Welcome to the Cape’s most hidden village.
Hidden where? In the mountains between Caledon, Napier and Hermanus.
Interested? Read on …
So hidden is the village that it is not even granted a mention in the South African travel “Bible”, TV Bulpin’s “Discovering Southern Africa”.
The writer Sharon van Wyk described Tesselaarsdal thus in a recent article in the M&G:
“Tesselaarsdal, a quiet community of almost 2000 people, high in the mountains of the Western Cape's Overberg region, is only barely on the map. It's so insignificant that 230 years of South African history have completely passed it by.
“Tesselaarsdal's potential tourism credentials are boosted by its colourful history. Originally the farm Hartebeestrivier, Tesselaarsdal is named after Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar, a former East India settler-turned-farmer of the late 1700s who bequeathed the farm to coloured slaves upon his death in 1810.
It's easy to see the attraction of Tesselaarsdal. The gently sloping hills are dotted with ancient farmhouses and outbuildings. Most have been around since Tesselaar's time, making the village a veritable living museum.
Teslaar’s Dale, named after a farmer who once owned this land, is indeed the Cape’s best-kept secret, where time has stood still, sitting snugly in the mountains behind Hermanus.
Reached from Caledon via one of the Cape’s lovely little mountain travails, Shaw’s Pass. The Cape writer, cartographer and raconteur, Peter Slingsby explains: “Named after Lt Col William S Shaw, an ex-Indian army officer who settled nearby in 1839 and contributed significantly to agriculture, including the introduction of high quality merino sheep. His farm was called ‘Truyntjiesrivier’, but he renamed it Muirton after his family farm in Scotland.
Visitors today will find a mild Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and hot sunny summers, and will discover an upcoming wine, olive and lavender area.
Tesselaarsdal is populated by around 1500 loyal citizens - approximately 1000 people in the main village and approximately 500 people on surrounding farm land.
Surrounding them, are farms where cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses roam, often in between the wild fynbos and lavender, which is harvested for its essential oils.
The village has one small store for basic necessities and a liquor store.