Weekly Challenge: Adventure

This Week’s Photo Challenge is ‘Adventure‘:

For me an ‘adventure’ is discovering off-the-beaten-tracks in our own area; in this case in The Overberg region in the Western Cape, South Africa. This road leads into, what I call, The Forgotten Valley; commonly known as Tesselaarsdal. This valley is named after the first Dutch settler (17th/18th-century) Johannes Tesselaar. He and his wife did not have children and they left their estate to their workers. Still the population is mainly coloured and the then old ‘Apartheid’ regime forgot all about Tesselaarsdal (no forced evictions, etc.). Discovering areas that are not mentioned in any tourism guide, travel itinerary, etc. is not so difficult in South Africa since the tourism industry is only focussed on mainstream destinations like Cape Town, Garden Route and Kruger Park. And I’m fine with that.

Tesselaarsdal is only accessible via back roads
Tesselaarsdal is only accessible via back roads


Labyrinth key ring

… One of the few ‘left overs’ of our previous adventure (Soekershof, with maze, cactus labyrinth and succulent garden). In the workshop we had several local artists/craftspeople (one of them with an international reputation) who sold their (hand made) products to visitors who could appreciate true South African made arts and crafts. And it’s so fulfilling to know that all of them were able to uplift themselves from poverty and gathering an above average income from their own home and/or workshop.

The new owners transformed the workshops in a (money generating) trendy restaurant and accommodation. In South African tourism there is nowadays hardly any place for a truly mutual beneficial initiative between proprietors and artists/craftspeople. Most of the crafts for sale along the roads and on markets are from abroad … For the tourists there are also state and private funded ’empowerment’ initiatives where local people hone themselves in craft making… Some of these survive, most unfortunately not.