The Dal Times
A road less travelled to Tesselaarsdal…
Issue #2 – August 2020
To receive our free e-mail newsletter direct, just e-mail this address.
To stop it, e-mail us with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Back issues are available on our website: www.heilfontein.co.za
As I walked out one midsummer morning…
Some may remember this great book by Laurie Lee which captured some of the sheer joy of walking unburdened between two World Wars. This issue is devoted to that same feeling. Never mind that it is midwinter and between cold fronts. The Overberg and specifically the Kleinrivier Mountains, offer some 40km of unbridled walking freedom.
The air is crisp and fresh. The earth is soft and springy underfoot. The sun is gentle and forgiving. The mountains are our playground and they are waiting for us. The in-laws and out-laws form our party of 5. Let us begin the story.
From Heilfontein to Creation
This was like walking towards a pot of gold and actually finding it. The initial 13.4km (give or take a metre) follows the Cape Epic MTB Route along the base of the Kleinrivier mountains, where the fynbos borders the cultivated lands.
Out of our back gate, the first sign of civilization was the quaint Witteklip sign which marks the home of our neighbours, Paul & Donne Descroizilles.
Them White Stones Tea water at its best
Then uphill through their olive orchards and back into the pristine fynbos of Kleinfontein, home to Anna Kleynhans and Kerry Horsley. Their farm is narrow and runs some distance up the mountains, with a powerful spring near the top. Here the water is filling the dam on Fairview, owned by the Beukes family.
Thereafter, we descended into the apple orchards of Glen Hart, owned by Kenneth and Peta Priorbut farmed by Chris Goatley (“Mr Pink Lady”) who has been putting in a lot of new apple & pear orchards in the area. Its great to have positive investment in agriculture and from a person who is a keen MTB cyclist too!
In these orchards, we met Bonsile Mkaka and his team pruning the Fuji apple trees and spotted a duiker watching us at a distance in the rows. Saturdays may be workdays in the countryside but we just gamboled on.
Jackson the Pruner Duiker looking on
The next turn took us through a poplar grove into Glen Oakes, the free-range pig farm run by Charlie and Julie Crowther. What a happy place for little piglets, with acres of space and the option of unlimited mud. Grunting sows kept a beady eye on us, as the squealing piglets moved in a nervous swarm across the fields. At the crossroads, father-in-law Keith Merrington and son-in-law Paul Madden distanced themselves appropriately. Mother-in-law Delicia Merrington braved the stream barefoot, to avoid wetting the smart ON trail shoes.
Then it was up the steep diagonal climb out of the valley on to the farm Sandfontein of DC Beukes, where the Theewaterskloof lives up to its name and the rooibos-coloured water gushes out. Glynis Gillott and Paul Maddensaw how it is shared in a 2:1 ratio between 2 farms and then fills the dams for summer irrigation.
The water sub-division chamber Cappucino Pool
Now the sandy path crunched damply underfoot and there were lots of tracks of various animals – cape mongoose, grey ribbok, duiker and steenbok. With our heads down, it was like a busy rural freeway and then when we looked up, we saw the white tails of ribbok bobbing in the distance ahead of us. Were they laughing at us?
Finally, the trail led to a glorious rolling Alpine meadow and we were at Rhuan Hauman’s house on Diepgat farm – totally off-grid and with an expansive view across the Hemel & Aarde Valley.
At the same time, the first strong gusts of the approaching cold front hit us and we were grateful for the protection of our car. From there, it was barreling and bucking some 7km along a gravel road to Creation Winery, where we were rewarded with our own Pots of Gold. Thanks, Carolyn Martin!
Certainly, a good way to have walked out on a midwinter morning…
Now that it’s legal again, come and visit us!
Our special thanks to the farmers who gave their permission for us to walk over their land.
Other walks in the area include:
Please send any comments and suggestions to: