scanner image



There is a dirt track following the ridge up to the Watsonia Trail which provides an impressive perspective of the peaks of Helderberg.

In addition to these views the stream from the Gorge in the rock face flows out over this road. So we have fairly easy access to this source of sweet mountain water.

On those hot summer days I like to sit with my feet in the stream and paint the foliage where the water jostles its way into the bush.

Following the road up the ridge takes you to a shady ravine. Locals just call it “the Gorge”. The stream beneath the trees in The Gorge flows all year round. During the drought a few years back, when Cape Town was down to days before the dams ran dry, there was still a trickle of water enough to fill a waterbottle.

And walking down this road you are treated to views of False Bay.