The Forgotten Valley: Tesselaarsdal

Hidden between the wine producing ‘Hemel en Aarde Vallei’ (Heaven and Earth Valley) and the Klein Rivier Mountains and only accessible by sloppy maintained back roads is one of the most beautiful valleys of the Overberg region in the Western Cape, South Africa. Unspoiled by tourism (so don’t ask me road directions) and others. Most people in de surrounding areas have heard (but never been) of ‘Tesselaarsdal’; the valley named after the Dutch settler Johannus Tesselaar.   The farming community of around 2000 people thrives mainly on sheep farming, olives,  and lavender. The village has one little shop for basic groceries and (it’s South Africa 😉 ) a liquor store with a wide variety of spirituals.

During my first visit I did not picture the village but just the landscape. One petty detail I need to mention: The source of the Klein Rivier is just outside the village, 5 km in a bird flight from the ocean but it takes the river a meandering of over 60 km before in flows into the lagoon between Stanford and Hermanus and from there into the Atlantic; 40 km West where this ocean borders the Indian or Pacific Ocean.