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


The Happy Hikers

The Strandveld Hiking Club (you won’t believe it; I’m a member) organises a monthly hike and every hike is thoroughly prepared by one of more of the members. The November hike is the one from Tesselaarsdal to Stanford across the Klein Rivier Mountains; 16 km in total. We take the same route as barber Johan Willemse from Tesselaarsdal in the old days. On Friday he walked to Stanford to ‘dress the hair’ of his clientele on Saturday. On a Sunday he walked all the way back. A month or so ago ‘cheerleader’ Jenny Hayes and company set out from the Stanford side and last week they did it from Tesselaarsdal. For the people who are unknown with the location: both villages are situated in the Overberg region in the western Cape, South Africa. Along the hike is a wide variety of Fynbos vegetation.

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.